How to Pluck Your Dog’s Ear Hair

Why pluck a dog’s ear hair

Remove extra hair to keep air circulating throughout the ear so the ear canal doesn’t get moist and infected with bacteria.

Ear infections are especially prevalent in breeds with long floppy ears such as spaniels, Shih Tzus and poodles. Dogs with pointed ears usually don’t have the same problem.

Why not to pluck a dog’s ear hair

Not all groomers and veterinarians, however, share this opinion. They believe plucking ear hair creates a greater likelihood of infection by damaging inner ear tissue and giving bacteria a foothold to thrive.

Some groomers note that there’s a reason dogs developed ear hair to begin with and no longer think plucking should be a routine procedure.

Your choice to make

Ask your veterinarian’s opinion. If your dog has floppy ears and frequent ear infections, the vet’s recommendation may still be to pluck. If not, your vet may no longer see the benefit.

If you do it, do it the right way

  • Never, never use forceps or tweezers. Tools are for trained professionals to use, not average dog owners. If you hurt your dog, your next attempt to pluck his ears may lead to a fight to the death.
  • Use an ear powder made for dogs before you pluck. Powder helps dry the hair and prevent your fingers from slipping off the strands. This also reduces the chance of hurting your dog. My groomer recommends (and the video uses) Top Performance ProEar Professional Dog and Cat Ear Powder.

Watch the video below to learn how to pluck the correct way.

Good luck.

Compensation Disclosure: This site receives compensation for referred sales of some or all mentioned products.

Compare Pet Insurance


Actual Vet Bills pays x% (typically 65% to 90%) of actual bill, not predetermined ‘customary’ rate for your area

Adjustable Deductible allows you to pay $0 to $1000 per incident/treatment before insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium. Make sure you understand how this works in your policy.

Breed Xs some companies exclude conditions (heart disease for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) that are frequent in a breed but would pay for heart disease treatment in other breeds

Hereditary means both inherited and genetic disease or condition

Holistic includes alternative treatments including acupuncture, water therapy, massage

Pre-existing conditions (at the time you enroll) are usually excluded or may be paid only at limited coverage after a point in time

Procedure Limit pays $x-amount per procedure even though total annual limit may be much higher

Some means the company has plans that cover this to some extent or offers as add-on at additional cost

Wellness covers routine vaccinations and pet exams (this really increases your premium if you include it)

***Excludes Chinese Shar-pei (I have no idea why)

New Puppy Shopping List


Start our with a cardboard box with some old soft towels or blankets. Throwing away a pooped on, peed on and chewed up box is a lot easier than keeping clean a fabric dog bed. Why be bothered cleaning a bed yet? Let your puppy sleep in a box until he is somewhat reliably housetrained. 

If you want something a bit nicer but easy to clean, you can get the bed I use for my puppy, the PerlaBed.

It’s a hard plastic with rubber feet that keep it slightly off the floor and away from crawling insects. It stands up to puppy chewing and accidents and
has a cutout side to enable little legs to easily climb in.

I discovered these in England and was thrilled when the company got an American distributor.

Don’t waste your money on the Perla bed mattress. My puppy chewed the seams open in no time. Buy a Perla bed in a size large enough for your grown dog and you should never have to buy another bed. 


You’ll need two: one for water and one for food. Get stainless steel because they don’t retain odors and can (and should be) run through your dishwasher
at least once a week. Get ones heavy enough not to tip and ones with rubber bottoms so they don’t slide.

I like Rubber Bottom Stainless Steel Bowl – SET OF 2 MATCHING BOWLS which are sized perfectly for puppies. 

Do NOT get anything chippable, breakable or crackable – no matter how cute.

If you have a sports nut in the house, you can buy stainless steel dog bowls with official team logos such as for the LosAngeles LA Lakers.


Get a soft brush such as Chris Christensen Tufted Natural Boar Brush to get your puppy used to being groomed. This one won’t hurt him and he should accept being brushed better than being combed. (Those knots hurt!)

As your dog matures, so will his coat and you’ll want to invest in more specialized products depending on which dog breed you have.

Brush him every day. It’s not only good for his looks, but it helps you bond with your puppy and vice versus.


Crates serve several purposes.

They are excellent for potty training. Dogs don’t like to soil their beds so he instinctively will try to hold his pee until you take him out.

Obviously, you must maintain a humane schedule, which may be every hour for a 3-pound puppy.

Puppies also need a place to get away when they’re tired or have too much company around. Have a soft pad or bedding for him to sit on and to lean against. Sometimes little paws get caught in, and little teeth try to chew through, the sides of wire crates.

Crates also can be used to transport your puppy in a car. Attach the crate in the middle of the vehicle’s back seat.

Don’t get a crate that is too large for your puppy. You want something just large enough for him to lay in or stand up and turn around. Too large and he
won’t feel secure. Too small and he’ll be crunched. Test it out.

Some crates have dividers which can be removed as your puppy grows.

The one I have is Midwest Life Stages Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate .

Please, do not try to drive with your puppy on your lap or unleashed in your car.

Absolutely never put your little puppy in the bed of your pick-up truck and drive off.

Use common sense and think about the impact on a puppy if you had to stop suddenly or had an accident.


Get a lightweight collar and make sure you can put your little finger between the collar and your dog’s neck. Unless you live in an area that requires you have tags on your dog, I recommend an embroidered dog collar rather than having tags.

Puppies can too easily get their tags caught in doorways, gates, stairs, fences, etc. sometimes with tragic results.

I prefer a collar such as Nylon Cat & Dog Collar. Custom embroidered with your phone number for pet safety which is small enough for Toy and small breed puppies but allow for growth from a puppy to a small adult.


Hopefully, the place where you obtained your puppy provided you with information on what brand of dog food they were using and how often he was fed.

If you want to change brands, do it gradually (over seven days) by replacing a little of the breeders’ brand with your brand so as to not to upset your puppy’s stomach.

Some breeders also advise or require customers to use supplements. Make sure you understand what your breeder has put in the sales agreement.


As you peruse the Internet, you’ll find all kinds of recommendations for canine diets: raw, bones, vegetarian, low protein, high protein, etc. There are several professional and authoritarian looking websites that rate dog foods. 

Unfortunately, there are many old wives tales that are taken as fact and many websites that don’t bother to update as our scientific knowledge evolves.

I highly recommend you read the book: ChowHounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives by veterinarian Ernie Ward. He’ll provide verifiable information and dispel the myths you’ve found on other websites. You may be surprised.

Harness and Leash

I don’t recommend attaching the leash to a regular collar for puppies; it’s too easy to damage a puppy’s throat by tugging and pulling on his collar.

I also prefer a harness as it gives you better control, especially when a puppy is still learning how to walk on a leash. You can tug the harness without harming your dog.

The Puppia Soft Dog Harness brand has a beautiful rainbow of mesh harnesses that are popular, but all require fitting over the head. I’ve never had a puppy that could wiggle out of these though. 

For a leash, I prefer lightweight nylon 4 or 6-foot. I don’t like retractable leashes for small dogs, especially puppies. You’re still training a puppy not to run off so why make it easy for him by using a 20-foot or so retractable leash? 

I like Coastal Pet Products DCP306Black Nylon Collar Lead for Pets, 3/8-Inch by 6-Feet


Once your veterinarian has finished your puppy’s vaccinations and deworming, it will be up to you to prevent heartworm, fleas and ticks in your puppy.

Every year dogs die needlessly because they didn’t have owners who provided a monthly heartworm preventive. Usually not fatal but always dreadful and expensive to remove are infestations of fleas or ticks.

It is so much better for your puppy, your state of mind and your pocketbook to prevent these problems. Pick a day of the month (first Monday, 15th, last day of the month, whatever) and treat your puppy for heartworm, fleas and ticks.

Your vet may recommend brands and most sell the popular brands. You also can buy them over the Internet but do check packages to ensure 1) they are not manufactured in China or India and 2) the product has not expired. 

The heartworm preventive I use is Heartgard Plus which also controls against hookworms and ringworms. It’s a chewable beef-flavored tablet that I cut into four pieces. My puppy gobbles it down.

The flea and tick preventive I use – year round – is NexGard which is taken orally. My puppy has no problem chewing it.

The other health issue is good dental hygiene.

You need to brush your dog’s teeth daily and use a dental chew or toy to help prevent tartar buildup. You can use a toothbrush, finger toothbrush or dental wipes.

Be sure to use only an enzyme toothpaste such as CET Vanilla/Mint Toothpaste made for dogs. Remember, they can’t spit out a toothpaste so you must use one designed to be swallowed.

Please watch this video to see how to brush your dog’s teeth.

Poop Bags

As you begin walk your puppy, you will need to pick up his poop. You can re-purpose your Walmart or grocery store bags or buy poop bags. 

I like to use Out! 100 Count Handle Tie Waste Pick-Up Bags for Dogs because they open easily, don’t leak, minimize odor and have handles that tie securely. 

Carry bags and turn them inside out to pick up the poop. Tie off and drop in the nearest trash bin.


How often you bathe your puppy will depend on where he plays and how dirty or smelly he gets. Be sure to rinse thoroughly so you don’t leave a residue of shampoo.

Use a tearless shampoo such as MagicCoat Puppy Tearless Shampoo or a soapless shampoo such as DECHRA DermaBenSS Shampoo.  I use this on my puppies and dogs because I think it helps avoid allergic reactions. 

Stain and Odor

There will be housetraining accidents. You must use an enzyme cleaner to get rid of poop and pee odor. If you use a regular cleaner such as ammonia, a ‘green’ or homemade one such as vinegar, you may not smell any residue odor but your dog will. That odor says to him: ‘pee here.’

The granddaddy of dog odor removers is Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover and the product I still use today. It gets rid of all my dog’s stains and odors and has not discolored or harmed any carpet or furniture.

Highly recommended.


You’ll need to experiment to find the type of toy your puppy likes best. Some like plush chew toys. Others prefer squeaky ones. Some like bouncy balls and some prefer rope toys. Test a few on your puppy.

Every puppy will chew especially as he’s teething. A good trick is to put his favorite chew toy in the freezer as the cold will help soothe irritated gums.

There’s no reason you can’t ‘trick’ your dog and give him a toy that is as good for his teeth as it is fun to play with. Nylabone is the grandfather of this concept and one of the most popular dental chew toys for small dogs is the Nylabone Pro Action Advanced K-9 Dental Device.

If you’re a dedicated Kong fan, consider the Small Dental Kong with Rope. The rope makes it easy for him to drag his toy around the house.

Just be sure to buy only small sizes and inspect his toys at least once or twice a year. If they’re coming apart, throw then away. You don’t want your puppy
to choke on a piece of broken toy.

I suspect you will be buying much more for your puppy, but these items are the necessities. Good luck.

Compensation Disclosure: This site receives compensation for referred sales of some or all mentioned products.

How to Stop Your Neighbor’s Dog from Barking

Nine Steps to Take and Two Steps to Avoid


1. Start with an anonymous, gentle approach

Gentle because some novice puppy/dog owners do not realize Fido is barking his head off when he’s left alone or outside all day.

Never leave a threatening or belligerent note because you never know who might see you dropping it off! If you don’t want to leave it, send it through the mail.

Try something like –


Dear Neighbor,

You may not realize that your puppy/dog is barking all day while you’re gone. {or barking all night while he’s outside).

He may be bored, scared and lonely.  All of us in the neighborhood would appreciate your attention to this.

Another Dog Lover

You might Google an article on how to keep a dog occupied when the owner’s at work and include it with your letter.

Keep a copy of your note and any attachment.

Anonymous because there are plenty of nuts out there and many of them own dogs. They enjoy annoying their neighbors and, in fact, consider any act of decency on their part to be a loss of position. Don’t provoke them unless and until you must.

Give the gentle note at least a 10-days to see if there’s any improvement.

2. Notify your landlord or homeowners association (HOA)

If you rent or live in an HOA community, call them and explain the problem.

If they appear uninterested or unwilling to do anything, you may need to follow up with a note.

If you have a lease or community Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R’s), review them for provisions on noises and your right to “quiet” or “peaceful enjoyment” of your home.

Warning – some CCRs require “multiple household” complaints to enforce noise rules. Even if your neighbors hate the barking as much as you do, you’ll probably find they’re too apathetic or frightened to work with you. In that case, keep reading.

See if your lease discusses noise control especially after 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m. or other “nuisance” or “disturbance” provisions. If your lease has it, the dog owner’s has as well.

Send your landlord/HOA a letter referencing the applicable language. Again, do not threaten or attack (they’ll be time for that if these early steps don’t work).

State that the barking is keeping your awake/unable to work at home/etc and ask that they enforce the rules of the HOA or lease.

Do NOT give ultimatums. If the other side doesn’t respond/act, you might have to eat your words, and they’ll never again take you seriously.

State the facts, reference the appropriate lease/CCR provisions and ask them to take action.

3. Ratchet up the approach to the neighbor

If you’re not renting, there’s no HOA and the gentle anonymous note didn’t work, you need a stronger letter. It can still be anonymous.

Get a copy of your local/state ordinance or law that would cover loud noises. Some cities have specific ordinances on dog barking.

With the Internet, this is likely to be easy. Visit your city or county’s official website and do a search. If you can’t find it, call the city attorney’s office or county’s District/Prosecuting/State’s attorney office and ask them. Sorry about all the names but states use different terminology.

Get a copy of the ordinance/law and mail it to your neighbor with a stronger note.

Do not threaten or attack but do state that if the situation does not improve, you’ll be forced to notify the authorities.

Ask them to help their dog by keeping him inside at night or leaving him toys to keep him busy during the day (whatever is appropriate in your case).

Again, wait at least 10 days to see if that helps.

Be sure to date the note and keep a copy.

4. Try technology and remain anonymous

Technology 1
If you don’t want to go to the authorities or you’re afraid of your neighbor, make use of technology.

Mount a DOGTEK Sonic BirdHouse Bark Control Outdoor/Indoor. It looks like a harmless bird feeder. 

It may take a few days for the dog to associate the high-frequency sound with his barking and realize that you can’t have one without the other.

When this works – and some breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers do not seem affected and it won’t work on hearing impaired dogs – it’s fantastic because your neighbor won’t hear it, and probably won’t recognize what it is.

If you live in an apartment with paper thin walls, it’s also worth trying. Mount it against the wall. If you can hear the dog, it’s likely the dog will be able to hear the ultrasonic blast.

There also is a hand-held Viatek Bark Stop DOG MASTER with Laser. If the dog only bothers you when you’re outside, you press the trigger about one second on and four off – until the dog quiets down. Again, it will take him a couple times for him to realize the cause and effect.

If neither one works for you, visit Bark Stoppers for other suggestions.

Technology II

Try headphones and earplugs so you don’t hear the dog. Macks Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs can be molded in your ear and are great for sleeping. If you can hear the dog through the ear plugs, you really do have a major, major problem. Keep reading.

5. If technology or letters don’t work, start keeping a log

This is a written or video record of when and for how long the dog is barking. You can create a computer log, use an old calendar or buy a fancy notebook log.

Just note the date and time the barking started and when it stopped. If there were any outside causes for the barking (such as garbage men or letter carrier show up), be sure to note that.

You will need this record for the authorities or legal action you may take. Have your log for at least a week before you contact the authorities.

If you have a Smartphone or camera, make video recordings that show the time and date of the incidents. Have several recordings over different time periods. The first thing any irresponsible owner says to the authorities is ‘my dog never did this before.’ You’ll have evidence to prove that’s not correct.

6. File a complaint with law enforcement

This may be the police or animal control, depending on where you live.

The police are often effective when they come. Note, the “when they come.” Dog barking complaints rarely are a priority with them, and they may not arrive in a timely manner. In some areas, they only come if there’s nothing else going on; e.g., murder, rape, robbery, etc.

Animal control may or may not be effective. It depends on your area. With your log showing that this is a chronic problem, you have a better chance of getting their attention and help.

Provide animal control or the police with copies of your written letters to the neighbor and your log.

In many areas, you will be required to sign a complaint so your neighbor then will know it’s you who has been complaining. There’s no way around this.

If police or animal control aren’t responsive, ask for assistance from your mayor, city councilman or county commissioner. Remember, everyone has a supervisor.

Using the authorities is an irrevocable course so make certain that you are ready for the fall-out and that the authorities will do something worthwhile such as charge the dog owner with a misdemeanor or take custody of the dog(s).

One other note, if you live in a community where there is some state or local agency that has oversight, be sure to file a complaint with that agency.

For instance, if your HOA board hasn’t acted and your state has a board that oversees them, send the agency a complaint with a copy of your initial letter to the HOA and send the HOA a copy of your complaint to the agency.

If you’re in Section 8(a) or other assistance housing, ask your case worker for advice and assistance.

P.S. Never exaggerate your problem. Rely on your log to speak for you. It is human-nature to see your problem as monumental but lying or misrepresenting your case to the police may be a criminal offense.

7. Get a lawyer

There are two things a lawyer can do. One is to send a “lawyer” letter to the dog owner or the authorities, public or private, who should have been taking action to stop the dog barking.

Many people- especially landlords and HOAs – will finally act when they get a formal lawyer letter and realize they could be sued.

A lawyer letter is a fairly economical way to go and may force some action.

The other thing a lawyer may do is get a restraining order against the dog’s owner. The order may require the owner to keep the dog indoors or some other action that stops the noise. These can’t be obtained through Small Claims Court so you need a lawyer.

A restraining order may be expensive; the dog’s owner may counter-sue and it may be a prolonged financial and emotional process through the courts.

It’s often effective, however, because the dog’s owner could be arrested if he violates the order.

An alternative to the restraining order is mediation or arbitration and your lawyer could offer this to the dog’s owner. It’s not that this isn’t workable, it’s that when it’s reached this point, the dog owner is apt to be a 100% nut and may be too emotionally deranged or violent to cooperate in a mediation.

8. Sue in Small Claims Court

All states today allow people to bring actions in Small Claims Court without a lawyer. The amount of money you can ask for is limited, usually between $2,000 and $10,000.

You will need your written or electronic log, copies of police or animal control reports (both should provide you copies often for a nominal fee) and ideally, witnesses other than yourself.

You will have to describe how the barking prevented you from doing normal activities (such as sleeping), give evidence of the barking (through your logs, etc) and show that you asked the person to stop the noise (copies of your anonymous or signed letters).

Once you have a judgment, if the neighbor doesn’t pay, you can attach their bank account or get a lien on their home. If the barking continues, you can sue them again but you’ll probably want to move on to the next step.

Buy or borrow the Nolo Press book, Everybody’s Guide to Small Claims Court so you know what to expect.

9. When all else fails, move but disclose the barking

Be aware that in many states you must disclose to potential buyers that there is a nuisance in the neighborhood; i.e., the barking dog(s).

California actually had such a court case and the homeowner who was trying to sell lost the case because he didn’t tell the real estate agent or buyer about the barking dogs.

Two Steps to Avoid

1. Don’t shoot the dog

I’m serious. Do not get to the point that you poison or harm the dog or the owner or the owner’s home.

Yes, you know better but lack of sleep can distort your thinking. Your reputation, credit rating and bank accounts may be seriously damaged if you react violently – no matter how provoked.

2. Don’t confront the owner

Sometimes people recommend that you tape the dog and play it over and over on a loud speaker. Or, they recommend calling the dog’s owner at 2 a.m. when the dog is barking. This can prove embarrassing if your neighbor has caller id.

These things probably worked in the non-litigious past, but they are apt to get you into trouble today. You can be sued or you can be reported as a stalker for too often or too vigorously contacting the dog’s owner.

Some nutty dog owners will try to provoke you so you look like the trouble maker to authorities. Do not play into their hands.

Keep your contact with the dog owner to a minimum. You should rely on written contact and the authorities and avoid situations where it is just you and the dog’s owner.

Unfortunately, there are many violent people in the world and you don’t want to get in their line of fire.

Good luck.

Compensation Disclosure: This site receives compensation for referred sales of some or all mentioned products.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Vital Statistics:

  • Life span:
    9-14 years
  • Adult weight:
    10-18 pounds
  • Adult height:
    12-13 inches

What’s good and bad about the Cavalier?


  • Sensitive and loyal to his owner
  • Cheerful and affectionate, your lap will be among his favorite places
  • Easily trained, he wants to please


  • A dependent personality, this is not a dog to leave home alone all day
  • He’s a shedder and requires regular brushing and combing
  • His spaniel instincts will cause him to chase small prey
  • Heart diseases, mild to major, are common. Insist on appropriate tests before buying

Who could resist these?

Toy Manchester Terrier

Toy Manchester Terrier
Toy Manchester Terrier

The Toy Manchester is the same dog as the regular Manchester EXCEPT the Toy is smaller (maximum 12 pounds) and can’t have cropped ears

Vital Statistics:

  • Life span:
    15-16 years
  • Adult weight:
    7-12 pounds
  • Adult height:
    10-12 inches

What’s good and bad about the Manchester?


  • Excellent watchdog
  • Perfect companion for joggers and other active owners
  • Minimal grooming, just brush his coat once a week
  • Tends to be one owner dog and often follows owner around
  • Will be happy on your lap but only after he gets his exercise


  • May be possessive and nippy of his food when
    he isn’t tearing around your home
  • May chase cats and other small animals
  • He’s a terrier – don’t let him dig up your yard
  • He’s a terrier – he will bark at anything

Can you do this?

Miniature Pinscher


Min Pin
Min Pin

Known as the King of Toys, he is not a miniature Doberman (or any other breed) but a separate and older breed of dog

Vital Statistics:

  • Life span: 13-14 years
  • Adult weight: 8-10 pounds
  • Adult height: 10-12.5 inches

What’s good and bad about the Min Pin?


  • Excellent watchdog who wouldn’t hesitate to go after an intruder
  • Active and high-energy, he’s your workout buddy
  • Brave, playful and adventurous


  • Curiosity and high-energy may cause him to take off any time he gets a chance. (He’ll daydream about how to tippy toe out of your house)
  • Fragile and doesn’t realize it. If he gets hurt, he may react aggressively. Not a pet for small children
  • He can be a handful; this is not the dog for novice dog owners

King of Toys is also the king of hearts.




Perfect for people who work and own a vacuum

Vital Statistics:

  • Life span:
    13-15 years
  • Adult weight:
    8-14 pounds
  • Adult height:
    8-9 inches

What’s good and bad about the Peke?


  • Good watchdog who’ll bark at strangers
  • Independent dog who can stand being left alone while you work
  • Perfect for apartments; he may need to be made to take a walk
  • Small but not as dainty or lightweight as some Toy breeds (just wait until you try to lift one)


  • Cats may be tolerated but children and other dogs usually aren’t
  • Daily grooming is a must and shedding will be noticeable
  • Needs air conditioning; he can’t tolerate heat and humidity (just look at his coat)

 Adorable little puppies.



Big ears, big heart

Vital Statistics:

  • Life span:
    12-15 years
  • Adult weight:
    8-10 pounds
  • Adult height:
    8-11 inches

What’s good and bad about the Papillon?


  • He’s perfect size for apartment and condo dwellers
  • An affectionate, devoted companion who enjoys being fussed over
  • Very smart and trainable; you’ll see many Papillons in dog competitions


  • Daily grooming is best; shedding is noticeable
  • Large households may overwhelm him
  • Too fragile for roughhousing
  • His fragility combined with his energy can be difficult for some owners to manage

They are cute.



Ideal for former cat owners who want to get a dog

Vital Statistics:

  • Life span:
    12-16 years
  • Adult weight:
    3-7 pounds
  • Adult height:
    8-11 inches

What’s good and bad about the Pom?


  • A good watchdog
  • He does well in obedience class and his exercise needs are minimal
  • A definite lapdog who lives to be pampered
  • He is well suited to an apartment


  • Needs to be socialized as a puppy to avoid excessive barking and possessiveness
  • He sheds, make sure you own a good vacuum cleaner
  • Regular dental care is required, as he will lose his teeth if not properly tended

See how charming these little ones are.