ABOVE ALL, DON'T GIVE UP!!
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Another good website page on how to tape those ears!
Dr. Edwards is experienced in corrective taping as well as the surgical recropping and repair of problem ears.
And if you already have a dog with cropped ears and are having problems or need a relieble Dr to help with ear cropping, please visit this site:
All About Ear Cropping

The Procedure
The operation requires anesthesia and the puppy must be fasted for approximately 12 hours prior to surgery. Most often, this surgery is performed by someone who specializes in the cropping of ears.
Although the actual procedure does require the puppy to be anesthetized, it may lessen your fears about cropping to know that the actual operation takes only 30 minutes and the puppy is under anesthesia for only that time as is required for the surgery. The very first thing your puppy did after being cropped was to eat- which shows you how much the whole procedure actually bothers a young puppy!!
For the first 7 days after ear cropping, your pup will remain in his rack (or cup) with sutures holding the edges closed. Between 7 and 10 days after cropping, the sutures will be removed.

An Art
Ear Cropping is an "art" Not all veterinarians do such a great job, even though it is a surgical skill, some do them more as an artistic masterpiece than just routine surgery.
If you do not believe this is so, I would ask you to simply go and look and the many hundreds of other ear crop pictures on the intranet and notice the vast difference among the crops, within the Doberman breed.
If you look at many different ear crops from different Veterinarians you will notice that the less experienced tend to leave on too much "Bell" within the ear, the bell is the bottom part of the ear which basically bells out if too much is left on, the bell does not serve a purpose and only looks "in the way of sticking out" and is not appealing to most especially the Doberman show crowd and Judges, who prefer the sleeker more tapered and even look of the ears. Too much removed and not enough removed, both are not a good thing. Some Veterinarians crop free hand, without a "Mold" and some use the standard ear crop molds, which are clamped onto the ears and trimmed around for a standard cookie cutter crop.The ears should taper nicely, and cleanly, and also should "Match" the head and the size of the Doberman as well.

Cropping of ears is done at around 6-12 weeks of age
EARS CROPPED AFTER 12 WEEKS DO NOT NORMALY STAND!
Our Veterinarian prefers to do the ears at 6 weeks old as do I, It allows much faster healing and the puppies seem to not mind it nearly as much as the older ones do. The ears also seem to come up much quicker than when they are cropped later, thus down longer.

Size Matters
Short
The Working "Shortest" Crop

The Working Crop "Often referred to as the Military crop"  this crop is used for dogs that will be in the working fields, and do not need the extra ear to become torn, or injured or in the way, the dog has a sleeker look and ears are not as prone to injuries while working .This is the most common crop used for active Patrol and police type dogs, sentry dogs and Schutzhund sport dogs. These crops take nearly nothing to train to stand on their own, unlike the longer crops.

This is the shortest crop of the three types most commonly used.
Size of the ear crop in length is done for various reasons, The shortest crop, is for a working dog, as the original ear crops where done so that the Doberman could do protection work and have NO "handles" for the "Bad guys" to grab, such as ears and tails, a dog that does work in protection and other fields of work are cropped shorter for the ears protection. The short ear normally is the fastest to stand, with less ear to "Train up" it is normally up at first to fourth taping session.
Medium

The standard ear crop
The standard ear crop is used for the companion and pet quality pups, it is easier than the long show crop to train to stand normaly, and the longer ears are not nessarry if there will be no breed ring shows.

This crop is in-between the show and the working crop.(medium crop)

There are many variations in the crops, lengths are also based on the size of the ear before cropping, and the shape and size of the ear, as well as the shape and size of the puppy's head at ear cropping time.rop is used for the companion and pet quality pups, it is easier than the long show crop to train to stand normaly, and the longer ears are not nessarry if there will be no breed ring shows.

This crop is in-between the show and the working crop.(medium crop)

There are many variations in the crops, lengths are also based on the size of the ear before cropping, and the shape and size of the ear, as well as the shape and size of the puppy's head at ear cropping time.


The medium ear crop is more versatile, it is used for the companion dogs overall, when the ear does not look the best too short as in the working crop, and some elegance is desired by leaving a little more length yet not compromising the swifter ability to stand without  repeated tapings and postings for the "Novice companion owner
The longest crop is primarily used for the show ring, where a great deal of elegance is needed to intensify a nice head. These ears are the hardest to train for standing and do require patients and it is not uncommon to post and tape these ears for several months, Occasionally  we are lucky and can get them to stand quickly with only a few postings, but this is not the normal rule.

Other crop definitions

"Show" crops. These crops are very long and tall. Take the longest time to get them to "stand" Also has the highest failure rate in the types of cropping. Cartilage of the ear must be examined carefully before this type of cropping is performed.
• "Utility" crops For general purposes or for agility, Schutzhund, or utility work. It is a stylish ear that usually comes out nice. It requires less work usually to get these ears to stand They have a much higher success rate in standing and not having a broken or droopy ear. This crop, just slightly longer, can easily be put on a dog to show also.
• "Short" or "Combat" crops. For the military. It was very much used in early breed history when Dobermans were used exclusively in military or protection roles. For working dogs and some K-9 corps. The original purpose is so that the assailant would have nothing to hold or grab onto when the dog attacks.

• Today un-cropped ears are gaining popularity and the humane way to treat a dog. It is now being accepted in shows, and many uncropped ears are winning!

Our success rate with "OUR" puppies

We have been blessed to have the same Veterinarian for many years, Our Veterinarian does the ear crops "Freehand" thus is able to custom match the crop with the size and placement and structure of the puppy's head, as well as accommodate the lengths for us , working, companion, and show crops.
Our success rate here  with the ears standing are about 98% on the long show crops, and 99% to 100% on the other two types. Most if not all failures are operator (Owner) errors, meaning in simple terms, they where
1.) NOT taped long enough
2.) They where incorrectly taped
3.) The ear cartilage was damaged (torn)
4.) The ears where cropped beyond the twelve week age limit

Our lines,  normally carry good strong and thick ear cartilage, while some lines are faulted with weak and thin ear cartilage that could never stand no matter what was done or how they are cropped, though this is pretty uncommon now, but can and does occasionally occur. A good Vet will examine the ears prior to cropping and if they "Know their stuff" will tell you it is a waste to crop if the cartilage is not sufficient to hold the ears up!
BAD CROPS!

One reason why we do not place our puppies uncropped is because all Vets are NOT equal at cropping ears !  The last LeGard Puppy that we placed (To later be cropped by their own Vet) uncropped many years ago horrified me when I saw the poor pups pictures a few months later with ears that looked like  they where cut straight across like a bull dogs ears. (I do place pups uncropped to homes that plan to leave them as "Natural ears").

Ear Posting How to's

I have been "Posting" ears now for about 30 + years, so it takes me an average of 5 minutes or less to post a pups ears, while the novice person the first few times it might take 15- 20 minutes.  Trust me, it gets easier the longer you do them.
The methods are many, The best and the worst are listed here, I have used them all!
My favorite is listed on this great page, the same method I have used for many years !
http://dobermanpages.com/taping.htm
(Complete with pictures!)
Another good site is a Great dane breeders site here
I find it easier to use a folded and then ROLLED PAPER TOWEL in place of the tampons, it makes it easier to adjust the LENGHT on smaller or larger pups. A good friend who has got two Dobies from us, say's he places a large (McDonalds type) straw right in the middle of his rolled papertowel for air circulation inside the ear, smart, I have done this and it does work better.

The WORST method I have ever tired is the "WIRE BRACE" My Dobermans tore it off in a record 5 seconds after all the gluing and mess, not to mention the expense of the special ordered sets.

Our own Vet uses the "Wolfe rack" right after surgery, it keeps the ears open and allows the sutures to breath. The Wolfe rack will fall of in about one week.

A veterinarians point of view on cropping VS. ANTI- Cropping
(Interesting point of view as well as some nice crop comparison photos)
West End Animal Hospital

Another link to be sure to read from is here
How Long to tape those ears - PLUS Ear Posting tips!


This must continue, FAITHFULLY, UP TO UNTIL THE PUP IS APPROXIMATELY 6 MONTHS OF AGE. I know this may seem like forever............but, in actuality it is only a small portion of this dogs life, and if you want properly erect ears it is necessary that you be diligent. The ears must be cleaned every three days, and the tapes changed at this time. Allow the ears to remain out of tape only for that time required to dry out the ear canal from the cleaning process.....overnight is quite enough. When your pup is 3 to 4 months old you may notice that the ears are standing during this overnight wait and be tempted to put off re-taping till the next day. DO NOT WAIT!!! Your pup is still teething and if those ears fall you will have wasted all you time and end up having to keep the pups ears taped until it is 8 or 9 months of age. BE PATIENT, BE CONSISTENT, AND TRUST ME. I have taped hundreds of ears in the past 30 plus years following this method and have had 100% success!!
I recommend using Peroxide to clean the edges and PREPARATION - H can be applied along the edges to sooth and help heal without scarring the tissues.
The plastic "wolfe rack"  shown HERE  should be left on until it normaly falls off in on it's own about a weeks time, the remaing glue can be peeled off and some will eventauly wear off with bathing.

Other ear posting methods used at LeGard is the "Wolfe Rack" shown here as the plastic looking ear peice.
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Natural Ears Left Uncropped
Butchered ears!
This is a uneven and too short crop with to much bell left.
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