Ears can make or break a dog. Proper taping is as important as a pretty and long crop. After all, the whole idea is to make them stand up properly, and cropping won’t do that. When the ears are completely healed, use the following methods of taping. The ear should remain taped until it outgrows the splint, or until the adhesive dries and loosens in up to 10 days. Before retaping, be sure to clean the ear thoroughly and check for any infection or wound. There are numerous methods to use and the following method, used by Mary Anne Zanetos, is what worked best for my dogs. It has some advantages over others in that the base of the ears remain open to the air and a very small amount of tape is used. This tends to minimize soreness.

It is best to assemble your supplies and make the apparatus first, before getting the puppy. You will need the following:

Roll of 1 inch wide WATERPROOF Zonas adhesive tape (Johnson & Johnson)
2 industrial sized plastic tie wraps, 6-8 inches long
2 sheets of paper towel (Viva soft paper towels ONLY)
Gold Bond powder
Perma-Bond surgical adhesive (medical supply store)
very sharp knife or razor blade
pipe insulation (Lowes or Home Depot)
adhesive remover (Duck Gone - Target)

I am now selling ear taping supplies by the box. You will receive the following:

1 complete sample ear stay
1 complete foam taped bridge
6 rolls Zonas tape
1 4 oz. can Permabond surgical adhesive
10 industrial sized tie wraps (you will reuse these and change as the ears get longer)
1 roll Viva papertowels
2 small bottles Gold Bond powder
1 Duck Gone glue remover bottle
1 DVD with full ear taping instructions

The price is $75 plus shipping and I will ship all over the world. This box should last you throughout the puppy's taping lifetime, or at least 4 months. Please contact me for more information.


Measure the distance from the "knob" at the base of the inside of ear to tip of ear, being sure to stretch the ear while measuring. Add 1/4". Cut each of 2 stays to this length.

Next, measure 2" longer than the stay and cut 2 pieces of Zonas tape. Lay one piece flat on counter with sticky side face up. Position stay in center, lengthwise, leaving 1" of tape at both ends of stay. Lay second piece of tape, directly over this, sticky side up. Press together. Repeat for the other stay.



TAPE SET-UP: Cut four, 5-inch strips of Zonas tape. Cut two, 2 1/2" strips of Zonas tape. Cut one 10" strip of Zonas tape. The picture below does not include some pieces of tape, but is just to demonstrate how to lay your tape out.

Tape Set Up


Use 1 sheet of paper towel per ear. Fold lengthwise, and repeat until you have a strip 1 1/2" wide by 12" long. Roll up very tightly, pressing down while rolling, like rolling up a sleeping bag. If needed, trim slightly so that the paper towel cylinder is about 1" in diameter and 1 1/2" long. Get one of the 5" pieces of adhesive tape. Roll the tape around the cylinder to secure it, sticky side out. Be very careful not to let the cylinder loosen as you wrap the tape around it. Repeat with the second cylinder.

Attach the paper towel to the stay part. This involves placing the sticky side of the tape containing the stay onto the sticky side of the tape which has been wrapped around the papertowel cylinder. Then fold the part containing the stay back over itself. You can tell if this is right because the part containing the stay (which will stick to the skin side of the ear) and the cyliner will both be sticky side out. Wrap the third 5" piece of tape sticky side out, around the base of the cylinder, enclosing both the cylinder and stay part inside the tape. Repeat these same steps for the other side using the fourth 5" piece of tape.

Pre-Cut Posts


Now, get a very sharp knife or razor blade. Cut just below the stay to the middle of the paper towel and then cut in, to cut a "knotch" out of the paper towel. This knotch will sit just on top of the knob inside of the ear. Without the knotch, your stay will not fit right.

Knotch-Cut Posts


Cut a 14" piece of Zonas tape. Also, cut three 3" pieces of this tape. Use a tape wrapped piece of pipe insulation or pool noodle that is perfectly measured to go between ears so that ears stand straight up. See final pictures to show how to attach the bridge to the apparatus.


Now get the puppy.

Be sure ears are thoroughly cleaned with alcohol or ear solution and completely dry. Have a helper sit in a chair holding the puppy facing you. Heavily apply Gold Bond to the outside of the puppies ears from top to bottom.

Apply Perma-Bond to bottom of paper towel all the way up to tip of apparatus on the sticky side. Use a thin coat and make sure to get the entire sticky side covered. Allow to dry 30 seconds.

Grab ear near the base and bend outward slightly, exposing the knob on the skin side of the ear. Position paper towel so that the bottom rests tightly against the knob, like sitting on a shelf. Holding the base of the ear against the paper towel part, gently stretch the rest of the ear along the cut edge. Position the upper part of the stay apparatus so that the tip of the ear is entirely within the tape. Then, bend the 1" portion of the tape (not containing the boning) down and over the hair side of the ear.

Secure this with one of the 2 1/2" pieces of tape, placing the top edge of the tape even with the top of the ear apparatus. NOTE: Make sure the tip of the ear is enclosed in the tape and that the stay inside is at least as long as the tip of the ear, preferably about 1/8" longer. Ear tips which stretch too much because they are not secured properly will cause floppy tips later, so be very careful with this.

Next, holding the cylinder part against the knob, take one of the 10-12" pieces of tape and attach the tape to the cylinder, even with the bottom of the cylinder. Pull upward slightly, stretching the ear upward as you go around the base of the ear. Wrap towards the natural fold of the ear so that the fold naturally bends backwards on to the ear (hair to hair).

Wrap around the base of the ear, even with the bottom of the cylinder 2 full times, trimming any excess. Tape firmly but not tight. If you see swelling above/below the tape, remove immediately and retape looser. Repeat same procedure for other ear.

Posts on Ears

To attach the "bridge":

Have someone hold the pre-made "bridge" perfectly between the ears. Wrap 14" long piece of tape around the ear and onto the bridge and the all the way around the bridge coming back to the start. Use one 3" piece all the way against the ear and wrap around the bridge to make it stay. Do the same on the other side and wrap 1 around the middle of the stay. See picture below:

Ears with Brace


Posts on puppy

Posts on puppy

Posts on puppy

This next picture is what can happen if you don't use a proper bridge in the middle. This does not happen to all puppies, but it happened to mine and that's why I created my type of "bridge". This is not pretty when your puppy is older, so get control of it very early.

Tenting Ears


Check daily for signs of redness, swelling or odor. Remove right away if you observe any of these. Unless tape becomes wet or soiled, ears can remain taped up for up to 10 days or so. If the tapes have loosened or the stay inside it bent or broken, take downs ears immediately. Dogs can do serious damage trying to remove loose tapes themselves.

Always use Duck Gone to loosen adhesive before removing. Let ears rest for at least a few hours before retaping. Leave ears untaped as long as they are standing with no drooping at the tips. As soon as the tips begin to flip, re-tape unless soreness or oozing is present. As the dog's ears make progress, the intervals where the ears are untaped will get longer and longer.

Continue taping until the dog is done teething (6 months or so) even if ears appear to be standing well. Many will require taping until closer to a year, depending on the length of ear and the ear texture. Most ear problems can be traced to leaving the ears untaped too long between tapings or discontinuing taping before the tips are set. Remember, ear cartilage hardens very gradually, beginning with the part closest to the head and working out toward to the tips. It is not unusual for the tips to take up to a year to harden completely, especially with a long crop. So, it is important not to give up too soon. Other methods such as edge taping may be more suitable for older dogs whose bases are up completely.

Please don't hesitate to ask either me or your breeder for advice on other taping methods if the above technique does not seem to be working for you.

SOURCES: Tape Talk - ShowDanes Yahoo Group
Mary Anne Zanetos - Rojon Great Danes
Raven - my wonderful experiment puppy!