Taping and Posting Doberman Ears

Doberman Pinscher Ear Crop Training Guide (Ear Taping)

This is the technique of training and taping cropped Doberman ears that I have used most effectively with my Dobermans and their puppies. This guide is not meant to provide full instruction. If you plan to or are currently handling the ear training process of a Doberman, it is suggested you seek instruction from your veterinarian, your breeder, or an experienced Doberman handler.

Tools and Supplies

  • Pipe insulation: This can be obtained at any local hardware store and is available in different sizes. Insulation for a ½ inch pipe is ideal for the initial wrapping and taping of a young Doberman puppy.
  • Scissors
  • Sharp Knife: Optional (be careful)
  • Tape: The best result I have had is with “Coach’s” tape. It is a strong and not very sticky fabric tape.

Making Pegs

Ear Peg
Create two halves.

Start by cutting off a few inches of the insulation foam, a little longer than the ear, then cut the piece in half down the middle creating two halves.

Trim to ear-shape.

Ear PegMatching it to the intended ear; trim each piece of foam to a slightly smaller ear shape. Be sure to leave an amount at the bottom of the ear piece to fit inside the ear at the base. Trim the bottom of this piece into a blunt ‘V’ shape so it will fit properly.

I prefer to trim the outside bottom of the ear piece thin to remove mass that could free the piece if the puppy shakes his head.

Trim the bottom.

Ear PegNow, get a piece of tape ready, about six or seven inches long. Steady the puppy. When I first start with a puppy, I like to pin him between the sofa and myself crouching down. This frees my hands. Remember, it’s only a struggle the first few times, as long as the puppy doesn’t squirm away it will get easier. If you keep him from getting away he will quickly learn escape is not an option and will sit patiently while you wrap and tape his ears in the future. Be patient and gentle, but don't let him get away.

Placing Pegs

Take one of the foam pieces you have shaped and put it in place in the ear. Wrap the piece of tape around the lower part of the ear fixing the foam piece in place. Be sure to wrap the tape in a forward direction. In other words, wrap the tape so if the puppy scratches with that back leg of his, it will be in the direction of wrapping the tape.

Ear Peg Ear Peg

With several pieces of tape, or simply with the roll in hand, snugly but not tightly wrap the whole ear. Repeat on the other ear.

Both ears should now be shaped around the foam and sticking out like devil horns, appropriate for a Doberman puppy. The next step will promote their upward stance.

Ear Peg

In a figure eight, wrap a long piece of tape from the base of one ear to the other. Slightly above that, wrap another piece in an oval shape around both ears. Next press it together forming a bridge that holds the ears upright.

Ear Peg

Now shore everything up with a little more tape to finish in a clean, hazard free, and snug wrap. If this is your first time posting a puppy’s ears, remember you are in the learning process right along with your puppy. If it has turned into a traumatic tape wasting disaster, don’t worry, it will be easy soon. If you have done what you currently feel is a great job, don't get too cocky as you'll probably find your beautiful wrapping half removed in a half hour.

Ear PegKeep a close eye on the wrapping for the next five days. If the puppy manages to free himself or somehow gets the wrapping wet then remove the wrapping. Also keep an eye on the puppy. He must learn not to scratch at the wrapping. Keep him distracted with toys and bones, and give him a sharp “NO” when he scratches. What I have done in the past with young puppies on their first wrapping and taping is hold them on my lap afterward until they become accustomed to the wrapping.

Once removed, clean the ear thoroughly and examine it for any problems. Then let it air dry. Don’t let the ear be unwrapped for long though, get it wrapped again quickly and especially don't let the ears fold.