Most dogs’ ears are a lot larger and their ear canals are much longer than ours are. They are certainly a lot more sensitive. We usually only need to clean them when there is a problem; however at this point they may already be sore, so that the dog learns that handling around the ears is painful and tries to avoid it. Therefore, it should not be surprising that your dog struggles when you try to handle his ears, and may even become aggressive. Dogs frequently develop inflammatory conditions of the ears, so it is important to train your dog to allow handling of its ears from an early age. Ideally, this is done when the ears are healthy, so that the dog learns that handling of the ears is not a painful procedure. Then, if your dog develops an ear infection that needs treatment, it will not be as much of an issue (see Handling and Food Bowl Exercises).
Unfortunately, if you stop when he struggles or acts aggressively, he may learn that this behavior achieves his objective. You must be aware that if the ear is extremely painful then the dog is objecting because of pain and not to be defiant. It is prudent to discuss oral medications for pain control with your veterinarian or alternate cleaning methods.
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