Toby has been doing really great with most things grooming-related (especially with his paws, he is a champ at letting me do whatever!) but he absolutely HATES having his ears touched. 

He definitely has hair way down his canal like a poodle so I've been at least wiping his ear out with ear cleaning solution every few weeks and trying to pull a little hair here and there... he absolutely FREAKS out and starts getting very bitey (and he is biting hard!).  I don't want to push it too much because I don't want him to have a lifelong fear of ear maintenance but at the same time I really need to be able to do his ears.  

Any hot tips for dogs with sensitive ears?  Just stick my hands in his ears every day and feed him treats? :p  Riley is a bit sensitive about her ears too but she doesn't have hair down the canal so I am ok with just wiping hers out.


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  • They (whoever THEY are) suggest that you get him really tired before tackling any more difficult problem.  We got Clancy as a two year old, but it has always been, very difficult to mess with his ears, so I feel your pain.  Luckily for us, he doesn't grow hair in his ears and the few ear infections he has had have been treating by the vet with a time release medication.  I hope others chime in with positive ideas for you.

    • It doesn't seem to matter how tired he is!  I usually do our daily grooming in the evening after a hard play session.  

      Adina sent me some videos to check out so I'll see if I can pick up some tips there.  It will probably just come down to going very slowly and carefully so that he trusts the process.

  • I have had doodles for 13 years now.  I find that an occasional squirt of "swim ear" or similar ( for people and basically really clean alcohol) is all my hairy eared doodles need.  My professional groomer also agrees "do not mess with outer ear canal unless clearly necessasary"  So after swimming or water play I use swim ear and after romps in tall grasses etc I just had pick out any obvious debris.  I think the jury of ear hair pulling is tied between necessary and not necessary.


    • We asked our vet about it when Riley was a puppy and they basically said that unless they get hair WAY down the ear canal and it gets really compacted they don't generally need it. 

      I do still want him to be ok with me messing in his ears either way, if he ever started getting recurring infections and I had no choice to start plucking I'd be kicking myself for not doing the training now.  He's already quite reactive to it so I want to make sure it doesn't get worse. 

      I do know that Toby's hair grows pretty densely in there and it collects dirt really easily, so at minimum I'd like to be able to do a bit of "thinning" so it makes it easier to wipe out his ears.

      • Are you using a hemostat? That's the way the "pros" remove the ear hair, done correctly it doesn't hurt. 
        I've lived with Poodles for 31 years now, and the hair must be removed from the ear canals. No ifs ands or buts about it. With doodles, it depends. Jack had a straight thin shedding coat and never needed it. Never got an ear infection either. The one thing he was blessed with genetically was wide open ear canals. But I think the non-shedding Poodle-y coated doodles definitely do need it. 
        This is what was removed from the ears of an ALD who was adopted from DRC by a DK member many years ago. Just to illustrate exactly what we are dealing with here and why it does need removing in non-shedding dogs. 

        • Yes I've been using a hemostat and twisting the hair out and been trying to be very careful to only get the hair inside the canal... I don't know maybe I hurt him one time and that's causing the setback.  Right now he gets really mad if he's on the grooming table and I peek into his ear (tries really hard to bite me) so I'm just working on being able to handle him safely.  He does tolerate the wiping out with ear cleaning solution at least once he figures out I'm not pulling anything.  He lets me peek inside his ears a bit when he's not at the grooming table but not to the extent I would need to for safe plucking.

          Anyway the way his ear hair is I'm pretty conviced it does need pulling.  It's very different from Riley's (more dense, goes way down there) and I can see how it would collect a lot more dirt/moisture.

          • All I can suggest is to use some really high value treats that he only gets when it's ear checking/cleaning time, something like freeze-dried lamb lung, and maybe a second person treating him while you're handling him.

            • He has a bag of freeze dried chicken that he LOVES and it's only for grooming time (he loves it so much he tries to find every crumb on the table).  Distraction doesn't work too well he is too wily for that, he will happily ignore treats if I'm doing something "shady" in his estimation :p  Stubborn little thing.  Might work better with a second pair of hands though you are right!

        • All of this makes sense but there is still a lot of debate about it.  My breeder, who is a groomer, does not pull hair unless there is a problem.  Others swear by it.  Milo had an ear infection early on but has not had one since.

          • Yes some say that pulling irritates things/causes small amounts of damage and can actually increase infection risk.  I think I'm going to try to take a "middle of the road" approach and try to keep good airflow but not be fussy about there still being hair in there.  Just pull enough to make sure I can clean well.

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