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Our ear wrapping technique

Nearly every breeder has a technique that they favor for wrapping Doberman ears so that they will stand.  We have used many ear wrapping techniques in the 38 years that we have had Dobermans.  Over the years we have modified the technique to try to make the ear wrapping less stressful on the dog and the owner.   

Our method uses a post is made of backer rod that is flexible, so it can be bent when the puppy plays, but it will return to its original shape afterwards.   Rods that are not flexible either bend or break during play.   Stiff rods also cause the rod to pop out of the base of the ear during play.  Both bent/broken rods and rods that pop out of the canal require a rewrap.    The flexibility of backer rod minimizes the number of times that the rod pops out of the ear canal during play.

We begin wrapping the ears as soon as the sutures are removed after cropping.   We normally wrap the ears for 7 days, then remove the wraps and let the ears "air out" for a day.  We wrap again the following day.  As the ears get stronger, the airing out period can become longer, but whenever the ear starts to lose its "perfect" shape, then we wrap them again.  The ears will eventually stand for several days, but don't be discouraged if they have to be wrapped for several months.  It can be frustrating, but well worth the effort, since you will have to look at the ears for the rest of the dog's life.  

Sometimes only one ear will drop, or not have perfect shape.    In that case, we always wrap both ears.  We never have a dog with only one ear wrapped.

Below you will find a complete description of how we wrap ears.






  • Foam rod commonly used by painters and insulators to fill in large cracks prior to caulking.   Available at Home Depot, Lowes, and many hardware and paint stores.  The material is called "backer rod" and is available in 1/2", 5/8", 3/4" etc.   It is sold in long lengths (10, 20, 50 feet rolls) and is very inexpensive.   We start with 1/2" backer rod as it usually fits the ear of the puppy for the first wraps.  We move to 5/8" as the puppy grows.

  • Tape for the rod - we recommend 3M Durapore if it's available at your pharmacy.  It has enough adhesion to hold, but not so much that it is difficult to remove.  If Durapore is not available, use Johnson and Johnson cloth tape.

  • You can use the Durapore or Johnson and Johnson tape that you use for the post . If you have trouble with the tape holding, you can  use 1" Kendall Curity Adhesive tape.  You may be able to buy it from your veterinarian.  If not, you can buy it at  www.kvvet.com.    If you use this tape, you must use a tape remover when  you unwrap the ears.  Unisolve is one such remover.   This tape will remove more hair and may cause irritation of the skin.     





  • First insert the backer rod into the puppies ear to measure the required length.  Cut to the required length, leaving a little extra which you can remove after the ear is wrapped.

  • Trim off the shoulder of the backer rod so it has a taper, which will more comfortable and will fit deeper into the puppies ear canal.





  • At the flat end of the rod, tape one complete circle around the rod.


  • After you have made at least one complete circle, reverse the wrapping so that the sticky side is on the outside of the rod.




  • Tape in a spiral fashion so that the tape overlaps itself.


  • The final produce will look like this with the sticky side out.  You will need one for each ear.



  • Thoroughly clean and dry the puppies ear so that there is no dirt or oily residue.

  • Insert the rod as deeply into the ear as possible.  You may want to use a little twisting motion to be sure that it is inserted as deeply as possible.   This is VERY important.  If the rod is not fully in the ear canal, it can pop out of the ear, which will result in the ear laying  over the top of the head, and will require a rewrap.

  • Stretch the ear as far as possible.  This is very important.   Press the ear to the rod so that the tape adheres to the ear completely.

  • At this point, you will need two people.   One person must hold the ear stretched in the upright position.  The other will apply the tape.
  • While one person is holding the ear stretched in the upright position, the other person applies the tape.

  • Caution:  Do not wrap the tape tightly.  Too tight can cause loss of circulation.  Wrap fairly loosely.   After you are finished, if you feel that the tape is not tight enough, you simply hold the entire wrap in your hand and press.  That will usually be enough to cause the tape to stick well.

  • This is very important.   Start wrapping the tape by starting as low to the head as possible, starting the tape on the rod.  If the pup is facing you, start with the ear on the right side.  Wrap the tape clockwise, and allow the small fold on the part of the ear that first comes in contact with the tape to fold back onto the ear.  Do not make that natural fold "unfold" and conform to the rod.  On the other ear, do it in reverse. Using your entire hand, squeeze the wrap to press the tape to the rod so that it is firmly held by the glue on the tape of the rod.  

  • Wrap the tape around the ear going first over the head (not by circling over the outside of the head first).  This is very important because the flap at the front of the ear needs to fold back towards the ear.  It must not be flattened out and wrapped in the opposite direction.   



  • Using the same procedure, apply the second strip of tape, allowing the second strip to overlay the first strip somewhat.




  • Using the same procedure, apply the next strip.



  • Using the same procedure, apply the final strip.



  • Cut a small piece of tape and tape vertically over the ear and post.  This will help hold the post in the ear so that it will not slip out when the puppy is very active.

  • Press the tape gently so that all of the tape clings to itself.



  • Wrap a small strip of tape around the vertical tape to secure it in place.  It will help hold the vertical strip.



  • Following the same procedure, wrap the other ear.  The ears should be mirror images when you are finished.




  • The final step is to place a cross bar made of the surgical tape as shown in this photo.  




  • This is what the final picture should look like from the rear.




  • This is what the final picture should look like from the front.



Removing the wrap

  • When removing the wrap, it is important to have an adhesive remover (available at many pharmacies) to aid in removing the tape.    

  • After removing the tape, remove the core, then clean the ear thoroughly.

  • You're done until tomorrow or the next day, when they go up again !

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