Socializing for Success
During a puppies socialization window, it is important to play with their ears (and toes) to get them ready for future grooming.
The socialization period for puppies is 4-14 weeks. This is when they are looking at the world determining what is safe and what isn’t. However, socialization can be an ongoing process in a dogs lifetime. It requires exposing them to a variety of situations that helps them build the confidence they need to succeed in social interactions. I am a big fan of using enticing food rewards. Dogs love to eat, they just need the right food to motivate them.
Introducing treats that are not commonly used in a pup’s routine helps them become hyper focused and they tend to work harder to earn that enticement.
External ear anatomy
Don’t worry though, any dog outside of the socialization period is not too old to learn these tricks. Start by touching and gently pressing on the tip of their ear (apex) and see how your pet responds. You want to reward with a treat anytime your dog doesn’t flip the f*** out and run away from you when this is happening. If they don’t like what you’re doing, stop and try again the next time they are cuddling you on the couch. Hold the apex in your hand *treat*, touch the cutaneous marginal pouch *treat*, rub the outside of the base of their ear *treat*.
We want to make experiences as positive as possible to prevent a terrified dog walking this Earth. Listen to your pet and never force a situation that they are not uncomfortable with.
Steps for Success
Once your pet is tolerating you playing with their ear, it is time to introduce an ear cleaner. I personally love to get my pet products from Chewy.com. They have veterinarians on staff who align their knowledge and views to the products that are being offered. Ear cleaning solutions are over-the-counter and you can also find them in most pet stores.
This is the one I use on my dog and cats
The directions on this bottle tell you to squirt the solution into your pets ear canal to break down buildup closer to their ear drum. I find that this is challenging for first-timers and recommend putting the ear cleansing solution on a cotton ball or gauze square. Then start gently rubbing the inside of the ear, getting every crevice you can. You want to use another cotton ball or dry gauze to wipe off the remaining solution left over and repeat on the other side.
NEVER use cotton tip applicators (Q-tips) in your dogs ears. There is a big risk of damaging their ear drum. Monitor your dogs ears for signs of swelling, redness, and funky smells.
Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns and/or questions about your dog’s ear health.