Ear Movements And Gestures
German Shepherds have an acute auditory sense. Its how they were bred, and they need to hear well to stay ever-vigilant when guarding herds and property.
Their ears are large and rigid so as to allow for maximum sensitivity to subtle noises.
The shape of their ears also offers a distinct advantage to you, as it is possible to notice even the most subtle of cues just based on what a GSD is doing with his ears.
Lets now take a look at some German Shepherd ear behaviors and how to translate them.
Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Go Ears Up Then Down
It’s common for a pup’s ears to perk up and then droop again within a few weeks. So, don’t let this alarm you. This is a sign that the cartilage and muscles are developing normally.
And this can happen several times during teething when the adult teeth are pushing through.
Although as I mentioned above, some puppies will not experience droopy ears during teething.
In my experience, if the ears perk up once and then droop again, they will come back up. So in this case just relax and wait for your pup to finish teething.
Some uneducated sources say this has to do with their bodies using calcium for bone and teeth development.
This is incorrect information because, in fact, their ears are cartilage and not bone, so calcium is not a factor in upright ears in fact, calcium supplementation can cause serious health issues.
In reality, this up and down see-saw of your puppy’s ears has to do with the development of the Temporalis Muscle, which I’ll get into a little further down, so keep reading.
What Colors Do German Shepherds Come In
The most common colors are black and tan, black and red, black and cream, or black and silver. These colors cover the dog in one of these three patterns:
- Saddleback the black overlays the dog’s back and sides . The rest of the dog is tan, red, cream, or silver. Usually there’s some black on the face, as well.
- Blanketback the black extends further down the shoulders and hips.
- Bicolor like a Doberman or Rottweiler, which is mostly black with small tan/red/cream markings specifically confined to the head, chest, and legs. Honestly I don’t know why this pattern is called bicolor, which simply means two colors. As we’ve just seen, the other two patterns also have just two colors.
Another common color is sable, which is an overall shade of gray, golden, or red, with black-tipped hairs that create a “dusted with black” effect.
A less common, but perfectly acceptable, color is solid black.
Then there are two controversial colors: blue and liver:
- Blue German Shepherds have inherited a color-modifying gene that changes their black pigment to smoky gray. Many blue dogs look as though they’ve been dusted with flour.
- Liver German Shepherds have inherited a color-modifying gene that changes their black pigment to brown .
Blue and liver are considered serious faults by the official German Shepherd clubs and breeders who show their dogs in the conformation ring. But you can still register these dogs and compete with them in activities such as obedience and agility.
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To Protect Their Ears
Lastly, sometimes German Shepherds pin their ears back to protect their ear canals. You may have noticed that anytime you reach toward your GSDs ears, whether that is for a rub, or to clean them they naturally put those ears back. This is for protection.
German Shepherds naturally want to keep foreign objects out of their ears, so when they sense something too close to their ears, they pin them back to keep their ears safe.
Is Taping Dog Ears Safe
When done right, taping is a painless and safe method that can help your dogs ears to stand up. The idea behind taping is to help the cartilage to form properly and become strong enough to hold the weight of a dogs ears.
While painless, taping can cause discomfort and irritate your dog, so you should consider if its really worth it. Bear in mind that nothing is stronger than genetics and that taping might not work for your pooch.
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Does It Matter If Your German Shepherds Ears Never Stand Up Naturally
Not at all!
Its not unhealthy for them to have one ear flopped over and even adds to their fun personality.
And, most of the time, this isnt a problem. You should take your dog to the vet to have them complete a thorough vet exam if youre worried. This gives you some reassurance there arent any underlying issues.
Generally, there is no need for concern and your GSD is still totally healthy.
German Shepherd Ear Health
Like all other purebred dogs, German Shepherds are prone to certain genetic health problems. This breed doesnt suffer from any inherited ear problems, however German Shepherds that have allergies can experience recurring ear infections.
If this is the case, the most important thing is to discover the allergen and limit your dogs exposure to it. By doing so, you will also minimize the chance of painful ear infections.
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When Will My German Shepherd’s Ears Stand Up
Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed’s health and wellness.
Classic German Shepherds have ears that stand up straight. But anyone who has ever adopted this breed knows that their ears are floppy when they are young. Some owners, especially those who want a very classic-looking German Shepherd dog , are eager to see the ears stand up right away and often wonder whether there is anything they can do to help.
They Allow You To Hug Them
The act of hugging dogs became controversial because a casual, observational study revealed that it gives dogs anxiety. Indeed, dogs may not like hugs because it practically immobilizes them and makes them feel unprotected. But, many dog parents especially those with German Shepherds would attest to the fact that their pups enjoy hugs. At the very least, dogs will tolerate hugs when they come from people they trust and love.
When your GSD allows you to hug them, check for signs of distress, including folded-back ears and half-moon eyes. If you dont see any, youre free to take it as a sign of affection.
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Snarling Or Raising Of The Lip
When a dogs mouth takes these positions, it is a sign that they are uncomfortable or feeling unsettled they are essentially telling you to back off.
If your German Shepherds mouth takes a snarled position, or if he is raising his lip, then this is a very likely sign that he is getting ready to snap at the person whom they are doing this towards, or even bite them.
Take this sign very seriously and think about what you can do to change the situation.
In most cases, this will mean that if the dog is being petted, to slowly and calmly stop the petting action. Then give the dog some space.
There is also the possibility that if your dog has his lip curled up, almost like a smile, that he is not getting ready to act in an aggressive manner, but is instead being submissive.
People often refer to this as their dog smiling. While this cannot be equated to a human smile, because the dog is not expressing joy or happiness, he is not expressing aggression either.
Instead, he is relaxed and expressing submission. This grin will be accompanied by relaxed ears and an overall calm demeanor.
How Do I Get My German Shepherd`s Ears To Stay Down
Your dog can be trained to keep their ears downward. All you have to do is follow a few quick guidelines and you can make your canine`s ears stand down in a jiffy.
Then wait for a couple of weeks and your little fella`s ears should stay down permanently.
- Cut a strip of tape that should have the length of your dog`s ear from one of the ear`s middle to the other one`s middle. In this tape`s center, cut a notch in a trapezoid shape and then fold this notch down.
- Spread this tape between your pal`s ears, attaching each and every of the tape`s ends to the inside of the pooch`s ears near the ear`s base. Try to avoid getting hair caught under this tape to avoid hurting your little friend. !
- Cut a different piece of this tape which should be around 2 long, and then roll the tape with its sticky section out. Place the piece of tape inside the canine`s ear close to the tip on each and every side.
- Fold down the sticky side of the tape so that the rolled piece of tape will latch onto that particular brace you just made with first piece of tape. Squeeze it smoothly to secure it in the right place. At this point, your canine`s ears should be taped down in the right position.
- With a bit of patience, in around 2 or 3 weeks, the tape should do the job. Then, just remove the tape using Detachol or other adhesive remover.
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What To Do When Your Gsd Puts His Ears Down
Whenever your German Shepherd shows fear by flattening his ears and tightly pinning them to his skull, you must make sure you provide him with enough attention and talk to him in a soothing voice to offer reassurance so he can calm down.
If he behaves this way around a specific path on your walk or before certain activities, you get to make the call whether teaching him to get over those fears is worth it or not.
Willow has a strange fear of the sound of young school children when theyre on the sidewalk. She appears to despise their loud voices and high-pitched screams. She gets extremely anxious and will immediately put her ears down, cower her body, dig her claws into the ground, and pull on the leash to get away faster. I now choose to avoid walks around school times!
Why Are My German Shepherds Ears Floppy
Why your German Shepherds ears are floppy could depend on a few things have they always been floppy, or have they suddenly flopped? Are they both floppy or is only one of them drooping whilst the other stands up normally?
To start off, lets explore some of the most common reasons for floppy ears during puppyhood in German Shepherds.
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Why Does My Dogs Ears Always Go Back
Ears that are up and relaxed often indicate a calm, relaxed and friendly pup. When the ears are tilted back, the dog is usually stressed or fearful and may be in a submissive state. But caution here a dog holding its ears back could also become fear aggressive.
But Perhaps The Biggest Factor Is Environment And Upbringing
Like always with a dog, you have to be prepared beforehand, or you will have to play catch up later!
- A German Shepherd Dogs ears can be easily damaged from fighting, playing and pulling! The damage can be from other puppies and dogs and young children, usually by accident. Never let anyone even other dogs to fold, bend, pull, fondle, or play with your German Shepherds ears. There is some research that suggests that massaging the base of the ears and not the ears themselves can help as this can increase blood flow to the cartilage.
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They Look You In The Eyes
Another study led by Japan-based researchers determined that when dogs and their humans engage in eye contact, it leads to a boost in oxytocin in both parties. Oxytocin is generally regarded as the cuddle hormone because it is responsible for feelings of comfort in both dogs and humans.
Additionally, the more oxytocin a dog has, the more likely they are to gaze at you. So, when your GSD stares at you, it is because they love you, and your presence makes them feel good.
Provide Them With The Proper Chew Toys
Chewing helps to strengthen the muscles that surround the ears.
Its natural for your puppy to chew things and you should offer them the appropriate chew toys early on to prevent bad behaviors from developing.
Choose the proper chew toy for a German Shepherd that is durable and the right size for your dogs age and chewing habits.
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Why Does It Take Five To Eight Months For Your Gsds Ears To Stand Up Naturally
German Shepherd puppies need time to develop healthy cartilage that can hold up the weight of their ears. When they are finished teething, usually, youll start to see their ears beginning to perk up and flop down back and forth.
If their ears can permanently become straight just before the end of the five months , then their ears will be straight and pointy otherwise they might get floppy ears for the rest of their life.
Eye Movements And Gestures
Some of the most subtle, and sometimes not so subtle ways that a German Shepherd will communicate to other people and animals are through their eyes.
Most cues that a German Shepherd will indicate though their eyes have to do with stress, anxiety, and precipitation to biting.
Its important that if you have a GSD, or even come across someone elses, that you are familiar with what their eyes are indicating.
Having this knowledge will give you the opportunity to remedy a stressful situation for the dog, or even prevent yourself or another from getting bitten.
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How Much Exercise Do German Shepherds Need
German Shepherd puppies and adolescents should have moderate exercise only multiple walks, fetch games, or playing with another dog.
But the growing bones and ligaments in a young dog can be irreparably damaged by too much exercise or the wrong kind of exercise. At this age, there should be no forced running . Restrict jumping as much as possible.
Once the dog is mature, the amount of exercise needed will vary according to the dog’s energy level. But all German Shepherds, to maintain fitness, need brisk walking every day and all-out running in a safe, enclosed area as often as possible.
Dogs from working lines typically want a lot more exercise.
Mental exercise is even more important for German Shepherds. Mental exercise means the dog gets to participate in interesting activities that keep his intelligent mind stimulated.
This might be a dog sport such as agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, flyball, herding, or schutzhund. It might be interactive dog toys, or a homemade obstacle course, or learning tricks, or playing games such as Hide ‘n Seek.
Some of these activities are included in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
Handsome black German Shepherd, attentively awaiting your next words.
What Does It Mean When A German Shepherds Ears Are Straight Up
Standing ears can mean a few different things. Your GSD could be excited during periods of play. It could also mean that theyre alert, nervous, or frightful of a sudden sound or an approaching threat. The best way to determine the cause is to look at his other body language and the surrounding environment.
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How Do You Tell If A German Shepherd Likes You
Here are some of the most common German Shepherd signs of affection:
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But taping is a less common practice with family or working German Shepherds for two reasons:
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How Do You Tell If Your German Shepherd Loves You
1) They cant help but kiss or lick you. Dogs learn to lick and kiss during puppyhood. 2) They like staying close to you. 3) They often snuggle or cuddle. 4) They lean on you. 5) They allow you to hug them. 6) They ask for rubs. 7) Theyre always happy to see you. 8) They keep wanting to play.
Do German Shepherd Ears Stand Up On Their Own Or Do They Have To Be Cut Or Taped To Make Them Stand Up
Ah, you’re thinking about cropping, a surgical procedure to make the ears stand up. That’s done with Doberman Pinschers, but not with German Shepherds. A Shepherd puppy’s ears prick up naturally they’re never cropped.
German Shepherd puppy with perfectly normal ears at this age. If the pup inherited normal genes, the other ear should come up shortly.
But German Shepherd puppies aren’t born with pricked ears. In some pups, the ears start to prick up at 6 or 8 weeks old, while others don’t start until 12 or 14 weeks old.
Often the ears don’t go up smoothly. In other words, they don’t suddenly pop straight up. Typically one ear will go up halfway, and stay like that for a few days. Then the other ear may start to prick while the first ear straightens all the way up. A few days later, just as the second ear straightens up, the first one suddenly flops back down.
This can be a trying time for new owners who worry that their pup’s ears will never stand properly. Rest assured, it’s normal for German Shepherd puppy ears to go up and down for a month or two, especially during the teething period.
Unfortunately, some puppies do inherit poor genes for ear strength and often those ears will never come all the way up. They’re called “soft ears.” Sometimes taping a weak ear can help it stand erect, but often not.
I had a German Shepherd with one soft ear. It flopped sideways on top of his head, while the other ear stood up beautifully. Of course I loved him dearly anyway!
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