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SincereArtisan

Custom ears?

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A friend of mine has recently aquireda BC puppy, and she taped his ears, so he would have prick ears instead of dropped ones.

 

Just wondering if you all considered this a humane practice or not?

 

Initially, I felt it was a little wrong...but it is done with many breeds--dobermans, yorkies, etc--and the puppy doesn't seem affected by it in the least. Its done with some sort of medical tape, I think, and so it doesn't impair the hearing ability of the puppy.

 

I forgot to ask how long the tape was staying on.

 

I've seen ads for 'puppy ears' with instructions how to glue your pup's ears to fit that perfect puppy shape, and by the time the glue wears out they're like that permanently. (Note: glue was only on the fur, not the skin. No apparent harm was done to the puppy.)

 

So, would you consider it good or bad to tape/glue a puppy's ears to get them to look the way *you* prefer?

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I am glad you asked this, I know when I was younger that we had a German Shepard and her ears were taped. My BC ears are flopped over and I noticed that some BC ears are straight. Im curious to here the answers to why this is

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I don't think it's particularly "inhumane" in that I would prefer for someone to tape down the tips than cut off the tips such as in the Dobermans or Great Danes or Boxers etc tec.

 

But it does seem to be more consistent with what the person wants than what the dog is so I would personally not do it because what I look for in a dog has nothing to do with ear set.

 

There's worse than that to be done to a dog but it's the motivation for it that I would question. Not to mention that I've heard it doesn't always work unless the person is really consistent...in fact my parents did it to a standard collie way back when and her ears bent at the tip for a while, and then went straight up around 7/8 months much to their surprise.

 

Maria

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Well, from your "honorary AKC conformation person who doesn't want to argue about that" :rolleyes: I'll give you my opinion.

 

Just taping the ears up or gluing them is not really harmful to them, they tend to be more annoyed than anything else. Lots of conformation people do this to get a certain expression in the dogs face.

 

I don't do ears. I tried, and then I tried again, and then I tried again, and then I just decided I am not patient enough, nor do I have the time and energy it requires to do this. With my experience, they play, they come loose, you have to do it again, it's just too much for me, and honestly I don't really care about the dogs ears that much! I would prefer them to be puppies and play and get muddy. And, I also haven't had much luck with it, when I tried it didn't work (maybe that's because I didn't really care in the first place?) Ears will be what ears will be.

 

But if you "want" a dog with a certain type of ear and you "want" to tape, glue them, I don't think it hurts the dog.

 

There are many people in dogs (no Border Collies that I know of) that actually "fix" ears with surgery, which is against AKC rules, but get's done all the time, and I think THAT is horrible!

 

Tonya

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Kit, the reason some BC ears are fully pricked, some semi-pricked, some floppy (in all the variations of "floppy") and some mix-and-match is that until quite recently BCs were bred for one thing, which was work. (For clarity, I'll point out that what I mean here by "work" is work on stock - ducks, sheep, cattle, what have you.) The set of a dog's ear does not affect his or her ability to herd stock, so that was something that was of no importance to those breeding for work - hence, since any ear is correct so long as the dog can hear, you see a wide variety of different kinds of ears in BCs. By the same token, you may see a wide variety of coats (colors, lengths, textures, etc, may vary) as well as some significant variation in size and build of the dog itself. We pretty much all consider our dogs beautiful, I imagine, but that isn't because they look like each other. In BCs, for a very long time it was a case of "pretty is as pretty does", in the sense that no matter how ill-favored a dog might be, if s/he could do the job and do it well, that was a beautiful dog, a desirable dog, a dog to be bred and reproduced in the descending line. No one much cared what their ears looked like, or their coat, or what color they were. If they were sound and could work the stock, that was the goal... not the perfect ear set.

 

So, whatever ears your BC has, enjoy them as part of the unique expression of BC-dom that your dog is, and by all means, when you get a photo we'd love to see it!

 

As for the ear-taping question - I guess my thought is, why do it? I suppose it's not really painful, but it's bound to be annoying to the puppy, and I have seen some skin disease and occasionally more significant ear disease as a result of gluing and taping. It always sort of depresses me to see an otherwise perfectly happy, healty puppy with its ears all taped and glued and bent this way and that, all for the sake of the owner's vanity. (I can guarantee you the puppy does not care in the slightest what the owner's ears look like.... can the owner not find it in them to see the beauty that is inherent in the dog's natural appearance?) Finn had what I would once have called my "least favorite" ear set, but it was against my principles to tape them or glue them, and I just could not see irritating my happy-go-lucky pup by sticking his ears together for several weeks. I just figured they'd be what they'd be, and I'd have to live with it and learn to love them how they were made. And to tell you the truth, now I LOVE that ear set, because it's part of what gives Finn his unique expression. I wouldn't mess with it for the world. Or at least not for any reason except health concerns.

 

JMO, of course.

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I have had conformation collies, shelties and dobermans and a GSD since 1990 and my opinion is that it makes pups head shy and neurotic about ear handling.

 

With a show crop on a dobie ear, they cut off about half the ear from the base to the tip, in the correct shape. Then using skin bond (ostomy adhesive) and coach (sport) tape the non sutured back of the ear is glued to a series of styrofoam cups and the set is made. Then there is weeks to months of follow up gluing and taping and subsequently using all sorts of stuff including brute force to remove the glue so you can put new glue & tape on.

 

For dogs like collies, shelties, and GSDs, Dr. Sholl's moleskin is most popularly used along with skin bond to make the base of the ear erect- tipping them requires more instruction than is needed here. But from 7 or 8 weeks until teething is finished at about 6 months old give or take is how long you tape ears for. As long as a dog is teething the ear set will change. And yes, I feel it isn't easy on the dogs although I'm sure after puppyhood they get over it as long as you fool with their ears in a nice way alot with scratches and rubs.

 

One of the reasons I love BCs so much is that ears are a no brainer- they are what they are. In my avatar you can see Buffy at 4 months old with her ears braced. Nature or genetics won out because she has one prick and one tipped just like her dad. She was my fist BC pup and my last ear taping project- thank goodness!!

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I am amazed that no one has mentioned the fact that the stand of this board (USBCC) is to accept any ear type. The dog is not judged that way. I know all of you know that, just sort of odd that no is saying, why bother taping ears? I would never do it. I am not an ACK person. Humane, well I don't think it hurts. Ridiculous, IMO , YES!

Caroline

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>

 

Well said. In the abstract, if I had to answer a multiple-choice question, I suppose I would say I like prick ears best. But the kind of ears I prefer in my own real live dogs is the kind of ears they have, whatever that may turn out to be. Imagine never finding out what your dog's ears would have been like, because you had forced them into the shape of some other dog's ears. I would never do it.

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Caroline,

ISTM that the gist of most of the posts here is "why bother"? They just didn't say it exactly that way. I can say with certaintly that I *love* prick ears, but my dogs actually have ears of all sorts, from prick to flop. I wouldn't dream of changing, or even attempting to change, the ear of a pup just because it didn't match what I liked best. That's just sad.

 

Sarah,

As a sort of OT example, I went to pick out some karakul sheep last weekend. When I think of an ideal karakul, one of the things I see in my mind's eye is long, pendulous ears. But the breed can also have short pointed ears (they also hang down and forward, but are far smaller than the pendulous ears). Well, as I was looking at sheep, the two whose fleeces I liked the best happened to have the ears I liked the least. I moaned and groaned over those ears, because they weren't what I liked best. I got those two sheep anyway (and my friend got my third pick, who did have the ears I liked), because in the end it's the fleece that counts, not the ears (BTW, one of the sheep I picked is named Sarah :rolleyes: ). A similar thing can be said of border collies--even if you aren't raising stock, there's a whole lot that goes into what a border collie *is* and ears aren't really a part of that, except that they give each dog its unique expression (and who would want to alter that?).

 

J.

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I would imagine there wouldn't be pain, but it would be really annoying. Why would anyone want to put a pup through the aggravation?

 

I must be the only one around here who loves the floppy ears . I even like the ones going every which way. My Gael has prick ears, but I don't hold it against her :rolleyes:

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I glued my shelties' ears, successfully tipping one but giving up on the other's. It's not like cropping. They barely seemed to notice and that was only when I'd actually be gluing and setting the ears. Otherwise, I saw no indication that they were bothered by it. Certainly, they never became unhappy about having their ears handled. I didn't tape, however. Just glued. If I get another sheltie, I'd do it again because I like the expression the tipped ears give. With Quinn, I'm still waiting to see what his ears decide to do. They've been all over the place. For the past few months mainly flopping, but lately one or both will go up for very brief periods. He's 8 1/2 months now. However the ears end up, I'm sure they'll be perfect for him.

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When I got Jackson my hope was that his ears would be "collie tipped" so of course naturally they weren't! But I had too much fun enjoying him to care about his ears! Just a few days ago I lifted up his ears to see and it just changed his looks so much! It wasn't "him" any more. So, his ears fit him fine!

 

Now my muttly Cheyenne was suppose to have prick ears but the cartelge(sp) in one ear "broke" so now she has one down and one up! She is my "lop-eared) dog!

 

They each just look "normal" to me!

 

IMO messing with ears, tails etc. is making a dog what it is not. Jeeze, would you dye a red dog black or vice versa? Same thing.

 

Hey, people, leave them dogs alone!

:rolleyes:

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"I must be the only one around here who loves the floppy ears."

 

Hmm...I was beginning to think the same thing . I LOVE the floppy ears. I couldn't imagine either of my two without their floppy ears.

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Guest grscott
Originally posted by SincereArtisan:

A friend of mine has recently aquireda BC puppy, and she taped his ears, so he would have prick ears instead of dropped ones.

 

Just wondering if you all considered this a humane practice or not?

 

Initially, I felt it was a little wrong...but it is done with many breeds--dobermans, yorkies, etc--and the puppy doesn't seem affected by it in the least. Its done with some sort of medical tape, I think, and so it doesn't impair the hearing ability of the puppy.

 

I forgot to ask how long the tape was staying on.

 

I've seen ads for 'puppy ears' with instructions how to glue your pup's ears to fit that perfect puppy shape, and by the time the glue wears out they're like that permanently. (Note: glue was only on the fur, not the skin. No apparent harm was done to the puppy.)

 

So, would you consider it good or bad to tape/glue a puppy's ears to get them to look the way *you* prefer?

Frankly, on a board supposedly promoting the concept that work, not looks, is what matters with the Border Collie, I find the practice of taping ears repugnant, and the thread disturbing. You asked.

 

Regards

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One thing- back when I was young.... I don't remember ever seeing prick eared BC's. Have prick eared BC's always been around? By prick eared, I mean standing up an at attention.

Julie

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I wanted flop ears when I was looking for a pup because my last dog had flop ears. But I figured looks didnt matter to much, and got Jen even though it was a good chance she was going to be prick eared. Now I cant imagine having anything else. I guess what I have learned is that, no matter what they look like, Im going to love them best for who they are, in all their individuality.

Jen's got great ears! But I can assure you, they werent taped!

One thing I cant figure out. I know I love to ruffle up my dogs ears. When they tape a pups ears, wouldnt they have to leave them alone? At the very least, they would have to be careful about how they handle their ears so that they dont pull the dogs hair. I could not imagine having to leave Jen's ears alone. I think that's the number 1 part of her that gets the most attention.

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I must be the only one around here who loves the floppy ears
I used to love floppy ears the best. When we got our Border Collie, he had floppy ears (as a pup) and I thought he was just about perfect.

 

Nowadays he has biiiiiiiiig stand-up ears and my preference has changed along with his ears!!

 

I wouldn't tape a future dog's ears to be that way, but I definitely prefer them stand-up now.

 

I like floppy ears on my mutts, though!

 

As for the practice of ear taping/gluing in general, I personally wouldn't do it, but for others that prefer to try it, I don't see it as a ditch to die in so to speak.

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When you consider that things like spray lighter fluid or other chemicals are put in the tape to make it more tacky. Yes the ears get irritated and I have seen scabs form on some puppies.

 

Just tipping an ear with glue by gluing hair to hair is not nearly as bad as using the tape and moleskin. I guess it depends on who is doing the gluing. I'm just so happy I don't have to worry about it any more- I have 4 sets of perfect ears here - floppy flying nun, one up one tipped, 2 tipped (sheltie-never taped), and 2 pricked. I think I love them all but favor those floppy ears the most.

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I like whatever my dogs have. I think I have a preference for floppy ears, I adore Oreo's and Zoe's. But if Zoe's had suddenly decided to be prick ears I'd just take lots of pictures. :rolleyes: I think taping and any of that stuff is just artificial and not accepting your dog for who it is...

 

I will say that it seems the prick ears get WAY dirtier... I'm always having to clean out Zeeke's ears. Zoe's and Oreo's never have a problem. I guess they naturally protect themselves... Zeeke's ears are like big cups.

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Originally posted by prosperia:

One thing I cant figure out. I know I love to ruffle up my dogs ears. When they tape a pups ears, wouldnt they have to leave them alone? At the very least, they would have to be careful about how they handle their ears so that they dont pull the dogs hair. I could not imagine having to leave Jen's ears alone. I think that's the number 1 part of her that gets the most attention.

I don't know how taping works. With gluing, I was still able to fiddle and play with my puppies' ears. Like you, I'm always touching my dogs ears. My girl's breeder once built a little "bridge" of hair and glue between her ears to hold them up in a certain position and I felt like I couldn't mess with her ears then. But the bridge didn't last a week with all her rough housing, so we went back to just gluing and I could still play with her ears. If I had needed to do that bridge thing instead, I would have given up after the first attempt.

 

As much as I like tipped sheltie ears, I really like just letting Quinn's ears decide for themselves

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I've found that I love whatever my dog looks like - floppy ears, flyaway ears, prick ears, tippy ears, easty-westy ears, white faced, dark faced, etc.

 

Years back I said I'd never have a certain color of dog. Well, then I got one had the color and looks that I said I'd never have. I loved that dog like I've loved all my dogs and her color and looks no longer mattered.

 

Taping a dog's ears may be "humane" in that it doesn't cause the dog pain, but I'm with the gang who says "why bother?" and it certainly doesn't jive with breeding for the dog's stock work rather than appearance. Cropping ears is inhumane, in my opinion. Both change the dog's appearance and maybe at one time cropping a doberman's or a Great Dane's ears to make them look more sinister had a purpose for guard work, but today I don't see the need.

 

I think it's part of the fun with bcs puppies to see how their ears end up! :rolleyes:

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If you tape or glue the dog's ears, what else do you have to obsess over while you wait for the pup to get old enough for stockwork (or in some cases agility, flyball, etc)?? :rolleyes:

 

I'm in the why bother camp. I love ears. Any ears, doesn't matter. I think my favorite is prick, but I'm not too picky.

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I also think that it is NOT inhumane - but even if I did have a GSD I would rather just let the ears do their thing. :D I knew someone with a Collie (just a collie not a BC!) and the pup had taped ears (for the tipped look). The pup didn't mind at all. I didn't either as you couldn't even SEE the tape! I am not bothered by people to tape/glue the dogs ears - I would just rather not do it on my own. After all, the dog is not in ANY pain.

 

Of course docking tails and ears - that is different. And now that we don't have any dog-fights or much hunting I don't think that it is necessary. Who needs docked tails in the show ring?

 

My favorite ears have always been OUOD - the ironic thing is, my first ever BC (or any dog with ears besides floppy) ended up with those ears! I didn't even touch them. Now THAT was lucky! :rolleyes: She really is my dream dog in every way......

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