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German Shepherd Ears Drooping?

Updated: Jan 15

German Shepherds are born with their ears down. They should have their ears up before they reach 4-5 months of age. Some puppies have their ears up by 4 weeks of age. If their ears are not up by 4-5 months of age, they need to be posted!


Below is General, one of our beautiful German Shepherds

First of all, it is very important to make sure that your GSD puppy is in good health. Make sure that your puppy is on a good quality food. If you are unsure, check with your German Shepherd breeder for suggestions on a diet that would be appropriate for your puppy.


 

Quick Facts Regarding German Shepherd Ears


  • German Shepherds ARE born with their ears down.

  • They should have their ears up before they each 6-9 months of age. Some puppies have their ears up by 4 weeks of age.

  • If their ears are not up by 6-9 months of age, they need to be posted.

  • If their ears are up before 4 months of age, they often will go back down temporarily, but will stand back up shortly. This happens to also coincide with the time that they begin teething. This phenomenon is thought to have something to do with the calcium levels and re-distribution within the body. It is normal and nothing to worry about AS LONG AS the ears WERE UP before 6 months.

  • DO NOT SUPPLEMENT CALCIUM DURING THIS PERIOD OF TIME!!! IT IS HARMFUL TO THEIR JOINTS!

  • It is very common for GSD pups to have ears that tilt and flop this way and that as they gain strength to stand on their own. The German Shepherd ears may take all matter of shapes (1 up, 1 down; 1 this way, 1 that way) until they come completely up. Do not panic when this happens – It is completely normal.

  • The ear is made of a series of cartilages.

  • The position of the ear flap is largely controlled by muscles that attach onto the cartilages of the ear.

  • Trauma (pulling of the ear) when a dog is a pup (or even when it is mature) may cause disruption of the muscles of the ear and cause the ear flap to flop over. However, massaging the base of the ear gently may help increase blood flow and improve its ability to stand. So, no pulling or playing with their ears.


How To Help Your German Shepherds Ears Get the Lift They Need


Help stimulate your GSD puppy to use their ear muscles to help bring their ears up faster naturally, by making interesting noises, whistling, calling their name, etc. This will cause your puppy to use those muscles on their ears to help stand them up on their own.


There are several techniques that can be used to help your German Shepherd’s ears get the little extra lift that they need.


Roller Method

What you need:

  • Large pink spongy perm rollers (Goody’s is one brand) from Wal-Mart or similar store.

  • Tear Mender fabric glue (Skin Bond may also work too)

  • White surgical tape or other porous tape such 3M Micropore tape

  • 1 un-sharpened pencil

Take out the hard plastic clip out of the middle of each roller and discard. You only need to keep the spongy pink foam roller part. (Grey foam pipe insulation tubing works well too if you can’t find the pink foam rollers. You will have to cut this to length, and I also tend to thin them a little with a scalpel blade too.

Insert the pencil (unsharpened end) inside the pink foam roller about an inch or so to make it easier to hold. Next, put the Skin Bond on the pink foam roller about 3/4s of the way around the roller, so it is well covered but not oozing or dripping off the roller in any way. You do not want the glue to drip off the roller into your pup’s ear canal during this process. You don’t want to get the glue on your hands either while in the middle of this process. That is where the pencil comes in.

Place the roller inside the German Shepherd’s ear flap itself fairly deep, leaving about a finger space opening above the pup’s head and the bottom of the roller inside the ear flap. While holding the pencil end, wrap the GSD puppies' ear around the glued foam roller and then tape them into a fairly tight roll (but not too tight), in an upright (vertical) position.

NEVER use any tape such as duct tape, electrical tape, or the like for ear taping. If you don’t have the right kind of tape and for some reason you have to un-tape the ears, it will do more damage than good.


Remove the pencil from the sponge roller.


I also need to say that many ears will be a little weak right after taping but with time they will strengthen. So, when an ear does not stand perfectly after taping don’t panic. Just have patience and see what happens. You will really not have an idea exactly what you have until the pup is 12 months old.

Wait until the pup is at least 4 months of age. If puppy’s ears are still down like a lab or pointing out to the sides like the flying nun, you can glue them at this point. If ears are at least half ways up, leaning towards each other, or have been up and down, then give them another month to make it on their own. Puppies’ ears can go up on their own as late as age of 5-6mths. But DON’T wait too long. If you go ahead and help them out, then there are no worries about them not going up.



Glue Method:

HOW TO GLUE: Use “Tear Mender”, a fabric glue. Shake glue well. NEVER pour the glue from the bottle directly on to puppy’s ears! We recommend putting some of the glue on to a paper plate or piece of notebook paper, etc. The ears will be glued together over the puppies' head like an Indian teepee. Using your finger, put a small amount of glue in a vertical line on the outside/back side of the ear – edge of the ear from just slightly above the base to the tip of his ear. (edge on the top of puppies' head- over forehead only (not the outside of the ear)


Take hold of the other ear and with both hands press the edges together and hold for 30 seconds even though the glue will appear to hold after about 3 seconds. They should only be glued about 2/3 ‘s of the way down.

Only use a small amount of glue, it doesn’t take much. In a few seconds it is dry and holds well.


Your puppy should not be irritated by it at all. The ears still get air – unlike taping.

You might have to keep your puppy away from other dogs to keep them from rough housing with him. Other dogs can easily pull the ears apart making it difficult to keep the ears glued.


Once you have the ears glued correctly do not take them apart, they will come undone on their own with time. The longer they stay glued the better. If they come undone on their own and are still floppy, glue them again. We have had ears that stayed glued for 4wks at times. Once the ears come undone, they will not look perfect, but as long as they are “up” then leave them alone, they will straighten out on their own in the months to come.


After 1-2 months puppies' ears should be up, but we have heard of one person that had to glue for 3 1/2 months to get a tip up. I’m sure there could be the stubborn case where it could take even longer, but I would not quit – till you talked with your pup’s Breeder.


Conclusion


If the German Shepherd puppy ears are not up by 10 months of age they are probably not going to come up without help.


Contact your Breeder for help.

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