There are a lot of methods ranging from backer rod, paper towel, tampons, metal frames, to zip ties. More than one will work if the principles are applied correctly. I've practiced a few different ways and seen pros/cons to them all. I like this method best so I only give advice/feedback on this method. I like it best because I find that it is:
more comfortable for the dog than other kinds of posts
posts can stay in longer
simple and easy to put up
breatheable and less infection problems
stretches the ear up so results of standing ears are faster
no rounding of the ear makes for more aesthetic result
minimal tape and product required so ear hair and skin is less agitated than posts that wrap and cover the whole ear
VIDEOS THAT COME WITH EAR KIT PURCHASE:
How to remove posts (no scissors needed, no ripping or pulling hair, no product needed, painless)
How to measure new posts for proper size
How to make posts + extra tips to avoid pockets with the way you fold the cotton
Special way to apply adhesive to the posts so no sticky hands and post sticks in the right place
How to insert post so the angle is correct and ears do not lean
How and where to apply the tape so post is secure and the ear shape gets support
Munro Ear Posting Kit.
Optional grooming table. This really helps to have a stable secure place to do puppy’s ears each week with and not teach them to get on your counter or table, or wrestle on the ground. We like this table in 36” size for Dobermans and even when ears are done you will use it forever every week for nail dremeling.
Optional recommended ear wipes for cleaning ears on a routine basis. These are veterinary dermatologist formulated specifically for keeping ears clean and dry. I use one wipe for both ears each week when I re-post.
Phone or camera for pictures if you want feedback.
1. Get your kit out and ready.
2. Make sure puppy has pottied and gotten to play a little before putting him/her on the grooming table to start.
3. Remove posts as video shows. If you have those amazing wipes I liked above, give a good swipe down in the ear canal but do not rub the wipe all over the ear as it will cause the post/tapes to not stick.
4. Measure your ear posts as the video shows. Remember it will go all the way in the ear. The length of your post should be same length up to 1/4” longer than the ear. If it is shorter or longer than that it needs redone immediately.
5. Follow the video to make the posts. Go right along with the video until you can do it by memory. Pay attention to the way you fold the cotton pad as the video shows.
6. Watch the video how to apply the adhesive on the post. Do this outside!
7. Apply the posts as shown in the video. Pay attention how to hold the ear and the post when you put them in so that the angle is correct and you don’t get adhesive on your hands or other parts of the ear.
8. At first they will shake their head and paw at the posts, puppy will very quickly adjust and forget about it. They should not come undone or pop out - ever. Even with the most rowdy play all week long. If they do, immediately re-do them and find out what was done incorrectly with the post that it was able to come out. (Tip: really shove the post down in the ear, be firm, it is like putting an ear plug in your own ear, it does not hurt but should be very secure. The more lose the post is, the more tickly it will feel and they will shake their head a lot.)
9. Give puppy a treat or praise and take them off the grooming table, I don’t allow my pups to “learn” to get off the table until they’re 18-24mos old. This way they do not jump off when they feel like it and it avoids unnecessary stress/damage to joints. We even play games teaching them to put their front paws on the table and allow me to lift the rear up in exchange for treats and praise. Training table time makes a calm easy puppy to post and groom if you work on it every day.
10. Text or email me a pic and any questions. You can do this for every single posting or as often as you want.
THE BASICS OF ANY POSTING…
When Doberman puppies are born the ears are soft and floppy. At about 8-10 weeks age (give or take depending on their genetics and quality of nutrition) the ear cartilage begins to harden. If the ear is cropped and properly taped in an upright position, they will harden "upright." (They still have ear muscle control they can flatten or perk up the ears, but the ear set is up rather than down.) Time out of ear posts during this hardening phase will pull the ears down or permanently crease the ears in a floppy position. They NEED to be consistently posted until totally done or they will NOT stand.
They will (or should) be cropped between 7-9 weeks of age. I have seen some puppies cropped later, even up to 16 weeks of age and they are more risky to get standing but if posted correctly and consistently they should stand.
At first puppy's ears will be taped to a styrofoam cup on the head, it's pretty ridiculous and cute looking. This is while the ears heal from surgery. After 7-10 days the breeder or or your vet will remove the stitches but leaving the cup still on. After 10-14 days the cup can come off and they are ready to be posted.
They should be re-posted every 5-7 days. Or immediately if they get wet, fall out, or look super crooked. With other ear posting methods (backer rod, paper towel, etc) I would recommend to change ear posts every 3-5 days. With this zip tie method they may stay in longer (5-7 days) as long as they are secure and dry. The first couple times that you post the ears you may want to take them out sooner just to check how things are looking.
Ears need to be posted 24/7. They may only be out long enough to remove and change to new posts. At 7-8mos age, if all adult teeth are fully erupted, and the ears look like they’re standing straight and up during reposting time- then it is time to start “testing” them out of posts. Start out short (30-60min) and keep a very close eye to re-post at first sign of weakness. Do not test them at all if they are not straight on their own all the way from the base to the tip. If your first short test goes well, repost anyway. The following time you change ear posts you can try for a little longer testing time. Keep going with this process of increasing it gradually.
Be careful to not undo any hard work by leaving them out too long or when they are not completely secure. Do not allow puppy to sleep or lay resting on the ears during testing time, until you’ve worked your way up to it. You might notice that things go well for several tests and then suddenly one time the ears look soft and begin to droop or bend - REPOST IMMEDIATELY! They can randomly temporarily regress up to 7-12mos of age. The key is to keep them in posts. ONLY test when they’re secure. Don’t push it too far too fast.
THE DO NOTS...
- Do not use any other tape than what is in the kit. We have tried them ALL. Other tapes may cause allergic reactions, pulling skin/hair when removing, not sticking well, not breathable like our tape, do not contain zinc oxide for soothing and healing like our tape does.
- Do not ever use vet wrap (stretchy self sticking wrap comes in lots of pretty colors, also called co flex or flexy wrap etc)- it tightens and shrinks from heat and can cut off ear circulation and require ear amputation. Even when applied very loose and carefully, the body heat or environment heat can cause it to constrict without you noticing. I know several people who had this happen to their dog, even when their own veterinarian applied the material. It’s not safe don’t use it on ears.
- Do not let puppy sleep overnight with un-posted ears unless they are done-done-done very secure. Not until you're SURE they can stay up on their own for days/weeks at a time. Sleeping is when the ears make the most progress, for better or for worse depending if they're posted or left to fall down.
- Do not feed food that is labeled as "puppy formula" unless specifically instructed by breeder or vet. Do not feed calcium supplements unless specifically instructed- if you are and don't know why you shouldn't, ask me. Basically it can really mess up their joints by causing too rapid of growth. In certain situations there is a calcium supplement I have used and found helpful to speed up the process. Consult with breeder or veterinarian before use though! It's called "Sure Grow."
- Try not to let the ears get soaked wet (like from a bath when they're unposted), they turn to wet noodle.
- Do not have your vet post the ears, the only vet I have ever seen post ears in an even remotely successful fashion is a breeder/judge of Dobermans that has raised them himself and does some of the country's nicest crops. Veterinarians are not trained in vet school how to tape ears cosmetically, they generally know how to dress wounds which is different then cosmetic taping for ear posting. But they will get creative or try different ideas. I have seen all kinds of crazy tape jobs from vets that usually results in A LOT of tape even tape all over the head and under the jaw. Very uncomfortable for puppy and no breathing room in the ears. If your vet/assistant are willing to go through this page (they're welcome to contact me as well) then they would do a fantastic job. I would still learn to do this yourself since puppies will need re-taped at odd hours/weekends/trips when the vet is not accessible.
- Call/text/email any time with pics or questions if it looks right.
- Really stretch the ear up tight when taping, the tape need not be tight around the ear but the ear itself should be pulled up taught while its posted. This is what speeds up the process.
- I recommend posting at night after puppy gets a good play romp. Have one person hold and one person tape. Give treats at the end.
- Spend time massaging the ears when you get the tape off- it's relaxing and also helps them heal/harden faster.
- Vitamin C supplement may help, but too much can result in diarrhea. You could try adding scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, and/or yogurt in meals to help process but it is only a minor aid and sometimes makes them dependent on "goodies" to eat their food (not good). I have not supplemented my puppies with these things they have just stood after our diligent posting, but I have heard other breeders recommending the supplements.
- Keep posting supplies with you always, you never know when you might need to quickly repost.
- Send me finished picture! And give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to it.
BREATHE RIGHT STRIPS
Used at the very end when the ears are up but the tip tops are curling in or out and need straightened but not fully posted.
Breathe Right Strips (best to use the "Breathe Right" brand or Walmart brand)
With fresh, dry, clean ears... paint the glue on the sticky side of the breathe right strip. Allow it a minute or two to start setting up and get "tacky," if you put it on right away it is too wet and slick. Press the strip onto the inside of the ear at the tip, in a vertical position, in a way that braces the tip straight up. Keep your fingers pressing it onto the ear until it is secure. Keep an eye on your dobe the first few min so they don't wipe or shake it off until it is set in place. Let them stay on as long as they will stick, could be a couple days or could last a week or more. Depends how rough your dog is on their ears.
"Are the ears done? When are they done?" This is individual to each puppy. They are done when they stand fully straight up all the way from base to tip, not bending in or out, and stay that way for weeks at a time. The key is to keep posting! It never hurts to post a little longer. You'll know when they're done and can always check with me.
Ear posting is not rocket science. I hear of some "bad experience" stories and people wanting to give up, that is only when they have the wrong method/materials, or a bad crop/vet. If you follow along with the videos with the right materials, firm to apply the posts, and stay dedicated to keep them posted for as long as they need- it will be just fine! You will become a pro in no time and can tape ears in your sleep almost! It is a 2-3mos period on average (some dogs require longer), but for the next 9+ years of beautiful standing ears it is well worth the effort.