We have our new Everest.
Before I get into the details, I will say first that Cooper does have his annual exam coming up, so we’re going to have the vet take a good, hard look at his ear to rule out infection, hearing problems, etc. If I thought there was something really wrong, I’d get him in much sooner.
Cooper’s right ear is our next challenge. His ear gets seriously grody.
Every week, we need to clean that sucker out. I’m sure it’s because of the drainage from his allergies (sorry, I know that’s gross) because his eye leaks, too, and this only became a problem after we moved to Louisiana.
But the real issue here isn’t the grossness of cleaning out his ear every few days.
The real issue is his reaction to us cleaning his ear.
To say “he flips out” grossly undermines the extent of his mania.
I can’t even pinpoint how it started, but it’s bad. He is terrified – tail tucked and full-body quivering – he tries to get away. He flails. He bucks. He whips his head back and forth, and not in a pop-rock-Willow-Smith kind of way. More like a deranged possessed demon kind of way.
It’s been getting progressively worse with each weekly cleaning to the point that last night, we gave up. I put the cleaner back in the drawer. I put the cotton swabs on the bathroom counter. And I tried to give Cooper a little back rub, but he wouldn’t come anywhere near me.
Today, I ran some errands and came home to this:
I’m honestly at a loss about what to do for a few reasons: Unlike peanut butter plate, we can’t do a whole series of gradual desensitizations because we don’t need to! He’s TOTALLY FINE with us rubbing his ears. In fact, he’s totally fine with us rubbing his ears with a tissue. He only flips out when solution is involved. We’ve tried three different solutions and a vinegar/water mixture.
After the horror of last night’s attempt, John and I had a long conversation. The central question: Can we find a way to make all things pleasant? Or is this a situation where a headlock is our only option? I need to put some thought into a possible approach because I don’t want it to be miserable/scary for him. I don’t want him to flip out and flail and try to get away from us. But, is it like a kid eating broccoli? Or getting a shot? You just have to suck it up and make it happen?
Have you encountered this? Any suggestions? Is there anything your dog HATES but has to do regardless?