Ear Taping for Beautiful Ear Set

So, let’s fix those ears so that your puppy will grow up looking like the breed that she is and not something silly like a boxer-mix, American bulldog or a pit bull.


"Bulhaven's Forget Me Not", Furgie's ears need to be taped

Yes, just the ear set will change the entire look of your puppy as it grows into an adult. The ears will permanently remain in the rolled back, goofy, flying out position that they go through as a puppy if they are not properly (and persistently) addressed by taping..

Your puppy’s ears should lay flat next to her head, framing her face nicely. Any sort of fold or twist back is an indication that your puppy should have her ears taped down flat to assure that they grow appropriately.

Not only will your puppy become “non show quality” but she will no longer resemble the dogs you preferred when looking to add a purebred Bullmastiff to your family.

Taping a bullmastiff puppy’s ears is not cruel, mean or inhumane. It doesn’t cause pain, irritation or suffering. Your puppy shouldn’t notice the tape at all besides an occasional scratch or head shake. Taping is done comfortably so that the ears will lay flat when the puppy is finished teething. Remember to give your puppy plenty of teething toys (ice, frozen marrow bones etc) to chew on during this time of difficulty for the puppy’s mouth and jaw.

Bulhaven's One Knight Stand

Andre waiting for his ears to be taped

Start out by cleaning your puppy’s ears. It’s best to work with a freshly bathed, dry puppy. Natural dirt and oil on your puppy’s ears will not allow the tape to stick to the ear flap.

Clean the puppy’s ears, inside and out with isopropyl alcohol or an ear cleaning product.

Before you start, be certain that your puppy’s  ear flaps are clean and nicely dried.

Ear Taping Materials

Ear Taping Materials

You’ll need a few materials to start!

duct tape (there are several snazzy colors available besides the original and very dull duct tape grey)

(sharp ones that can cut thru duct tape)

bullmastiff puppy (a very cute puppy with goofy ears)

ear cleaning wipes

lots of treats (yummy) for reward!!

4 duct tape strips ready for taping

4 duct tape strips ready for taping

OK, to start cut (2) strips of duct tape that are about as long your puppy’s ear. Then cut these two strips in half lengthwise. Now you will have (4) one inch wide strips of tape that are ready to stick to your puppy’s ear flaps.

Make a small ‘tab’ by folding over the top of each tape strip and stick it to itself. This will help you later when you need to take the tape off of the puppy.

Bulhaven's One Knight Stand

Bulhaven's One Knight Stand, ready for ear taping

Start with the puppy quietly sitting with you ~ as if that’s even possible!!! It’s easiest if the puppy is very tired (from the bath earlier) and if you have a second person to help gently hold and pat the puppy as you apply the tape to her ears.

Be smart about “when” you choose to apply tape to your puppy’s ears. Late afternoon when she has had a real good nap and is hungry for dinner may not be the best time to sit down with scissors and a puppy.

After dinner, following playtime when the puppy is at her most exhausted time, THAT sounds like a time where two people can calmly convince a young puppy that putting tape on her ears will result in a fantastic bone to chew on, saved just for her!

Offer the puppy something to occupy her attention (a nylabone, empty paper towel roll or favorite toy).

Once everyone is comfortable and quiet, attach the first strip of duct tape to the outside of the ear flap. Placement of this strip of tape should be half way down the ear so that the other half of the strip hangs over the end of the ear leaving the “pull tab” at the top. Press the tape firmly to the ear to assure that the tape will stick.

Bulhaven's Forget Me Not, 14 weeks old

Strips of tape stick to the front and back of the ear flap, then to each other

Attach a second strip of tape to the same ear, on the inside of the ear flap.

The first piece of tape on the outside of the ear and the second piece of tape on the inside of the ear should stick to each other where they both hang past the bottom of the ear flap.

Press the strips of tape firmly to assure that they stick to both the ear flap and to each other.

“Furgie” is modeling (photo, left) how the tape sticks to her ear flap and to each other.

Repeat the same process on the other ear: attach one strip of tape to the outside of the ear flap and attach a second strip to the inside of the ear flap then stick them to each other at the bottom of the ear.

Bulhaven's Forget Me Not, 14 weeks old

Furgie with both ears taped. Now the two strips will be taped together under her chin

This extra flap of duct tape (the part that hangs past the bottom of the ear flap) will be pulled under her chin and taped to the other side.

You’ll need one more piece of duct tape. Cut about a 3 inch piece of duct tape for attaching the chin strap.

Leave this piece the full width of natural duct tape. Take the left and right sides of hanging strips of tape and bring them under the puppy’s chin (they will most likely overlap, pull them close to her head without being “too tight”).

Bulhaven's Forget Me Not, 14 weeks old

Taping completed under the chin

Use the new piece of tape and stick the two sides together under her chin. Press the piece firmly and roll it around the two strips so that no sticky parts remain exposed.

Be certain that you leave enough space to fit your fingers in between the tape and her throat but not so much that a paw can get stuck between there.

Your puppy will want to rub or scratch the tape off her ears at first.

Give her something else to do so that she “forgets” about the light pressure on her ears. You can play a training game, go for a walk, offer a marrow bone or whatever else will help take her mind off of the taped ears.  I prefer to give a nice new bone. They will usually work at the bone, relieving the stress of the “something new” that just happened to them.

Bulhaven's Forget Me Not, 14 weeks old

The perfect Bullmastiff sit.. Furgie with her ears taped

You may have to attach a leash and give light corrections reminding them to “leave it” each time they begin to scratch at the tape. It will only take a few corrections… remember to HUGELY reward good behavior and offer an replacement behavior such as a treat or a bone.

Do NOT leave your puppy alone to “fuss it out”. Spend a half an hour watching television or petting the puppy. It’s important that they take their mind off of their taped ears.

Very quickly your puppy won’t notice the tape on her ears and life will continue as normal.

Keep a close eye on the inside of her ears during the time her ears are taped. Use an ear wipe to clean the inside of the ears as often as possible by moving the ear flap enough aside to wipe out the ear.

Any redness or odor is a sign of irritation and the tape should gently be removed. I use Avon Skin So Soft bath oil on the ear to loosen the glue of the tape for easier removal.

You will leave the tape in place for 4-6 days.. after removing the tape, wash and clean the ears thoroughly. You may have to reapply the tape the next day and want clean ears to start with!!

If you need assistance, just ask… taping the ears is a task that requires patience and persistence.

Bulhaven's Cas A Blanca and Bulhaven's Clara Haute

MBPISS Bulhaven's Cas A Blanca ("Ilsa") and Bulhaven's Clara Haute ("Clara") with correct ear sets! 🙂

Some puppies require their ears to be taped only once, more likely puppies require several weeks of ear taping.

~ by Bulhaven on August 5, 2010.

13 Responses to “Ear Taping for Beautiful Ear Set”

  1. Hi there! I would love to hear how Fergie and Andre’s ear taping adventures turned out. I have a 5 month old female named Xena that I have just begun ear taping.

    I love the blog, keep ’em coming!

    Tracy and Xena

  2. Thank you for the wonderful blog post on ear taping! I have a 5 month old BullMastiff and her ears are starting to lift. This is the best instruction I’ve seen on the web (My breeder is far away, and tries to help via email and phone) but a visual really helps in this case!!!

  3. HI Melissa, I’m glad you benefitted from our photos… The Bullmastiff is so much prettier with a “proper” ear set

  4. What’s your facebook page?

  5. On Facebook, search “Mary M. Hannigan”

    Thank you.

  6. hi I am just about to embark on ear taping Daisy @DaisyJ2011 or her blog http://www.daisybullmastiff.blogspot.com thank you

  7. ps Mary I cannot find you on facebook 🙂

  8. I have a 7 month old Bullmastiff puppy. Sometimes her ears look perfect then in a while they may look bad. Then one ear may look perfect and the other ear looks bad. Then the ear that looked bad may look perfect and the ear that looked perfect will look bad. It drives me crazy! I have used what I believe is called the felt to felt method. It doesn’t seem to work all that well with my puppy. Do you feel I can still tape her ears and get them to settle down? Can you tape a puppies ears till they are a year old or older to try and get the desired look?

  9. Hello-I have just adopted a rescue Bully and she is 15 months old with ears that make her look like a mixed breed-is it too late to tape them? And how long should I leave them taped for?

  10. hi my bullmastiff has just turned a year and i was wondering if it was to late to ear tape him now? he has had it before but it didn’t work out to well. any advice would be great thanks 🙂

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