Gluing Terrier Ears
Since I created this page, a professional has created an excellent YouTube video, Gluing Terrier Ears , which may be even more helpful to you. However, I think our "old pages" still have something to offer since they are NOT video and allow you to look at the examples at your leisure.
First, let me say that I am not an expert at gluing ears but it is such an important thing to me that I do seek out help from more experienced people when it is time to do it. I am creating this page in answer to the many owners of pet/companion dogs who ask me what to do about the ears on their dogs that are sticking straight up. Often, they have never been told about gluing ears, particularly when the puppy is teething. While I haven't found a site on the Internet yet that shows Wires getting their ears glued, there are sites for other breeds which are similar.
Let's take a look at some pictures of my dogs whose ears were glued just to give you a reference point. If you were showing your dog, the judge would want to see the tips of each ear touching the forehead.
Picture 1- 2: Promise had her ears glued before she came to
me at six months. Since she came to me from the famous Ric Chashoudian, I know
her ears had been set well.
Her ears still looked like this at age 6 years.
Picture 3-5: Puppy Phoenix at 12 weeks, about 5 or 6 months and 12 months. Phoenix had her ears glued when she began losing her teeth. Once a crease was "set," we left the hair long on her ears and "weighted" her ears by applying glue to the inside of the flap and applying iron filings to keep them tipped over. That is what is shown in the second picture. Collies often have this done. This is more of a European look and just personal preference but I have come to like it. It is important to have a good crease set before weighting or the crease can be pulled out. Our weighting material comes from Shadow Hill Shelties ( http://www.shadowhillshelties.com/handling.html ). They have a good ear softening product too.
Picture 6 -8: Here's Bing at about 5 or 6 months old and then 8 months old in the last picture. His ears looked very good but we still glued them when he began teething. He only needed his glued about 3 times. We usually glue ears for 3 weeks and then leave them unglued for 3 days in a rotation over several weeks. During the days the ears are not glued, we clean them thoroughly and check for infection.
Breeders have different favorite glues but many still use Val-A-Tear Mender, a fabric and leather repair glue. Ace Hardware stores carry it or you can find it at fabric stores or you can order it over the Internet at http://www.tearmender.com. I used it for many years but while it held the ears in place, it was very difficult to remove. Today, I personally would use it only as a last resort. For several years now, we have used a product called Copydex which is not sold in the US. It is a white "library" adhesive which comes off much easier. You can find it on Amazon or Ebay from sources in the U.K. or Australia. Keep in mind that once you open it, Copydex has a limited shelf life, so ordering more than one bottle at a time is the way to go, especially since you will be paying for shipping from abroad.
One warning though: If you want the ears to have the best chance of turning out well, try to find an experienced person to help you. Some ears can be tricky and if you don't know what you are doing, they can turn out worse than if you had left them alone. Gluing of the ear may be different depending on its size, thickness and natural placement on the head.
See our "Step-By-Step" Photos here:
One thing that my good friend, Pam, taught me was to wrap a strip of duct tape around the puppy's head, over the tips of the glued ears and down under the puppy's jaw. It looks like those old photos of someone with a toothache! We left the tape on for a couple hours and it protected the ears from any scratching the pup might do. After a few hours, the pup would get used to the feel and generally would leave the ears alone when the tape was removed. You will see the a picture of that on the link above.
Time To Get The Glue Off
Like most things in life, there is never just one way to do things. However, I'll share my favorite ways to get glue OFF the ears. You need to have the right tools on hand because one or both ears may come unglued before you are ready. Leaving the glue on an ear that is no longer tacked down may pull out the fold you've been working so hard to set.
I have tried different products to help dissolve the glue before starting to get it off the pup's ears and head. The one that works best for me is Uni-Solve, a medical colostomy glue remover. Since it is made for humans, it is also gentle for puppies. I buy it at a medical supply store, but you can order it online as well. This is, by far, my product of choice for removing the glue. Just be care to keep this and all products away from the puppy's eyes.
If you do not have access to Uni-Solve, Avon Skin So Soft is my "next best" recommendation. It is oil based and if applied liberally and left to sit for an hour, does make the job less stressful for pup and owner. A little bonus is that it has a nice fragrance too. After the Skin So Soft has had a chance to sit, I use my fingers, a stripping knife and comb to gently pull it away from the puppy's ears. Even with careful removal, you are likely to have hair come off and there may be some tender spots on the puppy's head. If a lot of hair comes off, you will have to wait until some more hair comes in before re-gluing as you do not want to apply glue directly to the puppy's skin.
So What If the Ears Are Not Glued?
Well, if you're lucky, the ears might be absolutely fine. However, odds are against that. While some pups have perfect ears and may not need gluing, you can see from the pictures below, various things can happen. The ears may fold, but not all the way. They may hang down like a hounds do. One or both ears may stand straight up. If this doesn't bother you and you don't want to go through weeks or even months of gluing, then you need not do anything.
Some folks think it is really cute. In fact, there is an Ear Club page on the Fox Terrier network site. Take a look: http://www.foxterrier.com/earclub/
Help! I Want To Glue My Pup's Ears
But Have No One To Help Me!
If you really have no other option and want to try setting your Wire's ears on your own, here are the sites that may be helpful to you, in addition to the one at the top of the page.
This one is illustrated with pictures of a Wire pup.
This is a wonderful site which shows photos of each step,
Airedale ears are not done exactly like Wire ears should be.
Irish Terrier Community
The ear set for the Irish may be different, but the diagrams showing "How To" are good.
http://www.irishterriers.com/welcome.htm?eartrain.htm until more grows in before re-gluing.