Backstory for Dog Hates Ear Cleaning:
Resolution: Putting ear drops in uncooperative dog
Your dog may have a reluctance to let his ears be touched which may be correlated with his ear irritation, having sensitive ears, or allergies. The only real short term solution to cleaning your dogs ears is to squirt the ear cleaning solution on a cotton ball or disk and then squeeze the cotton ball in his ear. I’ve seen several dogs that are a lot more comfortable with that over the bottle.
Unfortunately, long-term, if your dog hates ear cleaning then this isn’t a dog behavior that can be changed over the course of a couple of days and it will require some training to desensitize your dog. Ultimately, training your dog to allow him to put ear drops in his ears will take time, but it’s definitely possible to desensitize him to having his ears handled and putting ear drops in. The process to put ear drops in your uncooperative dog is pretty straight forward, but the #1 thing to keep in mind is that this will take time – the worst thing you can do is to move too quickly and forcefully put ear drops into your dogs ears as this will provide a bad experience.
How to put ear drops in an aggressive dog?
1. The first step is to find your uncooperative dog’s exact threshold for ear touching – is he okay with you touching the outside of his ear? Hovering your hand above his ear? Touching his head near his ear? Find the place just before there is a reaction, and start there.
2. Start this “level” of touching, and reward for no reaction. If he lets you pet the outside of his ear – reward and praise. You’ll need to counter condition and desensitize your dog by associating a positive experience like licking peanut butter with ear touches. Continue to reward and praise your dog as long as he allows you this level of touch. If he pulls away or reacts negatively, remove the treat.
3. Once you “pass” that level of touch, move on to a more complicated interaction – This can be lifting his ear, pressing more firmly, gently pinching his ear in between your fingers, lightly brushing his ears, flipping his ears, and looking into his ears. Continue to reward and praise for compliance. It’ll be slow progress, since you need to meet your dog where he feels comfortable.
This is effectively the path to getting him to accept ear touching. You may also need to recruit friends or strangers to touch his ear as he may be okay with you touching, but not other people.
Conclusion: How to put ear drops in uncooperative dog?
If your dog is afraid of the ear drops bottle, then you can drop putting the ear drops solution on a cotton ball and squeezing the cotton ball in your dogs ear. If that doesn’t work, then you will have to train your dog to allow you to put ear drops in their ears.
It will take some time, but your dog can be trained to allow him to put ear drops in your ears. The training essentially involves counter-conditioning and desensitizing your dog by giving them a reward for allowing you to touch their ears. If you’re looking for a shorter term solution, you may need to go the sedation route which does cost money and definitely isn’t preferred.
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Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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