How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

I need to flush my dog's ears. She was playing in the ocean today. And I suspect she is coming down with a yeast infection in her left ear.

I use the Blue Power solution with witch hazel for occasional flushing, and a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide for regular cleaning.

She is relatively OK with the cotton balls swabbing her ears. But trying to flush her ears is getting progressively hard, and today, I realize we have a big problem.

I have been using positive reinforcement, adopting marker-training daily with the squirt bottle, except I do not actually flush her ears. She was quite comfortable to the point I could insert the nub in her ear without her reacting much.

But today when we actually had to wash her ears, she put up a massive fight. It took us basically all day to poorly flush both ears. It was so stressful we had to split up treating either ears, one earliar in the day and the other was just done. It was to the point where she was trying to hide under furniture, refusing food bribes, moaning, and biting the bottle and mouthing my hand.

I know that she knows that I know she could give me a good bite if she wants to. And she didn't. She showed her teeth at the bottle, but would mouth my hand, and then immediately licked my fingers. She was showing amazing restraint, and I was very gentle in my words to her.

I have read previous posts, but her response is unlike the dogs described. I mean, she is seriously stressed out and fights very hard ... It pains me physically and emotionally to see her so traumatized. But it has to be done.

When the bribing did not work, we finally tried to wrap her in a blanket. It finally worked after a few tries, but at what cost? I want it to be less of a trial, can't see this going on and she is only 5 months old.

The clicker-training I have been using that was appearing to be progressive went right out the window.

Please advise.

I am feeling lost and dejected. Last week when we had to flush her ears, after the big fight, she sulked for a couple of hours. Today, she forgave us almost immediately, but she was a LOT more aggressive.

And my puppy is NOT an aggressive girl. We were really pushing her limits, and I am very grateful that she refrained from actually biting us.

~ a very frazzled Rei

Janka vom Grunenfeld, BH (d.o.b. 10/12/07)
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 02:00 AM
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

Sounds like the treatment is hurting her. Perhaps you need a different technique. How are you doing it? I used to have to do it a lot with Basu. I found the easiest way to fill a cap with the solution, toss it in his ear, hold the canal closed with a cotton ball while massaging the drum and then letting him shake it out and wiping out the excess.

Why do you have to clean her ears so often? Food? Environmental?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

I do it when she gets a bath, which is once a month, to prevent infection in case water gets in her ears. And after she has a romp in the ocean.

I had mentioned that I only occasionally flush her ears, but I do touch her ears often (comfortable with that) and go through the motions of flushing her ears using marker training (progressing well).

She started scratching her a couple of days ago, and I noticed that her left ear is a few shades pinkier than the other. I want to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes a full-blown yeast infection.

I use a squirt bottle for hair dye, as advised by others. I don't want the solution getting in her eyes.

And it's not just the neccessary ear cleaning that is required on occasion to keep her ears clean. I don't want the process to be a harried process when the time comes when medicating her ear is needed.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 04:30 AM
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

Oh my gosh-- may I ask, why do you bathe her once a month? If she does not have some sort of serious skin condition where you absolutely must give her medicated baths once a month-- you do not need to bathe her monthly. Maybe a once a year bath is plenty for a healthy GSD. They have a dry coat and skin and their natural oil balance gets disturbed by baths. Ocean water can irritate skin in her ears and all over. I lived by the ocean for years, my vet was always handling skin-and-ear cases.

She sounds like such a good girl that she may be truly hurting during the flushing process. Could it be that the way you are doing it could be simpler for both of you? Try this-- have her lay on her side. Slip nozzle in her ear quickly, gently-- and squirt the stuff in-- massage quickly-- then let her up to shake herself good. You are standing by with peanutbutter, a piece of cooked chicken, something reeeeeally high-value! But, as she is sucking on the goodie (still held in your hand before release) you swab the ear briefly. You can later in the day repeat this process with her laying on her other side, and do her other ear.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 08:47 AM
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

Here is a thread that gives you some good advice on how to work with the dog on ear cleaning. Most of my dogs have just been uncooperative not scared or freaked out, but in any of those cases you make the reward for you messing with the ears the best treat in the whold world.

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...page=2&fpart=1


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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 09:06 AM
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

Try taking her for a long walk first. the more tired she is, the less likely she'll have the energy to throw such a fight when your doing it.

Also when you give her a bath, put cotton balls in her ears to aviod getting water into the canal.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

She gets really dirty playing with other dogs, covered in drool and dirt. Puppies are like little kids in that they get dirty. So when she starts getting quite cruddy, and wet wash clothes don't cut it, I need to give her a bath.

I have tried having her lay on her side, but she just turns her head and fuss with the bottle, grumbles, and then walks away. I have offered all her manner of treats, and ways to get it done quickly and without fuss.

I have truly tried everything. Trust me. But she is INCREDIBLY smart. She is food driven, but when she saw the bottle, even she ignored her favourite roast beef cold cuts. This is the 3rd time we flush her ear, so we don't do it often at all ... only when I feel it's neccessary.

She was tired. That is why we decided to do it after we got home. But she was so adamant that we had to leave off the other ear for later. We had come back from playing at the beach, getting a bath, and then strolling around the village. I was mistaken that it would make it easier.

Also we don't take her to the beach often either. This is her third time there, and second time entering the ocean. I bath her after her romp to get sea water off her.

I also would't say she is scared. She just puts up a massive fight, and communicates to me she does not want her ears cleaned. She is OK when I use cotton balls to swab her ears, takes a while but she lets me do it grudgingly.

When I mean 'aggressive', she flashed her teeth when she sees the bottle and snaps at it. She bites the bottle, and since my hand is wrapped around it, her mouth basically encompasses my fingers. She is very gentle when she does it. I just worry she might accidently put more pressure.

But I must say, putting the cotton balls in her ear during her baths is quite a brilliant idea!

Thanks.

Janka vom Grunenfeld, BH (d.o.b. 10/12/07)
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 11:38 AM
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

I squirt cleaner or medicine in my males ears fairly often. I have had other dogs that tried that crap with me on ear cleaning and sorry but I will not tolerate it. I would work with the ears more often, maybe use a pinch collar, or maybe use set up a system of reward. I would use a program much like I do with dogs that don't like to have thei nails trimmed, you break down the event and you do this thraining when the dogs ears aren't sore.

I don't let my dogs decide what they will let me do to them, sorry I don't care if they like it or not, they don't get to decide. I am the leader and I decide what I do with their ears, feet, etc.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 11:41 AM
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

I know this sounds really weird but it might be worth a try... I heard someone say last week that they smear peanut butter on the handle of their refridgerator at their dog's nose height to keep them busy and standing still while they groom and clean ears. I have not tried it! Good luck! It almost sounds like there could be something like a cut or perforated ear drum that the cleaner is burning. If so I don't think peanut butter will work!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-07-2008, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to clean an uncoorperative dog's ears?

TNGSD,

I guess I could try that, but she is not easily coaxed. She is incredibly aware of what is going on.

Her ears are fine. She was just at the vet's on Saturday, and he looked at her ears. He told me to just use the Blue Power to see if the deep pink would subside.

Wisc. Tiger,

I work on her ears regularly. I had written in my original post that I do conditioning training with the squirt bottle, but just do not squirt the solution in her ear.

She is comfortable with me touching and stroking her ears, and allows me to use a cotton ball soaked with hydrogen peroxide to clean her ears. The only thing is, I can't get to the debris that is deeper in so it does need to be flushed on occasion.

My puppy has not be introduced to a pinch collar yet, and I don't think it's a good idea to use it the first time when she is getting her ear cleaned.

I had wanted to tether her yesterday, but the DH said that she might struggle so hard, something would break, especially her. So blanketing her seemed the best idea to avoid injury.

I have to start from Square One again, but she is scratching her ear and needs to be cleaned.

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