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"Ear Confusion" and growth/taping

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#1 Koda's Girl

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 11:11 PM

I did a search for topics like this and didn't come up with anything that answered my question, so I'll post it here.

Dakota, my 11 week old BC, started out with two perfect, 'tipped down' ears. After a few days, his right ear began to perk up, but his left ear stayed down.
Now, his right ear is almost 90% erect (the tip just flops down every once in awhile) and the left ear hasn't even BEGUN to strengthen. (It's as flat and floppy as possible, almost like a small, high-set labrador ear)

I was just wondering if, in your guys' opinions, the lazy left ear will ever perk up?
If not, (REALLY not sure if I want to do this, I have to think about it.. I'm usually not one for interfering with cosmetic things like that) can taping the ear up help 'even things out' at all, if the left ear won't perk up on its own? My friend suggested that I tape his ear, I personally kinda LIKE the look of ear confusion, I think it adds character, but what are your opinions on a lazy ear?

#2 Sally


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 01:08 AM

Oookay, I daresay you'll get replies.
My opinion, he's too young to really tell but I'd put money that the floppy ear won't perk again.
There are a number of methods those that conformation show use to achieve that supposedly 'perfect' ear, ie perky but just flipping over. In fact my pup was subjected to several to, no avail, prior to my adopting her and for that reason I will absolutely not pass on what they were. It does not work, at least for any substantial period of time. On the other hand if you want perfect pointed ears you can have them surgically inserted with wire around the edges, which is quite common practise, I'm led to believe, in breeds like Dobermans. Then they just stick up all the time, exactly the same, and look if one ears bigger than the other they can shave a bit off to make them even at the same time :confused: ............... ridiculous isn't it? Not to mention cruel and annoying for the dog in question.
You're exactly right, his ears lend to his character, as do my Tia's, she looks like she has none most of the time but frankly that's none of my business and they don't affect her hearing, plus she could care less.

#3 3crazybcs



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Posted 11 September 2004 - 01:32 AM

Your puppy is probably teething and when they are teething their ears go every which way. With each of my 3, their ears changed almost daily while they were teething. I can't remember the specifics but there's a connection between teething and the cartilage in their ears. The time frame for teeting varies in each dog but at 11 or 12 weeks your puppy is probably starting.

As I'm sure many will tell you, border collie's earsets have nothing to do with their working ability (or their personality or how much you love him/her!) and taping is unnecessary not to mention messy, a total pain, and IMHO sort of cruel.

2 of my 3 dogs have lovely prick ears (they just magically appeared one morning!) and the third has one prick ear and one that tips slightly. That tipped ear is a barometer of how tired he is...the more tired he is the more it tips! I love his imperfect ears the best.

Enjoy those wacky ears!

#4 Aerie


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 02:39 AM


I woke up this morning and Recon's left ear was up but her right ear was flopped down. For the last week and a half, the right ear has been up and the left down....

And then there was a day last week that both ears were up, and another day that both were down. I never know what I'm going to wake up to. She's not sensitive about her lopsided appearance, but then - the pups at doggie kindergarten don't make fun of her, MUCH.

Seriously, though - don't stress over the ear thing too much. Try not to touch them and mess with them any more than absolutely necessary to keep from breaking/softening the cartilidge. Nature's a fabulous thing if allowed to run its course, and the ears will (probably) do just as they should do if left alone.

Wires...glues...rolls...I've seen all (well, I didn't see WIRES, yuck) when my mother was breeding Dobermans years and years ago. Stay away from that stuff, is all I have to say about THAT.

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#5 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 03:11 AM

Fortunately for Border Collie folks, there's no such thing as one perfect ear set for us. No messing around needed, just go with the flow and enjoy the show your pup's ears will put on the next few months.

Yes, I said months. Well through seven or even eight months old those ears will change constantly unless they are destined to be perfectly floppy forever. They may end up with that delightfully rakish one-up and one-down set which is not uncommmon - I have two dogs with unmatched ears.

If they settle down (or up - especially up), there's a period where their head and jaw lengthens into their adult form and it seems to suck the life out of the ears - round about five to six months old. Dogs that ultimately have upright ears look particularly charming during this phase.

There's a thread that has some cute pictures of the various looks your dog can achieve during development. Here: http://bordercollie....t=006168#000004

Again, don't tape. There's no reason.
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#6 lisa lucas

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 06:34 AM

My pup Star's ears didn't start to prick up until she was about 15 weeks old , and then it was only occasionally. She now has them pricked for most of the time. One of her relatives didn't prick her ears until she was 9 months old...they had been tipped though for quite some time.

My other dog Sam has tipped ears, but one more so than the other. It has never bothered me what their ears do, but I do often get comments that 'border collies don't have pricked ears'*sigh*.
A girl I know rubs her pup's ears with vaseline or talc and is seriously considering weighing them down to give them an even 'tip'. I was quite disgusted by it. She even uses mascara to 'enhance' her dogs eyes. Needless to say, she is a 'barbie' owner.

I see that Rough Collies have their ears 'braced' again something that I can't begin comprehend.

Those ears just need time to do their own thing...if they want to!

Love Lisa

Sam..always one up(ish)& one down
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Star at 14 weeks...ears down...

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Star at 5 months old...ears staying up!
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#7 Caroline


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 06:38 AM

Boy, I was waiting for the "replies"on this one. :eek: My rant last week and the Buchanan topic must have used up everyone's energy. That and the trials this weekend. BTW I don't like to rant either, and it is rare from me. So ears, let 'em be. God made them how they are, just don't mess with them.
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Charlie has "perfect" tip ears and I remember years ago when Sheltie folks at agility would say "wow did you tape them, they are perfect" UGH. I hadn't , obviously. And Luke has big prick ears that I LOVE. I also love ear confusion.

#8 urge to herd

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 07:18 AM

I've got 3 different styles. Sammi's are folded over, Shoshone has one prick and one that sometimes flops, (I love that term - ear confusion!) sometimes is straight, and Buzz's ears are totally straight up!
Try looking at a chart of the anatomy of a dog's ear - it's an area rich in nerves and blood vessels. It must be so painful for those sensitve things to be cut and bandaged for weeks. I just don't see why people think that a certain look is worth the pain.

Ruth and her 3 different but all wonderful ear sets

#9 BigD


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 07:46 AM

I think we are all being kind because that post didn't read "how to tape ears..." Then I think we would have let loose.

Marzipan as a puppy teased us with one up and one down. How we wanted that so much! It's damn cute if you ask me. Gives 'em some personality. But she ended up with what one AKC confirmation person (ick) calls PERFECT Border Collie ears! Puuuuulease. Don't make me sick. :rolleyes:

Leave 'em be. Let life take it's course and you will know that what you have in the end is what was meant to be. :D


#10 par3golfinontario



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Posted 11 September 2004 - 09:01 AM

Hi all,
I have just been responding to posts in the Companion Section anymore but do read all that is here.
I put a picture of Boegy in the gallery with his beautiful ears, take a look at that. His ears were normal for about two weeks and I sure missed his uniqueness and now they are flopped again. It makes his personality and everyone loves him just the way he is.

#11 krista


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 09:48 AM

Our bcs ears do just about everywhich way and she's done growing. I didn't realize they were going through all those growing fazes. When she's resting the ears rest. When she's excited up they go. I love how they let you know what kind of mood she's in and wouldn't have them changed for anything

#12 Koda's Girl

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the replies. I think that was the advice I was hoping to get.

Since I have NO intention of showing him in conformation, and since those ears aren't going to affect his ability to herd, I'm not going to mess with them. The more I see them, the more they grow on me. (I'll have to get a picture when one is up and one is down, it's so funny)

BTW, WIRES in the ears? Just my opinion, but that's ridiculous and unnecessary, and one of the reasons I'm keeping Dakota away from the show ring.

Thanks again for the replies, and I'll be sure to get more pics of his wacky little ears. :rolleyes:

#13 Darien


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 11:52 AM

I'd love to see some pictures of Dakota's ears, some of them can be great My first border had beautiful ears and I'd love the way she'd cock her head to the side whenever I talked to her. My male had 'flat' ears, one other had 'flying nun' ears, now they were gorgeous. Kiska has quite small ears in comparison to her head, but she is perfect to me. Who cares what their ears look like, as long as they can hear you and do their job I remember when showing all the taping and garbage that went on, why they didn't appreceiate their dog for what they were always baffled me.

Enjoy watching the changing motions, it's fun


#14 Kelliwic Border Collies

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 01:51 PM

If you do decide you want to be *sure* the ears stand up (or that they match), you have to do it before they finish teething, otherwise it will be too late. No horrible torture is required--just adhesive moleskin inside the ear to hold it (it, the back part) up, and surgical tape if you want them to stand straighter over the head (as opposed to flopping out a bit). You would stick a strip of tape on the fuzzy part of each moleskin (which is in each ear) and then just tie the tape together.

I don't have any experience with crop eared breeds but the ear frame thingies they use to hold their ears up are just frames--the wire is not surgically implanted into the ear.

#15 bcnewe2


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 03:18 PM

My Micky Pup has gone from one extreme to another. He is now 10 months old and we thought they were gonna be kinda droopy but when I started him on sheep they have started to stay up more than not. I wonder if he is one of those kind who can go either way...depending on what he's doing.
My favorite thing to see is when working a dog and you see the one ear cloest to you turn your direction so he can hear your voice. It's always an indacator as to if he's listening to me. They all do that!
My little 4 year old shy pup has always worn her ears flat back I think you call them "rosebud" like a greyhound. Their tiny. I'm retraining her on sheep (for the bilionth time but this time hopefully the right way for her) and now she has perfect tiny little tipped ears when she's working with confidence. With her build up in confidence she's wearing them more up that she ever did!

Even the prick ear dogs can plaster them back if their nervous.

I love all of them...the everywhich way but matching is the cutest to me!

Ears to you
PS. The Buchanan thread has gone to the alkies now :rolleyes: It's safe!
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#16 BigD


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 03:54 PM

I know folks that would GLUE, yes glue a quarter to the inside of their pups (Border Collie - confirmation people, of course) ears to get that perfect "tip". I guess that's what they call it.

It's sooo sick. When I saw that, I said to them "How would you like it if I did that to your ears?" And don't even get me started on the dobby folks.

I love my pup's ears just the way they are! No mole-skin. tape or coins needed for me, thank you.


#17 SoloRiver


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 04:56 PM

I have seen Barbie Collies whose ears were glued for the perfect Sheltie-looking ear tip. Their ears looked so weird to me that I couldn't stop staring at them. And thinking, why, why why?

I've seen Sport Collie/AKC type dogs (the "do it all" dogs) with ears that were taped/glued and they tend to look even weirder. They end up with this high-flying 45-degree angle thing going on but the tips bent over just so. I don't know why, maybe it's the style of gluing that they use. Why, why why?

And the puppies look so pathetic with their ears glued into a little bonnet on top of their heads. Why, why why?

The whole point of Border Collie looks, to me, if a point must be identified, is that Border Collies are a rustic, blue-collar, honest, variable-looking, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of dog. I can't figure out why anyone glues ears on any sort of dog, much less a Border Collie.

Fly has perfect prick ears that any jackal would be proud of. Solo's are mismatched and I like them that way.
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#18 Koda's Girl

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 07:47 PM

I just read something that was sent to me regarding the 'cosmetic surgery/procedures' that AKC show dogs go through.. (It's RIDICULOUS!!)

So for my response: NOO thank you, I'll keep my Koda's confused ears any day.. All this 'beauty king/queen stuff is much too complicated and IMO unnecessary. like it was said, ear confusion won't affect his ability or desire to work. :rolleyes:

#19 Susan M. & Skipper, Annie and Ben

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 07:47 PM

Please leave the cosmetic aspects of the ears alone! Border Collies have wonderful diversity in their appearances, ears included. (My Annie has her right ear straight up and her left one down and she is lovely.)
The Border Collie Museum is a fun site to tour. Here is one page of their permanent collection, the Border Collie in America, that shows a pic of dogs with one ear up and one down:
Here is their home web site: http://www.gis.net/~shepdog/BC_Museum/
Go look around and have fun! Do enjoy your dog?s beautiful ears and be grateful if she has good hearing, good eyesight, good health, and all the other important things.

#20 Pippin


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Posted 11 September 2004 - 08:37 PM

That's horrible about the quarter glued in the ear. I have never believed in cropping dog's ears or their tails because it causes the dog much un-necessary pain and serves no purpose other than to fit in with an AKC breed standard and to make the dog look good and look like it's breed: Dobies, Rotties, etc.

Nor do I believe in other appearance enhancements such as nail painting. IMO a completely natural dog with tail and ears uncropped is better than dogs who's owners have chosen to adhere them to their breed standard. If more owners were educated about it and were aware of the pain and possible health risks of ear and tail cropping, I think less would do it. For practical reasons I understand and don't mind it as much; such as if a SAR dog had a docked tail to make it easier to go through brush and whatnot. That may not be the best example for dogs, but it's the only one I can think of right now.

I have a friend who has a Boxer/mastiff mix named Zeke who's a rescue dog, his previous owner dumped him off at the vet's office she was working at at the time. They (the previous owners) had his ears cropped so short that there is hardly any ear left, just little stubs. The dog has no ear flap whatsoever to keep dirt and other things out of his ears.

The reasons why some people have their dogs debarked I will never understand or agree with. The most common group of people I've read about who do this to their dogs are poachers so they can hunt restricted game with dogs without the dog's barking or baying giving them away. I have heard of a few pet dog owners having their dogs debarked, my question is is this even legal for vets to do? I am in no way criticizing the animal health care industry, I'm just wondering.

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