When we bring a Lab into our homes and hearts, one of the things that attracts us to this dog breed is its big floppy ears. However cute they may be, the shape of these ears (along with diet) makes this dog breed prone to very dirty and constantly infected ears if not properly maintained and cleaned.
Many owners of dogs with folded over ears get uncomfortable when talking about cleaning their dog’s ears. Some bring their pups to the veterinarian’s office every few weeks and spend a great deal of money to have them professionally cleaned because of the resistance their pup puts up.
So, how to give a dog ear drop or clean their ears when you practically have to sit on the pooch in order to pin him/her down while doing a sort of “twister” action to get a free arm to do to the deed with while he/she is putting up the fight of its life?
Simple question: What is your pup’s most favorite thing in the world? Is it food? Is it a toy?
Use that thing to keep the pup still and reward the pup with it immediately after the ear drops are given. For us, it is a special dog treat we only use during the times we give ear cleanings or nail cuttings. Both Labs are highly food motivated but they are slowly becoming more relaxed when we do those things because the treat is right in front of their nose the entire time. When we are done, it goes right into their mouth.
I won’t lie and say that the Lab Brats love to their ears cleaned but I can honestly say that they are not where as energetic in their protests as they once were. Dogs, especially Labs, need to have their minds and noses focused on something else to get their minds off of what you are doing to them.
Remember to stay calm through it all – you are in control and you are doing it because you truly love your dog and want to keep him/her healthy for many years to come.