Far too difficult!

by Luke
(South Wales, United Kingdom)

I've just come back from the painful ordeal of trying to clean out Ollie's, my 4 month old Spaniels, ears. He had a somewhat spontaneous build up of dark wax, particularly in one ear, and it was time for a clean. We got the one ear yesterday (after much biting and yelping; he seemed to know the bottle was bad and wouldn't let it near him) and attempted the other, there was more wax in this one and hardly any was cleared out.

So I've come home today and attempted the other one again, though seemingly won't be able to for another week as the ear-cleaning solution says to only use it once or twice per week. He bit me so hard and so much that his teeth went through my clothes and into my arm, and he became aggressive if I let him go; he's a field springer so I doubt his biting problem is down to Springer Rage.

I need to know if there is anything I can do to make this easier for the both of us? The instructions on the bottle and in other places aren't very clear, as some say different things; It says not to 'probe' the ear, but does that just mean not probing where you cant see or does it mean not even cleaning out the wax you CAN see in the parts of his ear that can BE SEEN when I flip it over? There's also the matter of trying to get him to accept it, rather than bite me (biting, I suppose, is a different question to ask and probably will be since he has not grown out of this stage and literally attacks me ((youngest person in house at 17)) more frequently than most). Also, i've heard that getting water in Springers' ears is very bad when bathing him; is this correct, or should I throw a small cup or so of water into his ears to try and keep them clean? As of yet we just try and wet the fur and rub a small amount of shampoo on externally.

Thank you,

From Anna@love-springer-spaniels.com
Hi Luke
He is still a very young pup and probably pretty frightened about the whole ordeal, but you are right to get him used to having his ears cleaned on a regular basis, it will make it much easier in ther future. Try to make sure he is rewarded after each ear, with a treat or a game, and lots of praise.

The biting is a natural reaction as he is a little scared, I also doubt its anything to do with Springer rage.

As for water in their ears, its best to avoid putting water in their ears, but its not a disaster, after all they love to swim

Here are some guides to help you out on grooming and keeping your ears healthy. I hope some of our other members can give you even more advice to help you out with your question.

Springer Spaniel Ears
Grooming Springer Spaniel Ears

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Comments for Far too difficult!

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Oct 28, 2015
Ears and years of hell to come! NEW
by: Anonymous

Ive just been asked to pick my springer up from the groomers as sedation is the only possibility if I want to clean his ears and clip his toes.
His muzzle was on but he thrashed about and will bite whatever method I try....rewards , cotton wool, calm state,long walks etc .
He is usually very loving, but slightly manic and just hates me touching or picking things from his fur and the ear drops he can smell from a far. The vet nurses wont even attempt it now and I'm at my wits end as his aggression is getting scary. Hes only 19 months and I don't want this everytime his ears need cleaning, neither can I afford or want to use sedation at the vets as a regular option.So I understand and hope u find a way. Help!

Sep 26, 2012
Itchy smelly ears NEW
by: Jenny

I agree about the Thornit Powder. I have 2 springers. When the first one was young , she was always getting drops for her ears , which she hated and they did no good. I then heard about Thornit and tried it. It is like a miracle cure - her ears were better within days. Now whenever either of them starts scratching I just put a pinch of powder in each ear and often one application is all it takes to sort it out. It seems expensive for a little bottle, but a little goes a long way and it is well worth it.

Apr 24, 2011
itchy, smelly ears
by: debbie

I am a springer owner of two girls and they have both got the dreaded ears!! I am more experienced now as I had this problem with my last girl. I acqiured some thornit powder which is fantastic for the problem. First you should squirt the ear cleaner in ear then clean out with some balls of cotton wool (do not probe any further than cotton wool allows). You then put a little bit of the powder in each ear massaging in. If you do this twice a day for 5 days and then once a week, you should have no smells or itchiness again. I have two very happy doggies and a nice smelling home again. The powder really is a miracle powder after trying everything in the book to help my Springers. I hope this helps.

Feb 11, 2011
Far too difficult!
by: cathy H

My boy doesn't like the cleaning bottle near his ears at all!!
If you squirt enough liquid onto a cotton ball to saturate it, he will probably let you stuff the cotton ball into his ear. Then you can squish it around just by manipulating the outside of his ear. This will be like wringing a sponge, and the cleaning liquid will go down his ear canal. Then you can pull the wet cotton ball out, and wipe the ear with a clean dry cotton ball, and repeat until it is clean, probably just one or two times.
The wrestling just doesn't work, and imagine it if he were full grown! I had the same problem, but now he is fine with getting his ears done. Hope this works for your squirmy pup. My vet told me that if the ears smell like Fritos, they are infected, maybe over there, corn chips?

Feb 11, 2011
by: Michele

Ears and feet are both things my Springers don't particularly want you to mess with! I do it, but it can be a trial.

First, it sounds like you need two people to accomplish cleaning your Springers ears out. One to hold him and one to clean. The person who holds should be gently stroking him and talking softly to him. This reassures him everything is okay. The holder could also have a couple of treats to encourage good behavior.

Second is the cleaner. I always get everything I need prior to rounding up the dogs. I soak the cotton in the ear cleaner and lay everything out on the counter.

How often are you cleaning his ears? Unless he has frequent ear infections you may be cleaning too often. I clean my Springers ears once a month. This seems to be enough for them, but every dog is different.

Your dog is afraid of the whole process and this is why he bit you. I'm not saying that's acceptable because it isn't, but I certainly don't think Springer Rage is an issue. I'm not certain there is any such thing as Springer Rage.

A trip to the vet or groomer might help you. They could show you how to properly clean the ears and might have some tips to offer. The biggest thing for both of you is for your pup to get over his fear. When that happens ear cleaning will be a little easier for both of you.

Feb 11, 2011
Cleaning ears
by: lynn


I do not have experience of cleaning my ESS ears but my mums Bichon has ear problems and i clean them with a solution from the vet and the vet said to use cotton wool on the end of your finger and then you can get into all the nooks etc without probing the ear too much.

With regards to the biting, I would try and get him to lie on you when watching TV etc and let him get used to you touching his ears without doing anything firstly and then maybe try and clean the ear when it he is calm on your lap or near to you. If this fails then I would only suggest a muzzle for your protection.

My friendly ESS has ear trouble and I have even treated him at my home as his owners seem to just leave it and he loves the rubbing of his ear and the cleaning of it.....gets his little legs shaking!

Good Luck

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