Being able to read your dog’s body language is a fun way to learn exactly what your dog is feeling. You can tell a lot about a German Shepherd’s emotional state from looking at their ears, eyes or their tail. Everyone is familiar with the association of a happy dog and a wagging tail but what about the other signs. There are several ways to tell what kind of mood you canine friend is in. This article will look at German Shepherd Ears Meaning and what specifically the different positions mean. This will give you a better understanding of your dog and what they are feeling.
The most common position of a German Shepherd’s ears is standing up and relaxed. This normally means that they are comfortable. Ears that are pricked forward signal that the German Shepherd is alert and possibly nervous or starting to get aggressive. Ears that are back can mean they are friendly if their tail is wagging. But it can also mean they are fearful or submissive, especially when meeting new people.
Now let’s take a more in depth look at all of the German Shepherd Ears Meaning.
Ears Standing and Relaxed:
This German Shepherd Ears Meaning is most common. One of the reasons German Shepherd’s are recognized and highly regarded is because of their big pronounced ears. Before they are a year old those big floppy ears start to stand up. People even go as far as taping their German Shepherd’s ears to get that familiar look we have all grown used to.
The most common position for a German Shepherd’s ear to be in is standing up and relaxed. This normally means that they are calm, friendly and relaxed in their environment. This is a good sign that your dog is comfortable with his surroundings and happy in general.
When your German Shepherd’s ears are backward it can mean a couple of different things. It depends on the rest of your dog’s body language to determine this German Shepherd Ears Meaning.
If your dog’s ears are backward and their tail is wagging, this normally means that your dog is being friendly. On the other hand if they aren’t wagging their tail, they may be fearful or nervous. This is especially true if they are meeting a new person for the first time.
ChicagoCanine had this to say about German Shepherds ears that are backward:
It depends on the dog and the rest of the body language. Ears back is not necessarily fearful. Some Shepherds tend to put their ears back more when they’re relaxed than others do. In some cases the ears back may mean the dog just may be unsure of you, or submissive, or worried.
When a German Shepherds ears go forward just a little bit, it probably means that they are becoming more alert. This normally happens when something happens to get their attention or sparks their curiosity.
If they are pricked forward, this can be a sign of aggression especially when coupled with a stiff body and an open mouth showing their teeth. Remember to always look at their entire body language including ears, eyes, body and tail to get an accurate read on their state of well being.
Ears in Opposite Directions:
Occasionally there ears will be in opposite directions which is very cute by the way. This means that your dog may be dividing their attention on multiple things simultaneously.
They could be hearing more than one sound coming from different directions all at once. This can happen often outside with all of the noises coming from multiple animals, people etc.
It is also possible that they are tracking the movement of an animals for example while at the same time hearing a noise in the other direction.
Do German Shepherd’s Ears Naturally Stand Up?
We have all seen the pictures of those cute adorable German Shepherd puppies with those big fluffy floppy ears. German Shepherds ears normally stand up between 7 and 9 months of age. But do their ears always stand up naturally on their own.
Yes, most adult German Shepherds have big ears that stand up most of the time. But their are exceptions. Sometimes due to the weight, a variation or genetics, a German Shepherd can have floppy ears as an adult.
Taping a German Shepherd’s Ears to Stand Up:
Breeders use a method called taping to ensure that the ears are standing up as they grow older. This is a slow process in which a puppy’s ears are taped into a position that holds them up. Eventually over time, the cartilage in their ears hardens in that position holding them in a standing position.
This cartilage in their outer ears is called the Pinna. It is the part of the ear that is underneath all of the fur, hair and skin. It is shaped in a way that captures surrounding sound waves and then channels them through the dog’s ear canal and into the eardrum.
A German Shepherd’s pinna will normally start to get hard when they are around 6 to 7 months old and should be done hardening at 9 months. Before this time, their ears will probably go through phases of standing up and going back down many times. Normally teething is the cause of this fluctuation.
German Shepherd Ear Infections:
Like most dogs, ear infections are common in German Shepherds. According to the American Kennel Club, an estimated 20% of dogs have some type of ear disease which can affect either one ear or both ears. Thankfully, ear infections are pretty easy to recognize and can be treated and prevented with proper techniques.
Three types of ear infections:
There are three main types of ear infections that can affect your precious dog. They are otitis externa, media, and interna. The most frequent infection is otitis externa. This condition involves inflammation which irritates the layer of cells that lines the outer portion of the dog’s ear canal.
The other two, otitis media and interna, target the middle ear and the inner ear canal. They are normally caused from an infection that spreads from the outer ear. These two infections can be extremely serious and could lead to deafness, paralysis of the face, and vestibular syndrome.
Because of this, it is very important to be able to recognize the signs early and to hopefully prevent ear infections all together to avoid any serious repercussions.
Symptoms to look for:
It is possible that your dog won’t show any symptoms of an ear infection except for a lot of wax or discharge in their ear canal. However it should cause them to be uncomfortable which will result in outward signs.
- Crust or scabs inside the ears
- Dark colored discharge
- Head is shaking
- Foul odor
- Itching or scratching the ear
- Pain in the ear
- Redness or swelling in the ear canal
If any of the above symptoms are present in your dog, you should seek treatment with your veterinarian immediately. Ear infections can be painful and spread to the middle and inner ear, making things worse.
Causes of ear infections:
There are several causes of ear infections in dogs. Knowing the causes may be able to help you prevent ear infections in your German Shepherd.
- Allergies lead to ear disease in a huge number of dogs with skin disease and food sensitivities
- Autoimmune disorders
- Buildup of wax
- Foreign bodies
- Endocrine disorders like thyroid disease
- Injured ear canal
- Moisture in the ears is ideal for the growth of bacteria and yeast
- Redundant cleaning
If you dog has any of these causes, it is important to nip them in the bud as soon as possible. This will help to reduce the chances of your German Shepherd getting an ear infection.
How to treat ear infections?
Ear infections in your dog should be treated by a professional veterinarian. Do not attempt to treat them on your own at home.
The veterinarian will clean your German Shepherd’s ears first with a medicated ear cleanser. He may prescribe an ear cleanser along with a topical medication that you can use at home on your dog. If it is a serious infection, he may have to prescribe medications such as oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Following treatment, most ear infections will reside in a period of one to two weeks. More extreme cases may take months to totally dissipate and can sometime become chronic conditions.
Occasionally in very extreme cases of chronic ear infections, the veterinarian may have to result to a surgery called TECA. This stands for Total Ear Canal Ablation. It is performed by removing the ear canal which subsequently removes the infected tissue thereby preventing any reappearance of the disease.
How to prevent ear infections?
It is important to take preventative measures when it comes to ear infections in your German Shepherd. Here are some recommendations from the AKC for preventing the common condition.
- Avoid moisture in the ears: This is one of the top causes so make sure to dry your dogs ears after a bath or swimming.
- Clean your dog’s ears at home: You can use a dog ear cleaning solution to fill the ear. Then from the outside, massage the vertical canal. Use an absorbent gauze to wipe out the canal. Do not use cotton or paper towels. They can leave fibers behind which can cause irritation.
German Shepherd Ear Mites:
Ear mites are another condition that you should be on the lookout for. Known as Octodectes cynotis mites, they are extremely tiny white parasites that can infect your dogs ears.
They will cause irritation and redness on the inside skin of your dogs ears causing them to itch and scratch relentlessly. This will normally result in a dark waxy discharge and a foul smelling odor.
To identify if mites are the culprit and not an ear infection, use a magnifying glass to see if they are hiding in your dog’s ear. You can get a sample from their ear with a cotton swab. Then magnify the cotton swab and look for super tiny little white mites.
If mites are present, visit your veterinarian for treatment. Sometimes an over the counter treatment can be used get rid of the pesky critters. As with ear infections, prevention is the best treatment. Clean you dog’s ears regularly to avoid ear mites.
German Shepherd ears are some of the most cute adorable ears in the dog world. We hope this article gave you a better understanding of German Shepherd Ears Meaning and how to recognize the different positions. Body language in dogs is an amazing and fun thing to learn about.
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