My puppy’s ears are “crinkling,” and refuse to lie flat. What can I do?

At around 4 months of age, some Ridgeback puppies develop what breeders affectionately call “flying nun ears”: Instead of lying flat in neat triangles next to the head, the ears will crimp, crease, fold and generally misbehave, looking for all the world like a piece of origami.

Some breeders believe these misbehaving ears are the result of calcium demands made on the puppy’s body while he is teething, and will often supplement with a high-calcium food such as cottage cheese or whole milk. Pharmaceutical calcium supplementation is not recommended. For ears that do not respond to this approach, some breeders advocate taping them.

If the ears are not “fixed” before the puppy is six or so months old, there is a good chance they might stay that way. “Flying nun ears” have absolutely no health impact, and are only a cosmetic concern, particularly for those owners who puppies are headed for the show ring.