German Shepherd Corner

7 Ways to Fix Floppy German Shepherd Puppies Ears

I receive a lot of questions from worried GSC readers and from the clients I work with about floppy German Shepherd puppies ears.

Since it’s such an important topic, I decided to address this issue in a post to answer all the questions.  And give tips on how to solve this problem all in one place.

One of the most distinct features of the German Shepherd Dog is their signature pointy ears.  It’s part of what gives them their regal looks and is a symbol of the alertness they are famous for.  So it’s only natural for German Shepherd owners like you to want the best for your German Shepherd’s ears.

Are you having troubles with potty training your German Shepherd? Learn about how to potty train a German Shepherd puppy.

Don’t Panic too Soon

Floppy German Shepherd Puppies Ears

Don’t panic too soon about floppy German Shepherd Puppies Ears

New German Shepherd owners often jump the gun and become stressed about their puppy’s ears way to soon.

By that I mean their pups are only 3 or 4 months old and they’re already flustered about their pup’s ears.

If this is you, my advice is to be patient.

Messing around with your dogs ears too soon can cause long term damage.

Timing is Everything

The opposite side of the coin is that some owners realize too late that their German Shepherd puppies ears need fixing.

Usually if a pups ears are not up past 6 or 7 months, chances are they’re not ever going to perk up.

Although there have been cases where taping after 6 months has been successful (see section on taping).

My German Shepherd Puppies Ears Went Up and Down Again

It’s common for pup’s ears to perk up and then droop again within a few weeks.  So, don’t let this alarm you.

This usually happens during teething when the adult teeth are pushing through.

In my experience, if the ears perk up once and then droop again, they will come back up.  So in this case just relax and wait for your pup to finish teething.

When Will My Pup’s Ears Perk Up and Stay Up?

After your puppy has finished teething her ears will perk up and stay up for good.

Although this does differ from puppy to puppy.  My male German Shepherd, Zè, had his ears fully perked up at 12 weeks and went through teething without droopy ears.

What Factors Cause Droopy Ears?

There are few things that can cause German Shepherd puppies ears to droop.

Teething

As I mentioned earlier, teething is one of the main reasons for droopy ears.  Luckily this is just temporary and after teething your pup’s ears should perk up.  Teething ends at around 6 to 7 months.

Genetics

Perky ear at 12 weeks

My boy at 12 weeks with perky ears

OK, so there’s not much you can do about your puppy’s genetics.

But some puppies are predisposed to droopy ears.  This is due to the genes passed on by their parents.

In fact, my male, Zè, comes from such a breeder.  But, I was lucky, his ears were perked up at 12 weeks and still are.

But even if they didn’t I would still have bought from this particular breeder.

In my case ears are not a big issue.  I’m more concerned with a sound temperament, drive and healthy hips.

But if you are looking to show or breed with your dog, ears would be an important factor.

Breeding

Many breeders will aim to breed German Shepherds with larger ears. It’s like that age old saying; “give the public what the public wants”. This is especially true for breeders of the American and Canadian Showline type.

In my opinion, breeding dogs to enhance a specific trait, not in line with the breed standard is poor breeding practice.

The result of this is German Shepherd puppies with droopy ears that will never perk up.  The reason is logical, their ears are too heavy and big for the head muscles to hold the cartilage up.

In this case no amount of help will make these ears perk up.

It’s a good idea to find a good breeder, meet the parents of the puppy you’re interested in and to ask lots of questions.

When choosing a breeder and puppy there are a few things your should look for with ears…

  • Do the parents have huge ‘satellite-like’ ears?  Or are they smaller, neater and closer to the skull?  The latter is what you want.
  • Do the parents have larger than normal heads?  Larger heads usually come with larger ears.  Not a good trait.
  • Is the ‘ear leather’ of the parent’s thick and firm or thin and wobbly? Thinner ‘ear leather’ lacks the stiffness needed to perk up firmly with no wobbling.  Thicker ‘ear leather’ will perk up perfectly.
  • How wide is the space between the ears?  A wider space usually means the ears will take longer to perk up.

Trauma

Between birth and 4 to 5 months old your puppy’s ears are still developing. And significant trauma to her ears will cause permanent damage and droopy ears.

When Should You Start to be Concerned?

There is a point in your puppy’s development when you should become concerned with droopy ears.  If your pup’s ears have not perked up at around 6 to 7 months, it’s time to look at ways to help those little ears!

So let’s look at some ways you can help…

7 Tips to Help Those Droopy Ears

Supplements

Many people, including myself supplement their puppies during their development stages.  20 different people will give 20 different opinions on supplements.  But here are some of the main ones.  It’s worth noting here that not all these are necessarily a good idea.

Calcium

A lot of people think that supplementing with calcium is beneficial for puppies.  And some believe this will aid development of the ears.

Personally, I don’t recommend this route.  Adding extra calcium to your puppy’s diet could potentially have permanent negative consequences. Excess calcium will settle in your puppy’s bones and joints.  This will cause permanent skeletal problems as she grows.

Besides, your German Shepherd puppies ears are made of cartilage, not bone.  Calcium has no effect on cartilage.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine for German Shepherd Puppies EarsA safer bet is to add Glucosamine to your puppy’s diet during development.

Glucosamine is a natural substance that helps the body maintain healthy cartilage.  An added benefit is it also helps create joint lubricant, for healthy joints.  This supplement is often used to relieve arthritis in humans and older dogs.  But will work just fine for your puppy.

A product like TerraMax Pro’s Glucosamine for Dogs is one of the best products on the market.  Since it comes in liquid form it’s much easier for your pup’s body to absorb.

It’s also worthwhile to chat to your vet if you have any concerns or questions about adding this supplement.  I use a powder mix of Glucosamine and MSM that my vet mixes for me.

Diet and Vitamins

Feeding your puppy high quality food should be something you do regardless.  Food has the biggest impact on the development of your pup’s body and brain.

german shepherd puppies ears vit cI recommend staying away from commercial dog food and opting for a more natural diet.  If you are feeding commercial puppy food try to go for a grain and corn free make.

I feed my pups a 100% raw diet and also give raw chicken necks daily. Chicken necks have the best bone to meat ratio so I’m confident my pups aren’t getting excessive calcium.

I also supplement their diet with Vitamin C.  I don’t use the plain Ascorbic Acid kind I always opt for a brand with biflavonoids and added Rose Hip.  This helps for better absorption of calcium.  I crush about 250g of Vitamin C into their food once a day.  Kirkland Vitamin C with Rose Hip and Citrus Biflvonoids is a good choice

You can also supplement your puppy’s diet with natural yogurt or cottage cheese.  The full cream kind directly from a farmers market is best.

Chew Toys

Puppies should have chew toys.  This will help relieve pain and irritation during teething.  It also has the benefit of exercising their jaw, head and neck muscles.  The jaw and head muscles are particularly important for healthy perky ears.

So let your puppy chew, chew, chew!

Need toys for your teething puppy?  Check out these indestructible dog toys for German Shepherds.

Parasites

Yes, parasites can hamper the development of your puppy’s body and so affect her ears.

Parasites steal the nutrients from the food your puppy eats causing malnutrition.  These critters also prevent the absorption of the nutrients that remain.

You can see parasites like tapeworms, pin worms and roundworms in your puppy’s poop.  You should do ‘poop patrol’ regularly and check for signs of parasites.  But heartworms and Spirocerca Lupi will need to be tested for.

It’s worthwhile taking your new puppy to the vet for regular deworming.  Since mothers can infect puppies and dogs also infect each other.

Protect Your German Shepherd Puppies Ears from Trauma

There are a few things you can do to prevent trauma to your puppy’s ears.

A good rule of thumb is to keep any hands off your pup’s ears.  That means no bending, rubbing or folding.  I know it’s not easy to leave those cute, soft ears alone, but it’s best for healthy, perky ears not to play with them.

Keep other puppies and dogs from roughhousing and tumbling too much.  By pulling and biting other puppies can unintentionally cause significant trauma to ears.

Some breeders encourage owners to massage the base of the ear.  The theory behind this is to increase blood flow to the cartilage.  Whether this is true or not I don’t know.  But I have never tried it since my opinion is keep hands off ears until they perk up.

Taping Your Dogs Ears

Even if you’ve done everything in your power, you may still need to tape your pup’s ears.  Many owners have taped their German Shepherd puppies ears with great success.

There are two ways you can do this and both methods are simple and easy.

Update

A reader here at GSC, Roger, has shared his amazing ear-taping success story…

Roger used the materials found in the first method.

Here’s what he had to say…

Our puppy was 8-9 months when we went this route.  He had a wrinkle near the base of his ear which was caused with rough playing with our other dog.”

“We did this 4 times over a 2 and a half month period.”

“At one stage, his ear stayed up for 3 weeks and then went down.”

“It does work, don’t lose hope.”

“I would not suggest doing this until you know your dog is done teething, which would be around 6 to 7 months.”

Roger added some additional steps to the method – and I think these are great tips…

  1. This is a 2 person job – someone needs to keep the dog entertained!
  2. First, brush the skin adhesive onto the outside of the ear form.  Coat the whole thing and let it fully dry, for at least 10 minutes.  This helps get a good bond with your dogs ear when you apply a second coat.
  3. Put a cotton ball where the ear canal starts to prevent any of the adhesive from dripping in.  Most pup will tolerate it for a little while.  If it’s a problem, skip it but just be careful.
  4. Now give the ear form a second coat of skin adhesive.  Lay it flat on something like a paper plate to keep the adhesive from dripping.
  5. Wait 20 seconds.
  6. Now, carefully place the form into the ear.  Make sure it’s far enough down to the base, but not into the ear canal.  The ear should stand up without flopping at the base.
  7. The ear should be smooth on the outside.  So, make sure there are no folds or wrinkles in the ear.  This is important!
  8. Hold in place for at least 45 seconds.
  9. When you’re done, reward your German Shepherd with a delicious treat!
  10. After all is said and done, have a fun play session to get your pup’s attention off the ear forms.

Notes:

The ear form should stay in place a week or so.

If the ear does not stand up after the form falls out, go for another round.  But clean the ear with the adhesive remover first and wait a day or so if the ear is red/raw.

The edges of the ear form will curl and start to come loose after a day or two that is normal.

Resist trying to put more adhesive in your dogs ear while the form is in place!  You stand a good chance of it dropping in the ear canal.  Just wait and try again when the form falls out.

Good luck, have patience and love your dog no matter the outcome!

For the first method you’ll need the following items:

Dog Ear Support Forms

If you’re not able to find these ear form supports, use method 2 – it works just a well.

dog ear support formsSkin Bond Adhesive – Montreal Osto-Bond Skin Adhesive is the best choice.  It causes no irritation and can easily be removed.  And won’t pull out your dog’s ear hairs.

Adhesive Remover – Uni Solve Skin Adhesive Remover is a great product.  A small amount will easily removes the remaining skin adhesive.  And it doesn’t irritate the skin.

Method:

  1. Brush the skin adhesive onto the skin and ear form.  Be careful not to get any inside the ear canal.
  2. Wait until it becomes a little tacky, but not to dry.
  3. Carefully place the ear form into the ear.  Make sure it’s far enough down to the base.  But not into the ear canal.  The ear should stand up without flopping at the base.
  4. Make sure there are no folds or wrinkles in the ear.  It must be smooth on the outside of the ear.

For the second method you’ll need the following:

A woman’s tampon applicator or foam hair rollers – get a pack with a variety of foam roller sizes.  This way you can pick the best size.  Remove the plastic part and just use the foam.

Paper tape – use the thinnest paper tape that tears easily.  Micropore Paper Tape 2″ wide is a good product to use.

A popsicle stick

Method:

  1. Place the tampon applicator or foam roller in the ear and wrap the ear around it.  Make sure the ear is in a vertical position.
  2. Then use the Micropore Paper Tape to tape the ear around the foam roller or tampon applicator.  Tape it from the tip to the base.
  3. The tape the popsicle stick across the top of the ears one end at each tip.

Don’t use duct tape or other DIY tapes!

german shepherd puppies ears foam supportKeep your German Shepherd puppies ears taped for a week, then remove the tape to see if they perk up.  If they do, job done!

If not, allow your puppy’s ears to rest for a day and then tape them again.  Keep doing this until they perk up by themselves.

Your puppy is bound to scratch off the tape the first couple of times.  The key here is to keep taping the ears until they perk up.  Eventually your pup will get used to the tape and leave it alone.

Surgical Implants

As a last resort, if all else has failed, you can consider surgical implants. A product like PermaStay Ear Implants for Dogs might be the solution.

The procedure must be done under anesthetic by a qualified vet.  So there will be extra costs for you.  Your dog will also require pain medication after the surgery.  In my opinion, if you’re going to go this route you should wait until your puppy is fully grown.

The PermaStay website claims a 95% success rate. Whether this is true, I don’t know.  I suggest discussing this with your vet first.

I hope this information will set your mind at ease about your German Shepherd puppies ears.  And give you the tools you need to help those ears develop into healthy perky German Shepherd ears.

If you have any questions or you’ve got your own method please share it in the comments below.

Please consult your vet before you make any changes to your dog’s diet, nutrition and lifestyle.

Are you still struggling with biting?  Check out these 4 great games to stop German Shepherd puppy biting.

81 comments… add one

  • This is a great article. So many that are looking for showing their GSD worry too much when they are puppies. I love all the tips you offer in this post.

    Thanks for share.

    Suzanne

    • R Dowell

      Hi Suzanne,

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m pleased you enjoyed the tips! I agree, pups should be left to be pups and let mother nature take care of their ears, meddling too soon could just make the owners ‘fear’ a reality.

  • Eli Vassie

    Whoever the man was that told you your pup was weak because of the ears doesn t know anything about German shepherds. Some GSD Puppy ears stand early and never come back down but if they are standing at all at 12 weeks that is a great sign.

    • Hi Eli,

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      I’m not sure which part of this article gave you the idea that I’m saying a GSD puppy is weak because of it’s ears. Although it is a fact that some breeders specifically breed puppies with larger heads and ears – which can cause permanent droopy ears. However this has nothing to do with the strength or weakness of a puppy.

      I totally agree with you on your point about some puppies having permanent perky ears by 12 weeks. In fact I specifically mentioned my own puppy who’s ears were up at 12 weeks and never went droopy again, even during teething.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion here, it’s always a positive thing to have diversity of opinions. :)

  • I enjoyed reading your post. I remember when my Shepherd was a puppy and I wondered if her ears would EVER stand up. I don’t remember how old she was when they finally did, but I was happy. I love Shepherd ears. Thanks for the great article.

    • Hi Jeanne,

      I agree with you 100%, there’s nothing as cute as a German Shepherd’s ears. Especially when they’re going through their up-down, flopping to the side phase! Whether they’re going to perk up or not is something most GSD owners worry about but in 99% of the cases there’s never a problem.

      My first GSD I had as an adult, Lupo, his ears never perked up all together. But he had other hereditary health problems too. :(

      Thanks for visiting! I’m pleased you enjoyed the post :)

  • Christy

    Please help I don’t know how to help my puppy she can’t walk well on back legs she’s 4months and needs xray and get spayed I’m taped to afford both what is the right thing to do I love her so much thank you I hope I get some response from anyone

    • Hi Christy,

      Sounds like you’ve got a whole lot going on. I can tell you love her a lot!

      If I was in your shoes I’d have the xrays done first. If your puppy is having a hard time walking, that needs to be checked out pronto. Your vet can then prescribe treatment based on the findings.

      Your vet might be advising to do the spay and xrays at the same time. Which makes sense since both of these procedures are done under anesthetic. So your pup will only have anesthetic once, not twice. But if you’re strapped for cash to do both, do the xrays first.

      Your pup is only 4 months old and most females have their first heat at 6 months. I think it’s great that you are being responsible and want to spay her. But you have a little time on your side.

      When you’re ready to spay her, here’s a great website where you can find shelters, vets and other organizations who are able to provide sterilization of pets at very affordable prices.

      Rosemary

  • pilar

    hi

    i have 4 month he will be 5 octorber 25 old german shepard. hes ears went up when he was 12 weeks now he just have them all floppy. will hes ears ever go up or should i help him out and taped them?
    they are pretty big ears

    • Hi Pilar!

      Thanks for your question!

      Your puppy is still teething and it’s normal for ears to droop during this time. Check your pups mouth, you’re bound to see a mix of milk teeth and permanent teeth. You might also see slight bleeding of gums around milk teeth, which is normal because the permanent teeth are pushing through.

      You said his ears are pretty big. Did you see the parents? Did they have unusually large ears?

      Also, keep in mind that the ears on a German Shepherd puppy do look oddly big because their heads are not fully grown yet, so they might look big to you but actually they’re just big ears on a puppy’s small head.

      Do you know whether your pup’s ears could have suffered any trauma in the last few months?

      In my opinion, the fact that they perked up at 12 weeks is a good sign and I’ve never come across a case where this happened and the ears didn’t perk up in the end. Except if there was trauma. In the case of pups bred with too large ears, they probably wouldn’t have perked up at 12 weeks at all.

      As long as there was no trauma, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Your pup is only turning 5 months in a 6 days time, so I’d wait before taping. Messing around with ears too soon can cause more harm than good. In the meantime, give him lots of safe toys to chew on.

      Chewing does help the jaw and head muscles develop. You might also like to consult with your vet regarding some supplements. Glucosamine is an option. Also make sure your pup is free of internal critters that steal nutrients.

      If your pups ears are not up by 6 months, you should consider taping them.

      Hope this helps to ease your mind. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Rosemary

  • Karen

    Please help, my fourteen week old gsd’s ears have been up for about three weeks, however I had him at the vet yesterday for a suspected ear infection. Since Iv put drops in today his ears are completely down, have I damaged them?

    • Hi Karen!

      Thanks for your question.

      No, you haven’t damaged your puppy’s ears! :) As long as you’ve followed your vets instructions for administering the drops you have nothing to worry about.

      It’s not uncommon for a German Shepherd’s ear(s) to droop when they have an infection and putting ear drops in can also make them droop. Once the infection has cleared up your puppy’s ears should return to their happy, perky selves!

      I hope this will set your mind at ease. ;)

  • rod storey

    Yes this is a wise and helpfulwebsite. I just had 4 boys and 2 girls and it’s really helping me out. I raised my female and did good but there was a lot of things I didn’t know that I know now and what to do. Thanks gsc.com

    • Hi Rod!

      Thanks for sharing your comment, you made my day with it! I’m pleased the information here has been helpful to you. :)

      If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I’m always happy to help.

      Happy Training!

      Rosemary

  • mo

    Hi Rosemary, thanks for the great article very informative.My male GSD puppy is 5 months old and his one ear flops to one side , should I be worried , should I look at supplements or tape ear up or should I just be patient and wait for him to theeth.

    • Hi Mo!

      Thanks for your question!

      If your pup is still teething I’d suggest waiting until this stage is completed. While your pup is teething you’ll notice loose teeth and sometimes blood around the gums. Keep an eye on this and you’ll soon notice when he’s done teething.

      My suggestion is not to start doing anything right now, he’s still got a way to go.

      P.S I’m pleased you found the article informative! :)

  • Teresa

    we recently got 2 wonderful German Shepherd pups, ones ears are up – and always have been and the others ears are up on day then one is up, and one down then both down then another one up.. Its funny, and I hope his ears go up and stay up, but it is not a big deal if they don’t I will love them both anyway! But this was a great article, thank you!

    • Hi Teresa!

      Thanks for your comment, I’m please you enjoyed the information.

      This is a common situation with German Shepherd puppies ears. Up and down, up and down! And with some pups, as you’ve seen with your own, don’t experience this. And if he’s still teething, it’s a pretty common occurrence.

      But it’s like you say, no matter whether his ears are up or down – you’ll love him regardless! :)

  • Jess Demo

    Thanks for the article. It has a lot of good information. I have a 15 week old German Shepherd and his ears are very floppy. At random times they come up but not very often.

    When he was 7 weeks old he had one ear up one ear down but they werent typical german shepard. They were up and the tips were together in the center of his head. By the time he was 11 weeks old his ears were back to floppy. His ears are bigger I believe. Do you think they will come back up since they were up at one point? What kind of problems does it cause if his ears never come up? Would the taping hurt him in any way? I rather have him happy and floppy if this could hurt him.

    Thanks for your time,

    One worried Momma.

  • Rick

    I have a Very Large GSD…he just passed 6mos a few days ago..he’s pushing 65lbs and growing everyday. His ears currently look like ‘wings’ as they are not all the way down or up. When he runs outside they stick up..in the house one pops up for a few seconds..then goes back down, same for the opposing one. His parents are pretty big themselves….both of them have big ears and are both up. I so far have decided against helping his ears stay up with molefoam or anything else. I’ve read online that because he is just so dang big….that it just might take a bit longer than usual. His teething I think is almost done… Has a huge Kong toy to chew which he loves…and has ropes etc etc…and chews all day long. However we have been regularly shaving his ears with a trimmer to make his ears lighter…in hopes they go up easier..never the less fingers crossed.

    • Hi Rick!

      Wow! He’s a big boy!

      I think you’re on the right track with lightly shaving his ears to “lighten the load”. And of course chewing helps a ton. If perky ears are important to you, I’d consider giving his ears a helping hand in the near future. GSD’s with large ears can take longer to stand upright though so it’s a tough call. The fact that both his parents have upright ears is a good sign. But if ears aren’t a big deal for you, just go with the flow and see what happens.

      I had a boy years ago, Lupo, he was a big boy too and only one ear stood upright. I didn’t mind though, it was him that I loved and not his ears. ;)

  • Gary Collatz

    I’m a veteran with service-connected Severe PTSD. My wife and I are living off of Disability Pay. We live in Rio Rancho NM. I’m sure there are more Veterans out there with the same Disability as my self. Once you find a trainer for a Service Dog, it’s so darn expensive!! What do we do? Is there a foundation that helps Veterans afford the training that runs between $1,400 & $2,500? Please let us know. We’re financially okay, but other Veterans I’m sure are not….

    • Hi Gary!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your question.

      I’m sure it’s a question many veterans ask themselves. I’ve learned that this kind of training can be anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000. That’s astronomical!!

      I’ve done some research for you and tried to narrow things down to in and around the area you live in NM.

      I noticed that all the organizations that provide such a service supply the dogs too. I found one that actually allows the veterans to hand pick their dog from selected rescue dogs. I’m not 100% sure whether they’ll make an exception and train a dog a veteran already owns. But in all honesty, I don’t see why not. All their services are supported by donations and according to their website, veterans are not required to pay for anything.

      The great thing is they are in Albuquerque, NM. I checked the rough distance and it’s roughly 18 miles from Rio Rancho.

      Here’s the link to their website where you can find more information…

      Paws and Stripes

      Hope this helps. If they can’t assist you they might know of an organization near you that can. But, I’m keeping my fingers crossed they’ll be the place for you.

      All the best,
      Rosemary

  • Concerned Owner

    I have a 5 month old and I am trying to find out if an ear has been damaged and then taped will it still stand?
    We got her at 12 weeks and only one ear stands. So we aren’t sure what other dogs she was around or if it’s normal for one ear to be slower than the other. She’s such a gorgeous girl. But it’s frustrating only having one ear up and one still folded over.

    • Hi Concerned Owner!

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your question.

      It’s not uncommon for one ear to be ahead of the other in terms of perking up. If there was trauma to the ear there is a chance the ear will perk up with some help from taping. Of course a lot will depend on how much and what kind of trauma the ear might have been exposed to. But as you say this is impossible to tell since you don’t know the full history. In my opinion, you have nothing to lose in that case and taping might just do the trick.

      Just keep in mind that if your girl is still teething, it might be the reason the ear is still droopy. Has the ear perked up at any time and then dropped back down again? If so, there’s a good chance the ear will perk up on its own. If its never perked up at all you could consider taping. At 5 months there’s still time to give the ear a helping hand. In my experience, after 6 months the chances of the ear perking up drops considerably.

      If you do decide to tape the ear, follow the steps in the article carefully. I say this because sometimes the ear can actually be traumatized if taping is done incorrectly and an otherwise healthy ear is then damaged permanently.

      Let me know how you get on with the taping. I hope it’s a success!

  • Durgesh

    Problem with my gsd pup is that his one ear stood up in 7 weeks but the other is completely down. Is there any sensation thats missing or something else is the problem . He is 8 weeks old

    • Hi Durgesh!

      I don’t think you have anything to be concerned about regarding your pup’s ears. He’s only 8 weeks old and still has his teething stage to go through. It’s not uncommon for German Shepherd puppies ears to stand up one at a time or to flop back down.

      Just give him plenty of safe toys to chew on and fight the urge to meddle with his ears.

      You’ll probably find the other ear will stand up at some point and could very well flop back down.

  • Evelia

    I have 4 German Shepherds, two of them turned 1 yr old 2-23-16. The females ears stood up when she was very little but the males are still floppy. Is there anything I can do since he is 1 yr old?

    • Hi Evelia,

      Thanks for reaching out here!

      From their joint birthday I’m assuming that both of these one year old pups came from the same litter? If the female’s ears are up yet the male’s are not, I suspect there might have been trauma to the ears of the male. This trauma might have occurred before you even got the pups.

      At the age of 1 year, I’m not convinced that taping or supplements will make any difference. You might want to consider permanent implants that I briefly mentioned in this article. I don’t know the genuine success rates of the procedure so it’s best to speak with your vet first. One of my first German Shepherds, Lupo, had floppy ears due to early ear trauma and I decided to leave them as they were.

  • Moeed

    Hi

    Rosemary

    My girl andy is 12 months exact.initially there were some issues while perking up her ears but certainly they did now the issue is!
    There is big gap in her ears,apparently the ears are up since they perked up but not pointy the way they should be as she is from show line

    Please advise or send me any email address where i can send you her pics for better understanding of the matter

  • Moeed

    Hi

    Rosemary

    My girl andy is 12 months exact.initially there were some issues while perking up her ears but certainly they did.
    Now the issue is !
    There is big gap in her ears,apparently the ears are up since they perked up but not pointy the way they should be.she is from show line and none of her dam or sire hve such issues

    Please advise or send me any email address where i can send you her pics for better understanding of the matter

    • Hi Moeed!

      Please send me a picture to rosemary[at]germanshepherdcorner.com

      I’ll be happy to take a look and give my opinion.

      I’ll keep a lookout for your email.

      Regards,
      Rosemary

  • Jay Thomas

    It is a brilliant article.I would say about this post that every dog has different ears some r tinny another r longest so we have’nt need to worry about it.I want share one experience with you that is about my german shepherd dog..whenever he is in the mood of enjoying and while playing he attaches his one ear with second year then it looks very amazing and we r happy to see him.Here i got more information about dogs.Thanks for sharing.

  • Chris

    I have a 12 month old German Shepherd her ears does not stand does not stand up what can I do to get on the stand up is there anything I can do thank you please email me

    • Hi Chris,

      Usually at 12 months you’ll have to consider taping the ears but that might still not do the trick. I have heard of success stories at this age but they are few and far between.

      If it’s a real problem for you, you could consider the implants I mention right at the bottom of this article. It’s pricey though.

      Unless you’re planning on showing with your girl it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I’ve owned a GSD who’s ears never perked up for no rhyme or reason. But I loved him just the same. :)

      R

  • Joe

    Thank you very much, I have 8 weeks old puppy and still waiting for his ears to perk up. Hopefully I see that soon. Your Article is very helpful.

    • Hey Joe,

      You’re welcome!

      It’s good to be patient! You know what they say about good things coming to those who wait! LOL!

      R

  • Jeremy

    I just got a new shepherd mix a couple weeks ago. He’s 11 weeks old and has fairly prominent GS coloring and facial features, but he has very floppy ears. As a mix, it’s impossible to know how much GS he has in him, but is there a chance his ears could eventually perk up?

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Only time will tell here. But I know of a few GSD mix dogs who have perky ears. In fact I own one. My youngest is a GSD Border Collie cross. And she’s got upright ears. They’re smaller than a GDS’s ears though.

      My advice is to give her plenty of safe chew toys to help strengthen her jaw muscles and then most importantly keep fingers, hands and other pups away from her ears. Your boy is only 11 weeks old, there’s still plenty of time. You should know by 6 months.

      Send some pictures I’d love to see him!

      R

  • siddharth

    hiiii. i hva gsd puppy of 3 months but his ears are not rising above. even when he looks suddenly that time his one ear is stand straight nd second still down. wht should i do

    • Hi Siddharth!

      Firstly, don’t panic…

      My advice is to do nothing at the moment. Your puppy is only 3 months old, there’s still plenty of time for them to perk up. If you try to force it now you will cause more harm than good and perhaps cause permenant damage.

      Just give him plenty of safe chew toys and make sure no one (human or puppy) causes any harm to his ears.

  • Melissa

    My Inga’s ears stood at 7 weeks overnight, no problem. German and Croatian bloodlines. She has been fed Purina 1 puppy food.

    • Hey Melissa!

      Yup, there’s usually less ear issues with the DDR, Croatian, West German and Czech bloodlines. They are smaller in size and I think that might be why, but I could be wrong. Glad to hear your pup’s ears pearked up with no issues. :)

  • umar

    hey i have a 3.5 month old german shephard and his one ear is errect bt the other is too mch floopy..he never goes up..some says he is weak and his ears never stands up..should i worry r wait till six months…??

    • Hi Umar,

      In short, no I don’t see any reason why you should be worried right now. Some German Shepherds have their ears up at 12 weeks and some later. Try not to handle the ear and also keep other dogs and kids from touching his ears.

      And, don’t listen to people who say he’s weak, they don’t know what they’re saying.

      Let me know how the ear gets along, okay?

      R

  • Kim

    Hello, I have a 9 month old female German Shepherd. I’m worried that her ears may never stand up. We got her at 3 months old and at that time they mainly stood up. I got to see her mother and her mother’s ears stood up, but I wasn’t able to see her father.
    The thing is, she’s very large for her age. At 6 months she already weighed almost 60 lbs. she is very tall, thin and lanky. She looks as if she hasn’t quite grown into her features yet. She has that awkward teenage look as I call it :) her ears do seem to be a bit large. Anyway, after 3 months her ears began to stay down all the time. Then at about 5 months they started to stay up sometimes, sometimes not. Now at 9 months, her ears are up about 40% of the time and down the rest. A month ago we tried gluing her ears for about 5 days, and afterwards her ears definitely stood up more.
    So basically, my question is this- should I consider taping/gluing again? Or do you think that since her ears do stand up for at least part of the day every day that eventually they will stay up permanently? I’m worried because she’s 9 months old already…please help me if you can! I’ll love my girl regardless, but I do love that pointy-eared look! Thank you!

    • Hi Kim!

      Usually when the ears have stood up they will become perky at some stage. But since she’s already 9 months old, you should consider getting involved in helping the ears over the last hurdel.

      If she does have larger ears this could be the reason they’re not upright yet. You said taping them did help, so I’d say go ahead and tape her ears. You’ll need to be patient because if her ears are larger it might take more time for the taping to work its magic.

      Let me know how you get on – okay.

      R

  • Subrata

    My GSD is 2 months old. His one ear is getting erect but not the other. Please suggest if there is any problem.

    • Hi Subrata,

      Thanks for leaving your question here.

      In a nutshell, no I don’t see anything to worry about. At 8 weeks old, your pup’s ears are still in the early development stages when it comes to them perking up. The ears can take turns to stand up and then drop back down – it’s totally normal.

      Please, fight the urge to make the process move faster. You will most definitely have the opposite effect.

      All you can do is give him lots and lots of safe chew toys and keep them from any trauma through injury or touching.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Chat soon,
      R

  • Erik

    Appreciate the article, lots of useful information. Unfortunately, it didn’t address the problem my pup seems to have.
    His ears were standing at 6 weeks and down by 8 weeks; I know, perfectly normal and I take it as a good sign. At 4 months the left ear is perfect and the right is trying but right where it flops over (just above half way up) there’s a noticeable crease in the ear tissue. I’m a bit concerned that it may have been injured at some point, leaving a weak spot. If it is a weak spot, I’m thinking that taping it now, instead of waiting for him to finish his teething, would be more effective and possibly the better move.
    Since my experience is with Great Dane ears not GSD, any advice would be welcome.

    • Hi Erik,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m please your found this article useful.

      What you’re describing could very well be from an earlier injury. But this does not necessarily mean the ear will never perk up.

      Also, does your pup’s parents have large ears? Larger ears have a thinner ‘leather’. If so, your pup’s ears might take longer to settle in.

      However, I’d really recommend waiting before taping his ears – perhaps wait a couple of weeks before you make a decision. Teething really does play a big role in how German Shepherd puppies ears react.

      I have been contacted by other readers who have had 100% success in taping ears after 6 months. Of course it took much longer than taping at a younger age but by 12 months the ears were perking up without any support.

      I’ll post the method and information on this post during the weekend. So check back here on Monday for the additional advice.

      Chat soon,
      R

    • Hey Erik,

      Just a heads up to let you know I’ve added the info I promised. I think you’ll find it useful.

      You’ll find it under the ‘Taping Your Dog’s Ears’

      Let me know you you get on with it.

      Chat soon,
      R

  • Thomas

    Hi I have a 13 month gsd male whose ears are erect but when he runs they flap he is a big boned dog and I was wondering if there is a way to rectify this problem as he has excellent construction but gets penalised in the show ring for this

    • Hi Thomas,

      At your boy’s age I think you have nothing to lose by giving the taping method a go. There have been instances where taping has helped even after 6 to 7 months.

      In this article under ‘Taping Your Dog’s Ears’ section I’ve just recently added a wonderful success story from one reader – Roger. He managed to help his German Shepherd’s ears perk up permanently.

      You could possible have success in teaching those ears to stay upright when he’s running.

      I’ve highlighted the advice and tips from Roger in orange so it’s easily distinguishable.

      Let me know what you decide and how you get on.

      Chat soon,
      R

  • Mahnoor

    Hi

    This was so enlightening. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    I have a 6 month old male German Shepherd. We got him at a very younh age – when he had just turned a month old – due to some complications. I know for a fact that both of his parents had their ears erect.

    The past few months, Rocky’s (his name) ears have perked up and drooped back down. At small intervals – maybe an hour or so a day – both ears would be erect, but for the most part, his ears only perk up one at a time. He’s very protective so in alert mode his ears perk up instantly. At first I wasn’t worried but now that he has his adult teeth coming out, I feel like his ears should be pointed up.

    Is all his ear droopiness because of the age at which we got him? He is quiet petite for his age, would that effect his ears? What do I do? Any and all help would be appreciated!

    • Hi Mahnoor!

      I’m pleased you found this useful!

      What you’ve described is 100% normal. Ears perking up one at a time, perking for short intervals and so forth. His adult teeth are still developing and pup’s mature at their own speed. The fact that he was not able to suckle on his mother from age 4 weeks, could have an effect on the speed of his development but not on the final outcome. It might take his body a little longer to catch up.

      The fact that his parents have perky ears is a huge plus point. And he’s most likely not had any trauma since you’ve had him since a very young pup. And the see saw of up and down is a good sign too.

      Also, his ears are perking up when he’s alert, so there is strength in the ‘leather’ to stay up and in the muscles too. My first GSD, Lupo had floppy ears, and even in an alert state they never perked up. So another positive point for Rocky’s ears.

      So my advice is to sit tight and fight the urge to get involved with his ears. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Let your little guy develop at a natural pace.

      Chat soon,
      R

  • Safakheir

    Hi.
    I have a german spitz about 10 weeks with droped ears can I use these guides to fix this problem?
    please help me .
    Thanks.

    • Hi Safakheir,

      Thanks for your question.

      Okay, so I’m not an expert on the German Spitz, but here’s what I think…

      All pups are born with their eyes and ears closed. At 10 to 14 days their ears start opening. A Spitz has smaller ears than a German Shepherd but the Spitz has much more hair, which is also thick. So in my opinion it will take some time for your pup’s ears to point upright.

      If on the other hand IF a Spitz should have upright ears by 10 weeks, then you should consider getting involved in helping those ears. But, I think it’s unlikely. Any pup is still very much a baby at 10 weeks, they still have a lot of growing to do relative to their adult size. And if this is correct, I’d hold back and monitor the ears. If you force the ears, you’ll cause damage you can’t fix.

      The feedback for another reader was that even at 9 months they had success with taping their pup’s ears. The cause of the problematic ear was trauma – which is always difficult to fix (see the orange highlighted text in the article). It’s a fine line to tread and you’re the only one who can make that decision.

      If or when you do decide to get involved there are a few things you should take care of;

      You’ll definitely need to shave the entire inside of your pup’s ears. Remember, it’s easier with a GSD, they have very little and fine hairs – well the short hair ones anyway.

      You won’t be able to use ear form supports, unless you can get your hands on a size suitable your your Spitz. If you do, you’ll deform the ears. If you can’t find those, the second method would work better.

      You might need to trim the outer hairs a small bit because of the tape in method 2 but don’t shave it all off. You want the ear leather to stay accustomed to the weight of hair.

      And always use surgical tape like in the description.

      And be careful when you remove the tape.

      Let me know how you get on.

      P.S. Do you have a Klein or Mittel Spitz?

  • Jasmin

    I have a 10 week german shepherd his name is chaos..
    We noticed from last week that one of his ears always points to the left.. it looks teribble . We made sure that we arent touching the ears..
    But he sleeps on it all the time. It looks as if its glued that way.. shoyld i be worried. ?

    • Hi Jasmin,

      Thanks for your question.

      At 10 weeks Chaos still has a lot of growing to do. And ears can do strange things until they’re fully developed.

      Has this pointing to the left only started recently? Is the leaning to the left at the base or somewhere on the leather part? Is the ear upright and pointing to the left?

      Knowing the answers to these question will make it easier for me to answer your question.

      If you can, take a picture and email it to me. rosemary[at]germanshepherdcorner.com

      I’ll look out for your email.

      Chat soon,
      R

  • Megyn Sullivan

    I have a 10 month old German Shepherd, most of the time his ears are either down or one up (more often the left one up than the right, and sometimes flopped over the top of his head.)

    The thing is, when he is alert, or excited, or playing, he’ll perk both ears up almost perfectly, or sometimes with some inward floppiness where they’re leaning against eachother like you’ll see in younger puppies. He’s just shy of 80lbs now, he’s a big boy and as tall as me when he jumps up on me when we “dance” lol, practically eye level.

    Early on he did have a yeast infection we treated his ears for though.

    Is there anything that can be done, since he CAN hold them up during certain times of excitement, or will he stay just a mostly floppy earred sheppy?

    • Hi Megyn,

      Thanks for your question.

      The fact that your boy’s ears perk up when he’s alert is a good sign.

      You say he’s a big boy so it’s possible that his ears are larger than say a more regular sized male GSD. This means the leather is a little thinner than a GSD with smaller ears that are closer together.

      I don’t believe the earlier yeast infection would have any long term effects on his ears. If they were treated by a vet and the infection has cleared up, you should have nothing to worry about.

      I think it’s safe to say you can and should get actively involved in helping those ears perk up. I’ll say right off the bat that sometimes helping out makes no difference.

      BUT…

      I want you to read the read the feedback in this article from another reader here at GSC. His GSD was a younger than your boy by only one month. They followed the taping method and persevered. In the end, they had positive results and now their GSD has those lovely pointy ears.

      You can find the feedback under the ‘taping’ section. The text is in orange so it’s easy to find.

      My advice is to follow what Roger did exactly. There is a good chance you will have positive results too.

      If you have any questions as you work through helping those ears, just drop them in the comments. Also, come back and share your success. Even better, send me an email. I love success stories!

      Hope this helps to answer your question.

      Chat Soon,
      Rosemary

  • Fred Rodriguez

    Hi, i have a female GSD that was having issues with droopy ears, i went ahead and added Glucosamine to her diet (1000 mg) a day and i changed her puppy food to Non corn, wheat and soy when she was 5 months old. At 7 months old her ears finally became errect and its been two months since they have stayed up. My question to you is, when do you recommend that i put her on regular puppy food and when should i stop feeding her the Glucosamine ?

    Fred

    • Hey Fred!

      Great news on those ears perking up! It pays to be patient and persevere!

      If I was in your shoes, I’d keep her on the food you’re feeding now. It sounds like you’ve got her eating a good diet. Foods with corn, wheat, soy and other unnecessary grains can cause many problems in dogs. But especially the GSD because they have sensitive digestive tracts and skins. She still needs to be fed a food formulated for puppies though.

      As for the gulcosamine, I’d stop giving this now because it’s done the work you needed it to do.

  • Zouaidi Cirine

    I have a 2 months old german shepherd whose’ ears are very floppy. They haven’t come up until now and even when I whistle, I can’t figure out the reason. His mother lives with us, sure he does play with her all the time. Can the playing be a problem ? I don’t know what to do?

    • Hi Zouaidi!

      At 2 months your pup still has a lot of growing to do. You have nothing to worry about now if his ears are still floppy. I suggest just letting them be. Yes, playing can be a problem if there’s rough play that involves pulling and biting ears. But that’s usually only between puppies and litter mates. It’s not likely that his mom will pull at his ears. But if she does, then you will need to supervise all play.

      I think you can relax about his ears.

  • Pam

    I have a female GSD that will be 6 months old on January 11th and she weighs about 45 lbs. Her right ear has been standing up for a month but her left ear is still flopped over and never stands up. She has lost all her puppy teeth and her adult teeth are almost all the way thru. Should I do something to help the left ear stand up?

    • Hi Pam!

      If the ear has never shown any signs of perking up, you could consider helping that left ear along. It’s generally the rule of thumb that by 6 to 7 months both ears should be upright or at least almost there.

      But, I do encourage you to read the feedback from a reader that I included in the post above. They had great success with taping their German Shepherd’s ear well after the 6 to 7 month period.

  • Kristen

    Hi thanks for the great advice. Woke up this morning and found my 11 week old pup’s ears are suddenly droopy. They had been quite erect for the last 2 weeks so I’m hoping they go back for her. My only concern is that it’s really bothering her. She hasn’t stopped shaking her head like she’s trying to get them to go back (super cute haha).
    After reading all your comments I’m just a little worried she might cause some damage to them, is that possible?
    Thanks
    Kristen

    • Hi Kristen,

      It’s totally normal for GSD pup to have ears that see-saw, even if they’re as old as 6 months. But, because you’ve mentioned that she has been shaking her head, I recommend visiting a vet. Dogs usually shake their ears when they have an ear infection. I’m not saying it is an infection and I’m not trying to freak you out. But it’s best you have it checked out by a vet. An untreated ear infection can cause lasting damage if it’s not treated. If it’s not an infection you can rest assured they will perk up again.

      I hope this helps.

  • Vicki

    We adopted Gibbs at 4 months. At that time his left ear was up and the right was drooping at the tip, about the last 3/4″
    He’ll be 6 months on February 17th. Both ears now droop about the top 3/4.” The left went down after He got his vaccinations about a month ago and hasn’t gone back up.
    I think he is done teething. They all look like adult teeth but some are maybe not in all the way. Any advice?

    • Hey Vicki!

      Ears are tricky things!

      So, it is normal for ears to droop after things like vaccinations. Also, if his ears were up before that’s a very good sign, even if they still drooped the last 1/4. The chances are almost 100% that they will perk up again.

      Also, some pups take longer to complete their teething than others. 6 months is just the base line to work from. And if you’re seeing that some of his teeth are not all the way out yet, then he’s still teething.

      I recommend giving him lots of opportunities to chew, chew and chew some more. This is so good for the jaw and head muscles which really helps with teething which in turn helps those ears.

      If you’re looking for some great chew toys, here’s a review I wrote on some of the best chew toys for German Shepherds.

      My personal favorites and the ones I raised my pups on are the Rogz da bones, any of the West paw zogoflex and also the JW Good Cuz and Bad Cuz. Check them out to see if any of them look interesting.

      I hope this helps. Let me know how the ears get on.

      Chat soon.
      Rosemary

  • Golan tamir

    Greetings,
    I need help. I have a German Shepherd, 5 months. His ears are hairy and fall.
    Today is one of his ears bitten by another dog and was bleeding.
    Is there a chance that caused irreparable damage to the ear or she will recover?
    I’d appreciate an answer as soon as possible

    • Hi Golan,

      It’s difficult for me to tell whether the bite will cause permanent damage to your pup’s ear. The best advice I can give to to take him to a vet for a professional opinion.

  • Sharon

    Hi my puppy is 10 weeks old and one of his ears kind looks twisted and is down has not gone up yet. I think the puppies brothers and sisters might have damaged it when they play and bight each other. How can I tell if there damaged or of they just need more time?

    • Hi Sharon!

      Their ears do look twisty sometimes. I wouldn’t worry about it. And at 10 weeks those ears still have plenty of developing to do. :)

    • Jen

      Sharon,

      How old is your GSD now? I was wondering how the twisted ear looks now. I have a 6 month old that has a twisted ear and I am wondering if I need to wait a little longer or do something about it now… he always had one that was standing straight up and one that was as you describe, kinda twisted!

      Thanks

  • Jen

    Hi,

    I have a male GSD that will be 6 months tomorrow! He is pretty much done teething, just one dead tooth that needs to come out (vet saw it and said I could wait to see if it comes out). My question is, he has one ear that has always stood up perfectly, since he was very young and another that always seemed weaker. Now I’m wondering if the weaker ear needs some help or if I should wait a little longer to see if it stands properly. When he sees something interesting both ears stand up, just the one dips in on the inside. The tip is good, just seems less stable on the left side of the right ear. Any advice would be appreciated! He is just our family pet but it’s a big male (over 26kg already!) and I want him to look good!!

    • Hi Jen,

      Sorry for my late reply, I just got back from vacation.

      The final decision lies with you but I’d give him another few weeks and if the ear is still floppy, I’d do some ear taping. Also, give him plenty to chew on.

      If you haven’t already, check out the cool update in this article from Roger. He’s a reader here at German Shepherd Corner and he had amazing success with taping his dog’s ears.

      Let me know how you get on. :)

      • Jennifer

        Hi Rosemary,

        Thank you for the feedback. I will give Teddy a few more weeks and see what happens as you suggest. In the meantime all his baby teeth are out, including the grey one, and he has a few new toys to chew! I read the article by Roger, it’s very interesting! I hope I don’t have to tape but it’s good to know it may work if nature doesn’t sort his ear out!!

        Greetings :)

        • Hi Jennifer,

          Keep me updated, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

          Speak soon,
          Rosemary

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