Here in the USA we still have the option of cropping ears on our Beaucerons, at least for the time being. However, there is more to it than just the cropping of the ears to ensure that they stand properly. You must be diligent with the aftercare or you can end up with a mess, ears that flop over like a hound or that fold over on top of the dog’s head totally spoiling the “look”. The following is a method that has worked well for me over the years.
Preparing the Supports
I use Tampax™ brand tampons with the cardboard applicator (not the pearl). I have tried off-brands with cardboard applicators but the Tampax™ ones are stronger.
First tape the two halves together so they don’t slip and eject the cotton piece.
Cover the tampon with white medical adhesive tape (I use Zonas made by Johnson and Johnson), sticky side out. To do this start at the cotton end, sticky side down. Make one wrap being sure to get the cotton too but leave some of the cotton exposed.
After the first wrap twist the tape so that the sticky side is out and wrap the tampon overlapping the tape slightly until the tampon is covered.
Supporting the Ears
Place the wrapped tampon firmly in the ear and gently stretch the ear up on the tampon.
Gently squeeze the ear around the tampon to stick it to the tape previously applied.
Wrap precut strips of the tape gently around the ear to secure the tampon to the ear. Start by sticking the end of the tape to the tampon and wrap toward the center of the head.
Wrap the tape around the ear, overlapping slightly as you progress towards the tip.
It is very important that the tape not be wrapped too tightly as circulation can be cut off; this can cause permanent damage to the ears.
This applies to any type of wrapped support regardless of splinting media.
At this point, I usually cut the tip of the tampon so that it is slightly longer than the ear.
This puppy’s ears are longer than the tampons so that wasn’t an option.
Repeat the process for the other ear.
Tape a bridge between the ears to splint them together for stability. Start in the front and tape around to the back.
Try to keep the puppy from getting the dressings wet as this can cause infection. (I say try. We all know Beauceron puppies swim in their water dishes and play in the rain.) This applies to any sort of ear supports.
Check frequently for signs of infection. Smell the dressings: If they have a foul odor they need to be changed.
I try to leave these supports on for a week or so before changing.
To remove the tape without traumatizing the puppy apply some sort of adhesive remover to the tape. I have found that a paper towel soaked in ether, applied to the outside of the dressing, will cause the adhesive to dissolve. This makes removing the tape much easier and spares the puppy the trauma of having tape pulled off.
In California, one cannot purchase liquid ether, but aerosol engine starting fluid is the same thing. You can also use it to get the goo off your hands. Be aware that it will sting open wounds so if the ear crop is still fresh try not to get it on the incision site.
I have tried some very expensive human grade adhesive removers and they either do not work or it takes twenty dollars’ worth of product to do the job and they sting, too.