To help you build the BEST relationship with your German Shepherd Dog!
==> "Healthy dogs navigate the world maybe 40% by hearing, 30% by scent, 20% by vision, and 10% by memory"
Keep your dog's hearing intact means: Keep your dog's ears clean - the right way
GSD Ear Care
When it comes to Dog Ear Care some GSD owners have literally ruined their dog's ears in the past, and many vets can tell sad stories about this seemingly 'negligible' area of 'dog care'...!
With this week's MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL we aim to ensure that we all can advise our friends with GSDs how to best care for their dog's ears! - When having a GSD with its upright ears, this is of course all the more important.
Fundamentals about Hearing
Contrary to common wisdom, the sound sensitivity of dogsin general is not that much greater than that of humans as generally thought (see for example this hearing range study from the Louisiana State University).
To understand this you need to know that sound is vibrations of air, and the hearing range is determined by the sound sensitivity (loudness intensity of a sound) and the sound receptability (tone frequency), and both are interdependent.
Dogs in general show a sound receptability with an approximate range of 67-45,000 Hz, compared to 64-23,000 Hz for humans.
One of the greatest frequency ranges of the dog breeds analyzed has the Poodle: 40-46,ooo Hz. The Poodle also can hear the faintest noises: A 4 kHz tone at -4 dB! (yes, minus because dB is a logarithmic scale, hence -4 dB is a much fainter sound than the standard intensity on which the scale is based).
I could not yet find a scientific study examining specifically the hearing range of the German Shepherd, however the German Shepherd can be expected to have a hearing range greater than the average range shown above.
By the way, if you are worried about your pup's or dog's hearing(?), you can consult a veterinary clinic to have your puppy or dog BAER-tested. The most comprehensive list of BAER test sites I found here.
How the Hearing Works
When sound (vibrations of air) is collected by the ear flap (pinna), the shape of and the hair on the inside of the pinna direct these sound waves into the comparatively large ear canal to end at the eardrum (tympanic membrane). The movements of the eardrum are then transmitted through a chain of small bones to the cochlea of the inner ear. From there, nerve axons are the receptors for signals to be sent to the brain.
A single hair cell on the outer ear (which actually sits inside the ear) responding to the vibrations of air instigated by some music
Explained Anatomy of the Dog Ear and Ear Cleansing as explained in the text
The ear canal of GSD puppies is not physically open until about 2 weeks of age, which is why all young puppies are virtually deaf until then. The ear canal will open by itself at that time (through the growth of the ear), so don't worry in case you get to know such a young pup - and certainly NEVER move any object down the ear canal, as explained further below!
The ear canal descends first vertically and then horizontally to the eardrum, and exactly this crude L-shape is the cause of many dog ear problems since debris and moisture can hardly get back out.
According to a survey by Veterinary Pet Insurance, ear problems are the second most common reason for dog owners to take their dog to the vet.
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Disclaimer: Always apply your own common sense when you follow anyone's suggestions. As much as your dog is special (s)he may react different too.
There's nothing quite like a healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd who freely guards every corner of your home, who brings you peace, who brings you joy! Welcome to MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - we help you that YOUR DOG does not end up in a(nother) shelter!