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Gluing and Setting Ears

Most breeders will put you in touch with another breeder near you who can assist you in gluing and setting ears.  This is for those brave souls who live near no one....

This is a simplified method of Ear Setting for Airedale Terriers. Almost every dog, however, requires a little different adjustment or set, because ears will vary in thickness and size of ear leather, and position on the skull.
Feel free to email me with any questions I might be able to answer. 

I purchase the VAL-A TEAR MENDER ( a Natural Latex Adhesive) and the Medi-sol from  Care-A-Lot Pet Supply Warehouse .  I have the local pharmacist order the Tincture of Benzoin for me.  It also works great as a "skin bandage" when you are stripping the hair from your Airedale.  It gives a better grip while protecting your fingers from blistering..

I recommend wearing old clothing while doing this.  Although the glue is "rubbery" when dry and easily removed from fingers, it gets imbedded in clothing fibers and is difficult if not almost impossible to clean.

Please feel free to offer any suggestions or comments at any time...
they are GREATLY welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you, and if you find these pages interesting and helpful,
please consider a donation to Airedale Rescue.

Sally Schnellmann, Treasurer 
 ATCA Rescue and Adoption Committee 
           4355 S.W. Honey Terrace 
           Palm City, FL 34990 

God bless,
Barbara Schneider, SerendipityAiredales.
1. Remove hair from the ears, leaving some around the edges(both sides). Clip  top and sides of head, leaving the eyebrows and combing them forward.  Some people prefer to pluck hair from the very start, but I clip the head and ears with a #10 blade.  I feel there is less trauma to the skin and less chance of a reaction to the glue.  Besides, it also gives the glue something to hold together. 
2. Clean the ears with a quality ear cleaner.  Pour into ear and massage gently, but well.  Let the puppy shake its head.  Repeat with other ear.  Use cotton balls or cosmetic squares to clean the surface.  Repeat if necessary.  Let the ear dry completely.  At least ten minutes.  I use the time to brush the puppy, handle it's feet, check it's teeth, etc.
3. Apply Tincture of Benzoin to top and sides of head and inside the entire ear flap. It  is a topical protectant and is frequently used by athletes to protect wounds or protect skin from minor irritations.  Once dry it will help protect the skin and at the same time help the glue to dry and bond faster.
4. Apply glue to approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the top of the head and to the inside of the ear as shown.  Make sure there is no glue at the bottom of the ear, nor the side of the head next to the bottom of the ear.  Be careful to NOT get glue in the ear canal. This bottom area of the ear is left open for AIR CIRCULATION.
5. Keep the ear folded back on head until the glue dries to a tacky consistency (will become slightly transparent).
6. Cup your hand around the ear, positioning your thumb at the base of the ear.  Rotate your hand slightly outward, bending the wrist backward.  This will bring the ear toward you in what should be it's natural position.

7. With your other hand press the tip to a point about a thumb's width above the eye ( i.e. at the edge of the socket where you can feel the bone). If the puppy has a small ear with a high set, position the ear tip closer to the OUTSIDE edge of the eye socket and toward the cheek and OMIT STEP 10.
8. Pinch the fold in place and press the rest of the ear to the head, making certain to leave a pocket at the bottom base of the ear for AIR CIRCULATION.  You should be able to slide your  finger all the way up and into the ear canal.
9. Repeat the process with the other ear, matching the points of the folds.  This is also a good time to take your comb or stripping knife and "comb" any excess glue from the muzzle or eyebrows.   I usually do some body or leg grooming on the puppy while the glue sets.  It gives them something else to think about.  This is also a good time to trim nails, if you can do it without disturbing the ears.
10. I always add a small amount of glue at the back of the fold so I can lay the ear totally against the head.  This seems to help strengthen the ear muscles.  At the very least, it helps the ears stay glued a little longer.
11.   If you wish, you can add some tape (hospital silk tape, Vetwrap, or even masking tape) over the ears and around the head to help hold in place while the glue finishes setting. You can remove it in a few hours, but the puppy will probably remove it himself.  Usually once he has it off, he forgets about the rest.  If the tape adheres to the head and ears, you may have to carefully remove the excess with scissors and leave little patches of tape stuck to him.
12.  Give him a BRAND NEW chew bone to occupy his mind.  Fill a Kong with peanut butter and a dog biscuit. Or an ice cube to chase across the floor.  Or a Buster Cube with Cheerios in it.  Lots of new stuffed toys.  PLAY with him and tire him out.
ANYTHING to take his mind off of his ears.  You do not want him rubbing and rearranging, especially before the glue has had a chance to dry completely. 

13.  Ears should remain glued for at least 2 to 3 weeks.  If they begin to come loose in places, add a little glue, let it get tacky and press again.  If too much comes loose, it is better to take the ears down completely. Yes, you do have to pull on them a little.  I prefer using a stripping knife and pulling a little at a time.  Clean off the glue with either the knife or Medi-sol.  Medi-sol is a citrus based solvent and will leave a residue that should be shampooed. Clean the inside of the ears well.  Let the ears rest a few days and re-glue again until you are satisfied with the results. 
Esprit at 4 months. 
Her ears only needed to be glued twice.
Note that 4 month old puppies occasionally have wrinkled skin on their heads.  This is mostly due to age and partly due to having had their ears glued.  It will usually smooth as they grow.  So don't panic.
14.  Sometimes it will only take one or two settings.  Sometimes it will take several.  Occasionally, the dog's ears will look perfect for a month and then, almost overnight, one or both may drop or begin to fold back like a greyhound.  This is usually due to the fact that the puppy is still cutting molars and the pain and discomfort radiates from the jaw to the ear. I have found that ears can be adjusted even after 10 months DEPENDING on the size and the problem. 
Ear Glue removal
Actually in most cases, the ears just gradually loosen up over time. Most 
puppies will rub their head against anything and everything, and eventually 
the glue comes undone....hopefully in not less than two weeks. When one comes 
completely undone, then it is important to take the other one down. We do 
this with a stripping knife. If it becomes necessary for YOU to do it, you 
can use any dull knife for grasping along with your thumb and first finger. 
It's kind of like removing a band-aid. Using quick, sharp movements, you 
grasp sections/pieces of glue and very, very quickly pull them off. It is 
extremely important to remove the glue if a ear comes undone, because the 
weight of the glue at the tips of the ear could screw up the newly set ear. 
Hope this helps! 
Sandi & the Cooley Clan
Molly as an 8 week old puppy.  She needed her ears glued several times due to a slightly thicker ear leather and an uncanny ability work the glue loose.  She was one of those puppies that did NOT like her ears glued.  Most puppies do not seem to mind at all.
Molly seems quite pleased with the end result and loves 
"hamming it up"

The Kerry Blue site has an excellent article on gluing ears and supplies a listing of various type of glue, where they can be purchased and some addition hints and tips.  Since I am not about to "re-invent the wheel,"  I recommend checking it out for yourself at Setting Kerry Ears .

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