Ear Training Methods
I am not entering into the "to crop or not to crop"debate. I personally prefer my show dogs to have cropped ears, but I do find natural ears to be quite attractive also. The majority of Giant Schnauzer puppy buyers prefer cropped ears but few understand the possibly immense effort required to train the ears to stand in an attractive manner. The following training procedures are examples of methods we have found to be effective and to stay in place longer while puppies play with each other. You might simplify our methods if you find that your puppy needs less support. There are many more methods that have been found to work well such as an inverted cup placed on the center of the head with the ears taped to each side. For simple tipping at the top of the ear I have found the plastic strips sold in the pharmacy for snoring problems to work well and easily. You may come up with an easy method of which I would be glad to look at photos of your procedure and possibly include them on my website to share with others.
Ear cropping is a difficult procedure for any puppy to endure. Be VERY sure that you are up to the task of training the ears to stand in an attractive position otherwise the puppy has endured needlessly. The training might be as short as one month post cropping or as long as one year. It is not rocket science, there is no crystal ball that will indicate the amount of time involved. If you do not believe you have time in your daily schedule to re-apply lost ear supports than I suggest that you consider a puppy with natural ears. The goal is to leave supports in place for 5 days, remove the supports and glue and allow the ears to air out for 1-2 days and then re-apply supports. This schedule should be kept up until the ears are standing correctly by themselves. After the puppy turns 4 Â½ months old the ears may stand correctly for a longer period of time. Allow them to stand as long as possible on their own, if they begin to tip or fall you will again apply the ear training for 5 days. Repeat as necessary. You may find that your dog's ears have stood perfectly for several months, only to droop again at around 6-8 months old. Molars are probably beginning to erupt which can affect the sinus cavity and ear canals. If this happens, you will need to support the ears again using the same methods as you used previously.
Our puppies are trained to sit still on the grooming table for the tedious removal of old glue, shaving of the ear, ear canal cleaning and re-application of the training supports. You will need to allocate a bench or find an elevated location that the puppy can feel comfortable on and you can work around the puppy from all directions. Your supplies should be within easy reach. It is helpful to have two persons involved in the beginning until you are able to accomplish the task by yourself. Insist that the puppy sit still and under control. Once you have performed the procedure several times you will become more efficient and it will take less time and probably less hands.
Sports tape and duct tape are our personal preference. I must emphasize the importance of NEVER pulling any tape or material tightly around the ear-NEVER, EVER! What happens when you cut off the normal blood flow to an appendage? You really don't want to find out! NEVER EVER stretch your tape or pull your tape when wrapping. Our photos show our method of pinching the tape to form a snug fit, this method will not restrict the blood flow to the top of the ear if done correctly.
The following ear training methods are offered as examples of methods we have found effective. If you have a wonderful Fanta C Giant Schnauzer puppy and need further assistance, feel free to call me.