The Process of Gluing Sheltie Ears

    There are a number of different ways to "train" sheltie puppies' ears to have the correct position and carriage as adult dogs. We have tried several different methods during our over 28-year involvement with the breed.  The method described and illustrated below is the one we currently use and is the one with which we have had the best results.  We glue and cross-brace our sheltie puppies' ears beginning at age 8 weeks and keep them glued as long as we feel it is necessary. Usually this is until at least age 6-months, but it can be considerably longer.  The cross-bracing period varies from puppy to puppy, although puppies from the same litter usually have similar requirements.

    Taping and bracing a sheltie puppy's ears does two things.  Taping the ear over helps keep its natural "break" (the place where the ear bends forward) flexible so that the ear cartilage does not become straight and stiff.  Secondly, cross-bracing or connecting the ears together encourages the puppy to hold his ears high on top of his head. He will use the muscles on top of his head to pull his ears together to take the tension off of the brace. This strengthens these muscles and increases the likelihood that he will carry his ears properly as an adult.

 

Step 1: You will need to obtain the following materials, most of which can be found on Amazon.com.

    1. Moleskin: Suitable brands are Johnson & Johnson (Band-Aid) or Dr. Scholl's.  It is most economical to purchase moleskin in 12" wide rolls as opposed to small, pre-cut sheets. Small, pre-packaged sheets of Dr. Scholl's brand "Moleskin Plus" can be found in most drugstores.
    2. Adhesive Remover:  We use Unisolve or Detachol to remove the ear tapes and braces and to disolve the adhesive.  We follow up with Zo-Eze solvent to completely clean the ear leather prior to taping.  Zo-Eze works effectively to remove the excess oils from the ear, yet at the same time it does not seem to irritate the puppy's skin.  Alcohol can be used as well which can be found in most drug stores.
    3. Surgical Adhesive: Torbot Surgical Adhesive 

      Every few weeks I take all of the glue out of the ears and let them do their thing. 

      They make look perfect at this time but given 24 to 48 hours the ears will take their true form. 

      This process gives you a better idea of the progress you are making. 

      For a show puppy I will glue the ears from ten weeks until about a year old to get the perfect set.

     

    Step 2:
    Create the pattern for the brace out of paper or light cardboard. The crossbrace piece is shaped roughly like a shallow inverted "U" and the "dots" that anchor to the base of the ear are oval-shaped. The size of these pieces will increase proportionally as the puppy grows larger. For a 7-1/2 week old puppy, the crossbrace should measure about 3-1/2 inches across and the dots should be about 3/4-inch ovals. The photo shows two sets of patterns. The upper pattern is for a young puppy; the lower pattern is for about a 10 to 12 week old puppy.  

     
    Step 3:Using the patterns, cut out one crossbrace and four dots from the moleskin.
    The moleskin cut-outs

     

    Step 4:

    Peel the backing from one of the moleskin dots, apply adhesive to the sticky side, then glue it to the fuzzy side of another dot. You will end up with two moleskin dot "sandwiches" - the top side will be the fuzzy side; the bottom will be the side with the peel-off backing. The fuzzy side will always be the "top" (facing up) as you build these two dot sandwiches.

    Hint: Be sure to shake the bottle of adhesive well before applying it. After brushing it on, allow it to become slightly tacky (wait about a minute) prior to pressing the glued surfaces together.

    Gluing the dots

     
    Step 5:Peel the backing away from the ends of the crossbrace, but do not completely remove the entire backing. Fold it away from the short ends of the crossbrace and trim it off at the fold, leaving the adhesive exposed only on the ends of the crossbrace. Apply adhesive to the these sticky areas, then glue the fuzzy side of the dot sandwiches to them. Assembling the brace