Shetland sheepdogs

sheltie ear taping EAR SETTING miley sheltie ear glue taping

The correct Sheltie ear is beautiful. It contributes to a soft, intelligent expression and gives an alert look to the entire dog. It is set high, opening forward, semi-erect. The top third of the leather breaks forward with no inclination to turn to the sides. The ear itself is small in relation to the head; the leather strong, yet flexible, and of medium thickness.

Unfortunately for the breeder, ears can be difficult. They are influenced not only by heredity, but also by emotional stress, teething, puberty, coat loss, temperature, hormone changes, calcium assimilation, humidity, and age. And to top this off, they rarely inherit as predicted.

Some ears are perfect regardless of the environment and others are utterly hopeless. The majority of ears, however, can be helped at crucial times - especially during teething from about 10 weeks of age to nine months.

Surgical correction is undesirable and is n
ot allowed by FCI for show dogs. It is, however, perfectly alright to try to maintain the correct appearance of a dog by working on his ears, bearing in mind the natural tendencies of those ears..

A Sheltie puppy's ears can be assessed at about 8 weeks of age. Look at the set of the ears (position on the top of the head) and also the size and stiffness of the ears. Low set, large, and heavy ears are incorrect, and not much can be done, but you can always try and see what you can do with a little determination and effort! Breeders assess their pups and work to their strengths. Ears that are nicely placed on the head, and small and light, should tip over naturally, and give the correct finish to the pup's expression. These are the ears to look at for the future. A lot of the time, correct ears at 8 weeks are the perfect start, and only need to be reminded of this a little during teething. It is during this stage that a breeder will set a pup's ears in their natural position.

There are several methods that breeders use to train the ears to "tip". A popular method is to
glue the ear using Speed Sew, or another fabric or hair glue. This glue can be used to glue the tip of the ear to the base of the ear by simply gluing hair to hair. Another method used to tip ears is by taping. Here the ears are taped in the tipping position and braced as well. Thirdly, and this for the very best ears, gentle weighting of the tips is required during teething. All of these methods are shown below, briefly, but if you want your pup's ears set, if is best to ask your breeder to help you.

This is probably the first method you should try as a beginner. If your pup's ears look good but you see they occasionally lift in danger of staying up in the prick position, simply place a small weight in the tip of the ear - like sugar free gum on the hair inside the tip. There is also Tungsten that i
s used for this, but not in this country, so you would have to import that (check Amazon). You can pretty much be creative here - but just make sure that the weight is not so heavy as to make the ear tip more than halfway.

ear weight

Another really easy method is to glue the ears in place - purchase some hair extension glue (and possibly the remover as well) and pop a spot of glue in the hair of the inside tip of the ear. Glue this spot to the inside cartilage where it leaves the head (see diagram below). Do this for both ears and leave as is if the ear set is good. If the ears have a tendency to fall outwards, simply glue the hair on the inside edges of the ears together do that they touch.

gluing ears

This is the most precise, and extreme method and does take quite a bit of skill. The best tape to use is the imported tape, "Japanese Ear Tape". But you can get away with using a local tape, Leukotape P. In essence, tape is placed in 2 areas of the ear - in the tip and in the base. The two ears are then braced (tape or string) together and retaped. Then the upper and lower pieces in the ear are glued together. The finished product is 2 ears folded over and touching in the middle, and very firm on the head.

sheltie ear glue

japanese ear tape
leukotape P

Ears would need to be set as long as you need to, but bear in mind your puppy may need a break occasionally, and if it comes undone, just clean the ears before redoing the setting. Usually by 6 months of age the ears should be ok to be set free. Sometimes it may take longer, and sometimes nothing is needed at all. Good luck!

Other available instructions off the internet:

Ear gluing
Triumph Show dog Solutions ear taping instructions
Triumph Show dog Solutions ear gluing instructions
Triumph Showdog Solutions Loading ears
Yankee Shelties - tips on different methods
Moleskin method - just to give you ideas
Mackland Sheltie ears - glue and tape combined



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