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Ear posting tips needed

Discussion in 'Doberman Talk and Discussions' started by My2Dobies, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. My2Dobies

    My2Dobies Hot Topics Subscriber

    Beware: what follows is a long, rambling post where you can practically smell my desperation. I apologize in advance for the length and the whining!

    Hi all! I haven’t posted on here in several years. I was just looking back at when I created my account here, and my girls were 6 at the time. Sadly, we lost our Leathur this past summer, and lost our sweet Lace in November; they were 10 1/2 (both to congestive heart failure). Between LIFE and my girls being the amazing Dobies they were, I lost track of this forum. But, in mid-December, we got our new angel, Lexi.

    Lexi is amazing! Super-fun, with tons of personality, and - so far - the smartest dog I’ve ever owned. We call Lexi “Ms. Fancy-Pants”, as she is a “show quality” Dobie. Even though we were only in the market for a pet, the timing was right for us and Lexi; and I’m super grateful that it was!

    Hence, why I’m back: I’m desperate for advice on posting her ears. Leathur and Lace didn’t come cropped (I now know that I bought them from a “hobby breeder”); I had to get them cropped, and we opted for a medium crop. We were taught by our vet to post them in a completely different way, using, if I remember correctly, pill bottles. I didn’t really know what I was doing, although it was helpful to have the vet right around the corner. Lace’s ears came out great, but Leathur’s fell; however, honestly it didn’t bother us because floppy ears completely fit her laid-back, couch potato personality. I really don’t remember posting their ears as being a very big deal; but, that was ten years and three teenagers ago.

    Fast forward to now with Lexi: we got her at 13 weeks with a healed and posted show crop. The breeder was as helpful as she could be; she unwrapped and re-posted and wrapped her ears when we picked Lexi up, explaining every detail; we even videoed the whole thing so we’d be able to refer to it at home, as the breeder is several hours away. I started researching, browsing this forum and watched many you-tube videos of ear posting. You know the ones: where the puppy-star of the video sits ever so sweetly still during the entire process, or, better yet, walks over and stands there calmly. (Despite my jealousy , I learned something useful from most of them, and appreciate the people who took the time). I read every posting post on this forum, and again learned a lot.

    However . . .

    We left the breeder-placed posts in for 7 days (she had told us 5-7 days), delaying as long as we could. And that was a huge mistake! When we finally removed all the tape (oh, the miles of tape!), she had a couple of sores in her ears. On the advice of our vet (who, by the way, no longer crops ears - my two dobies were the last ones he did; his staff “made him promise to not crop ears anymore”), we left the posts off for a week until the sores healed.

    Our first attempt at posting was a comedy of errors, the first error being that we tried to post her at her peak time of puppy-craziness. It was like trying to put a cat in a bag! An hour later, we emerged from a narrow victory, exhausted and in disbelief. Huzby and I had already vowed that we would NEVER leave her posts in for more than 3 days, tops. But how on earth would we ever be able to fight this battle: first trying to remove tape that was apparently the stickiest substance known to man, and then wrestle our growing little bundle of puppiness EVERY 3 DAYS !?!? As we weakly high-fived each other, we looked over to see our little princess shake her head and scratch her ear, and saw that the @#&$-ing backer rod had popped out of her ear! In approximately 2 seconds, she had the other one popped out, too.

    Since that first time, we’ve: learned to wait until Lexi is calm and preferably sleepy; tried popping the bottoms of the backer-rod back in and taping over them (another huge mistake that cost us another week to let yet another sore heal, along with a heaping side of extreme guilt); learned to use baby oil to loosen the tape that can stick to itself throughout eternity (but which can be scratched and shaken loose at the bottom of a dog’s ear no matter how many layers you add); learned NOT to soak down said-tape with said-baby oil without promptly removing the tape and posts (which made removal easier, but required an extra thirty minutes to then clean and remove tacky, sticky tape residue from dog fur); tried using 1/2-inch backer rod instead of 5/8-inch backer rod, thinking that maybe a smaller bore would fit into the ear better, but which instead breaks off when scratched with dog paws. We’ve tried tons of tape; we’ve tried the two-pieces of tape. We’ve tried taping cotton balls to the bottom the the backer rod, hoping to make it less slippery. Same results: my little angel pops out the bottoms of the backer rod.

    I feel like I push the backer rod down in her ear all the way. I leave the bottom 3/4 inch uncovered and insert it in her ear canal. I also think this is complicated by the fact that she’s not used to having the posts in (because of the time we left them out to heal her sores), so she goes after them, trying to get them out. She shakes, she scratches, and she rubs her head on her bed, trying to scrape them out.

    I’m not ready to give up. I’ve started to post on here several times asking for advice, but every time I think “this will be the time that we get it right, and they will stay in properly”. And so far, every time, it’s a big fail. The only times we’ve made it over 24 hours, she’s ended up with sores in her ear. She’s 17 weeks old now. Any tips y’all can offer will be appreciated.

    How do you get the bottoms of the backer rod to stay in? Am I just not pushing them in far enough? Should I use more tape for now? Should I tape under her chin for a few days? Use a cone (oh, how she’ll hate that)? Thanks again for any advice you can offer.
    • Empathetic Empathetic x 4
    • Wow x 1
  2. AresMyDobie

    AresMyDobie Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Getting the post in isn’t to hard just know you won’t hurt the pup as their ears are shaped like this L. Pulling up and stretching the ear over the post is needed to not have pockets.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  3. AresMyDobie

    AresMyDobie Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    In the world of taping less is more :) get yourself some unisolve to help remove the ears from the posts I change the posts every 4 days :)
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Hey there! I know how it is when it's been a decade between the posting of Dobies!

    I wish you lived near me and I could simply post your her for you a time or two with you watching. It is a simple thing at the core of it. That is not to diminish your struggles by any means.

    Yes, I would post her when she is as tired out as possible. This is much like how I try to grind my boy's nails after a nice walk/run. It won't solve the squirmy issue, but it should help. I have always found that a firm hand and a calm, but in-charge, determined demeanor on your part helps. I expect that my pup will hold still sufficiently and you know what? They do. In addition to this, I have found that they like the sensation of the ears being manipulated and accept it pretty well and calmly.

    How sad that your breeder has apparently been pressured out of cropping anymore! I predict that it will be illegal some years down the road and that pains me.

    Your breeder did you and your girl a disservice by completely wrapping the ears in tape. We see that so much here on the forum. Most vets send cropped pups home with ears encased in tape. I theorize that this is because they don't want customers coming back with ears that have come loose.

    I believe the best way to go is minimal tape. I know you have tried this.

    I also see you have tried to get the posts nice and deep in the ears. Good.

    Are you using a bridge of tape nice and low at skull level? She is, if I read correctly, young enough to need that probably.

    I have not had much trouble with gumminess from tape. I wonder why you are. Some people use baby powder (?) to keep the tape from sticking to the ear fur, but thus far it has been my tactic to rely on the tape sticking to the ear fur to help things stay in place. The flip side of this is that there has been some hair loss on the ears that seems to be permanent.

    I have never used adhesive. Are you using it?
  5. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Good point by Aresmydobie regarding stretching the ears (within reason of course) up onto the posts and holding them there while you tape the ears to the posts. This is good for the ears, and holds the posts down in the canal.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. crypticintent

    crypticintent Hot Topics Subscriber

    My wife and I just got posting number 3 complete on our Ezri (least amount of tape so far!)

    Few things that have significantly helped us:
    Take the dog for a run around the block. Good and tired wins the day.
    Next, we ‘sharpen’ then backer rod (kinda like a pencil). Three small snips with scissors at the end and I have a slightly pointy end. I cover it in tape to make sure no foam escapes. Seems to work really well.

    Just a bit more practice and everything will be fine. Plenty of people here can definitely give more advanced tips, but just breathe, relax and wear the pup out.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. crypticintent

    crypticintent Hot Topics Subscriber

    Side note: What type of tape are you using? Having to go through all that just to remove the tape seems strange.

    We use three tapes
    -Duct Tape - only for little additional rigidity of backer rod
    -Cloth tape- I start by covering my point and about half in inch upward, then rotate it sticky side out all the way up the backer rod, then rotate it back for the top of the top
    -Paper tape- One strip at base of the ear, one strip on top of it and a final strip at the tip
    - cloth tape- at base and tip, also for bridge

    I’m trying to get more ear shown and breathing but thankfully we haven’t had any sores.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Recapping the major points:

    - 1” Johnson and Jonson Zonas tape, there is no better.
    - back taping backer rod with duct tape.
    - I used a grooming arm to hold Ragnar in place, it really helped. He was too reactive to somebody holding him and I didn’t like waiting on someone else. When the right time presents itself to post, it’s time to post....
    - pull up on ear as you twist/push rod all the way down
    -sounds harsh but initially I would push rod down into bell until Ragnar flinched.
    - keep on working on it, you will get better and she will get used to having in her ears.
    - after posting, do something fun and exhausting to get her mind off the rods.

    I was of the some that used more than the recommended tape. In my experience, it kept the dirt and debris out and helped hold the rods in. I changed every 3-4 days, went 5-7 days a couple of times but I didnt like because I like to take them down so I could make sure everything was okay.

    Good luck and good to see that you jumped back into the game. Just “wow” you had two that were with you for 10yrs.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. My2Dobies

    My2Dobies Hot Topics Subscriber

    Thank you all for the tips, direction and encouragement. I appreciate it!

    @Oji, just to clarify for what it’s worth: it’s my local vet who stopped cropping (not the breeder or her vet several hours away). In my mind, that makes him even more out of practice with this than I am, which is why I don’t feel I can turn to him for help (plus I’ve noticed several posts on here where the vets give not-so-sound advice about posting).

    Lexi is getting better and does enjoy having her ears messed with to a point, plus we are waiting until she’s calm and sleepy to post, so that’s working out ok. Cutting the tape off to remove the posts has been a major pain, but baby oil has made a big difference (so long as I don’t soak them down and then wait before cutting it off, which is how I ended up with the gooey sticky mess).

    I am rolling the 5/8 backer rod in a long piece of duct tape (except that bottom 3/4 inch, which I leave untaped), then taping and back-taping the rod with 1” Zonas cloth tape. I’m doing all that just like y’all described, and like what is shown in the video that one of the members here made. Then I’m taping it to the ear with a piece at the top and one at the bottom. Then I’m adding a couple of more pieces over the bottom. Then making the bridge low: all out of Zonas. (Side note: y’all should buy stock in that, cuz I’m going through a ton of tape!). The posts stay attached to her ears nicely, and it’s not too hard to remove the ears from the actual post (no adhesive, by the way; just the back-tape). The only problem is her popping out the bottom of the backer rod. And as I learned the hard way, with the backer rod out of her ear, the extra movement causes sores inside her ear.

    All I can think is that I must not be pushing the backer rods in far enough . . . Last night, I did bevel the tips of the backer rods slightly. We taped her at bedtime. This morning, they were still looking good.


    But by mid-morning, she has one of them almost out.


    (That extra slack bridge piece is there because she had been holding her ears up nicely in the 11 and 1, but I noticed last night - after having left them down to heal the last sores - that she wasn’t, so I added a tighter bridge)

    It seems counterintuitive to use less tape on the bottom around the base of her ear, i.e. use only the ONE piece of tape on the bottom, but maybe that is what I should try next. I was thinking this morning that maybe with only one piece, there’d be less for her paws to catch on and scratch at? Plus, I guess I need to get a flashlight out and really study her ear anatomy so I can confidently push them in deeper. And maybe even clean them more with alcohol; they do feel a little greasy on the bottoms when I take the rods out, but nothing gross you can visually see.

    @cryptic: the point and tape on the bottom of the rod hasn’t caused any issues inside your little guys ears?

    @Ddski5: grooming arm is a nice accessory; I’ll research. Please clarify: does the bottom of the rod sit inside the actual ear canal or rest in the bottom of the curved part of the ear (which is what I thought the “bell” of the ear was)?

    Any more suggestions or advice? I am all ears!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. AresMyDobie

    AresMyDobie Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Maybe try a bully stick after you re do them so she has something better to
    Concentrate on instead of her ears. It will also be a reward for getting posted :)
  11. Dawg 1419

    Dawg 1419 Hot Topics Subscriber

    I always back tape the post but the only way they stay in is if we used spray adhesive on the post.
  12. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    The bottom of the rod sits on the bottom of the curved part of the ear. Kinda like what Oji said, the actual ear canal is to the right of the bottom of the bell. Just like a the letter (L.) The tall leg of the L bottoms out at the bottom and the (.)period is where the ear canal begins. This is why it’s important not to let a lot of water into the ears because the bottom of bell will hold the water and if the water moves sideways then it will go directly into the ear canal.

    You can see where I jammed the grooming arm down the side of his crate, put a couch cushion on the ground to equalize the height. This allowed me to do it by myself. When he saw me put the cushion next to the crate, he new it was on. Lots and lots of cheese and treats made it a wonderful experience that he actually got to where he didn’t mind posting.


    Initially, I was doing the same as you with having the bottom 3/4” rod not backtaped in bottom of ear. Ragnar popped the rods out every time. So I started backtaping almost to the bottom leaving only 1/4” rod exposed so as not to be to harsh on the bottom of his ear. Yes, it was more difficult to get to bottom of ear because the sticky of tape would catch the bell going in/down but I twisted and pushed until I was for sure at the bottom. This adjustment helped considerably and he no longer popped the rods out. Be mindful though, I changed every 3-4 days and would not wait any longer.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Wow long time no see - welcome back! I'm so sorry about your losses though.

    I don't really have any advice to add to what has already been said about the ears but we'd love to see some photos of your newest addition.
  14. crypticintent

    crypticintent Hot Topics Subscriber

    The point and tape (sticky side in) causes no problems. My pup is just at 11 weeks right now, and it allows me to get it in pretty deep.

    The “sharp” point is not really that long and really soft. I actually feel more comfortable with tape than foam in the ears due to how if foam is rubbed it can flake.

    It’s no tougher than the foam itself and allows us to get it down in there
  15. crypticintent

    crypticintent Hot Topics Subscriber

    Also looking at your photos, it definitely looks like you don’t have the backer rod long enough to go into the ear. It really goes down in there. At the length there is no way it’s staying in the pocket.
  16. AresMyDobie

    AresMyDobie Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    What crop style do you have ? With both my dobermans I used 1/2” backer rods
  17. My2Dobies

    My2Dobies Hot Topics Subscriber

    The breeder said it’s a show crop.

    I did try the 1/2 inch backer rod from Home Depot, but it was so flimsy that she actually broke it off at the taped area.
  18. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Good job on the posting progress!

    Just a thought: If you, at this point, feel you need to shine a flashlight into the ear to familiarize yourself with the structure (which is a fine idea!) this tells me you are not feeling comfortable inserting the post as far as it needs to go. I get that. We have all learned not to shove stuff into human ears of course; but I am confident based on three Dobes' worth of posting and even more so because of the word of the experienced Dobe owners here that you won't harm – even contact – the actual inner workings of the ear with the posts.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. My2Dobies

    My2Dobies Hot Topics Subscriber

    Yep, I agree. I also think I’m not putting it in the right place. I’m gonna study her ear, rewatch the video so I can see again the bell where it should sit, and back-tape a bit further down. Tonight’s the night I stick it in far enough and it stays!

    (And all my brain could think after I typed that last sentence was “That’s what she said!”. )
    • Funny Funny x 3
  20. My2Dobies

    My2Dobies Hot Topics Subscriber

    Thanks! Cool to see quite a few folks I remember. :)
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