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Is It Bad to Touch a German Shepherd Puppy’s Ears?

German Shepherds are adorable when they are puppies. 

The puppy version of German Shepherds has cute floppy ears that rest on the top of their heads until they develop the strength to stand up on their own. 

While puppies love to play and can get a little rough, they are still fragile creatures that need to be protected. 

Is It Bad to Touch a German Shepherd Puppy’s Ears?

While it is a common saying to not touch a German Shepherd puppy’s ears, there actually isn’t any evidence that touching their ears are bad. However, it is still important to be very gentle with their ears as you still don’t want to damage them.

The saying to not touch a German Shepherd puppy’s ears comes from how their ears are floppy while a puppy and they stand when they get older. 

People fear that messing with the ears of a German Shepherd puppy will cause the ears to be permanently floppy and prevent the ears from ever standing. 

With German Shepherds, injuries to the ears can make it so that their ears never stand up on their own from damaged muscles and cartilage. 

There have been cases where too rough of playing has damaged the ears of a German Shepherd. 

While it is important to watch over your German Shepherd when it plays, there isn’t any true evidence that touching your puppy’s ears will damage them and prevent them from standing up. 

Since German Shepherds are highly energetic and playful dogs, it is unrealistic that they will be able to keep their ears from being touched

Be gentle with their ears, but it is unlikely that playing with your puppy’s ears will cause long-term damage to them. 

Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Have Floppy Ears?

When a German Shepherd (or many other dogs) are puppies, they don’t have the muscle development than adult dogs do. 

German Shepherd puppies lack both the muscle and the cartilage in their ears to make their ears stand up on their own. 

The cartilage in a German Shepherd’s ears gives them structure while the muscle aids that structure and allows the German Shepherd to keep their ears up. 

As the German Shepherd gets older, they develop both the muscle and the cartilage to make their ears stand up.

For many German Shepherds, their ears begin to stand up at around 5 months old. 

However, some German Shepherds don’t have their ears stand up until they are 9 months old.

Some German Shepherds never get standing ears, instead, their ears remain floppy for their entire lives.

1 in 5 German Shepherds has permanently floppy ears. While it’s not the norm, it is certainly not uncommon. Floppy ears don’t negatively impact a German Shepherd unless the floppy ears come from neglect.

How Do You Properly Care for German Shepherd’s Ears?

Whether their ears are floppy or stand up tall, it is highly important to have a proper care routine for their ears in order to keep them healthy. 

Don’t Be Too Harsh

While it is okay to touch and pet your German Shepherd’s ears, there are some actions that you should avoid in order to protect their ears. 

Don’t purposefully bend or rub at their ears.

These actions can easily become too harsh on the development of their ears and bending can cause discomfort to your dog. 

Be gentle when petting their ears.

Keep Your German Shepherd Supervised

Keep good watch when your German Shepherd puppy is playing with other animals or people. 

Other dogs and children can be rough on the ears of your German Shepherd and this rough play can cause damage. 

Prevent your dogs from being too rough with each other and teach your kid/s how to care for the dog while also having fun. 

Give Your German Shepherd Chew Toys

This may seem like a weird suggestion for keeping your German Shepherd’s ears healthy, but chew toys are great for more than just playing. 

Using a chew toy forces your German Shepherd to work out the muscles that are in its face. 

These muscles can then strengthen the muscles in your German Shepherd’s ears, making them stronger and more likely to stand up on their own. 

Clean Your German Shepherd’s Ears

German Shepherds need their ears to be regularly cleaned in order to keep dirt and other materials from coating their ears. 

Neglected German Shepherds with dirty ears get irritated by the uncomfortable sensations that come with dirty ears. 

They will start to paw and scratch at their ears in order to get rid of the feeling.

However, this can lead to damage being caused to the ear.

It is also super important to keep your German Shepherd’s ears clean so that they don’t develop any infections. 

Dirty and bacteria-filled ears can give your German Shepherd an ear infection which can also make them want to paw and scratch.

Keeping your German Shepherd’s ears clean will also make sure that they don’t have any bugs and pests in their ears. 

Some bugs, like fleas, ticks, and other gross creatures can take up residence in your dog’s ears and cause a lot of itching, discomfort, and even pain. 

It is so important to keep your German Shepherd’s ears clean no matter if it is a puppy, adult, with floppy ears, or standing ears. 

Keeping their ears clean will also protect them from getting damaged. 

There are specific ear cleaning solutions that you can get to incorporate into bath time or any time your dog’s ears look dirty. 

You should examine and clean your German Shepherd’s ears around twice a month in order to prevent any infections or bug problems from causing too many problems.

Keep Their Fur Trimmed

You should also trim the fur around your German Shepherd’s ears if it looks to be growing too long.

Having fur grow too long can be irritating to your German Shepherd’s ears and once again cause them to mess with their ears. 

Can German Shepherd’s Ears Be Trained to Stand Up?

There are a few methods to train your German Shepherd’s floppy ears to stand. 

While there aren’t any problems with having floppy ears, some owners might prefer the traditional standing look.

The most common method to train your German Shepherd’s ears is through ear tapping. 

This method is done by placing foam rollers or foam molds into your German Shepherd’s ears to keep their shape and then tapping the ears together using a self-adhering waterproof dog tape. 

To do this method, place the foam rollers or foam molds just inside their ears so that they stand up on their own.

Don’t place the foam too far into the ear to prevent damage from happening. 

Make sure that the skin of the ear isn’t folded or wrinkled with the foam.

Tape the ear around the foam insert

Place popsicle sticks on the top of the ears across the head and tape them together. 

This will form a structure that will encourage your dog’s ears to stand up straight.

Check your German Shepherd’s ears weekly. 

If your German Shepherd’s ears stand up on their own, then you don’t have to go through another round.

However, if they flop over, you should do another week of ear tapping.

Give your German Shepherd tape breaks to allow their ears to breathe.

Always consult a vet before starting a method such as ear tapping. 

They will be able to inform you if it is a good idea for your puppy and can show you the proper way to do it and what products will work the best. 

They can also give you the next step if you find that ear tapping isn’t working for your German Shepherd. 

Remember to be safe when ear tapping as improper methods can actually cause more damage to their ears. 

Just remember that there is nothing wrong with your German Shepherd if it continues to have floppy ears throughout adulthood.

Floppy ears don’t damage their hearing and there isn’t usually an underlying condition that is involved with floppy ears. 

Final Thoughts

While some owners go by a strict “don’t touch the ears” rule with their German Shepherd puppies, there isn’t sufficient evidence that touching their ears will do any harm. 

Some people go by this rule because they believe that messing with German Shepherd puppy’s ears will prevent them from standing up on their own.

It is okay to touch the ears of your German Shepherd puppy but do remember to be careful and gentle. 

Puppies aren’t immune to damages caused by being too rough, so keep a gentle hand and a careful eye when they are playing with others. 

A German Shepherd puppy will usually have its ears stand between 5 and 9 months, but it is also okay if they never stand on their own.

There is nothing wrong with floppy ears on a German Shepherd and it only makes them that much more adorable.