That's the best description I've heard, thanks. I'll look more closely next time I post, and try to do it right, this time. Using some of the other pics on this site, it appeared to me that the "pocket" was what I call the bell of the ear.
There was a really good posted series of pictures (marked with circles and arrows) that ended up without pictures when the online posting site decided after the fact to charge for third party hosting so I can't refer to that.
Yeah, unfortunately (and someone actually pointed out this) sometimes people refer to the bell as a "pocket" when they are trying to explain where to place the post itself. Just so there is no mistake--the bell is NOT a pocket. It is really the more rigid curved cartilage at the back, base of the ear--that's what a bell really is.
I always placed the bumper towards the bell, which I thought was the pocket, even though it looked like a normal bell to me. This is a common problem with posting. I'd like to see your comment and a few nice close up pics made sticky.
Don't try to orient the "bumper" by any references to the "bell". As far as pictures go--I can hear long time members of the forum laughing--they can all tell you that I DON'T DO PICTURES--and frankly, I don't want to learn--I used to occasionally send pictures my dogs to other people who would post them here for me--but the only reason I had pictures was because I was showing them and I had ring shots for wins. I probably haven't used my very expensive DSL camera in a couple of years and probably wouldn't start trying to get pictures of pockets.
The primary sticky post that I, and i'm sure many others, use is at the top of the puppy forum. To my eyes, it sure appears that the extra backing rod, or bumper rod, is placed in the rear (bell) of the ear, and not at the side towards the head. It's also unclear that the rod should be placed at where the ear and the top of the skull meet.
I better go and look at the stickys because I didn't even think that post had a picture of a pocket much less where the bumper should be placed.
So I'll try to make this very clear in a written format. Pockets form in the pinna (the ear flap or leather) mostly toward the front of the head where the pinna attaches to the skull. Most often just behind where the little flap of skin folds back against the outside of the ear. The bumper (no matter what it is made of--either a chunk of cotton or a small piece of backing rod) would lie parallel to the top of the skull (across the width of the ear) and perpendicular to the ear leather. And it would most often be placed just above where the ear and skull meet.
I'm not complaining about the sticky post. That post took me through my first Dobe with show cut ears, and they came out beautiful. This pup with the tips touching on alert has scared me. I'm overly picky with how the ears should look. Doing it wrong is something i'd never forgive myself for.
The pictures that have opened for me mostly show just one ear really tipping in--not both--and that's the ear I think has a pocket. I also don't think it's even much of a pocket so you shouldn't have a lot of trouble correcting it.
The reason it only shows up when your puppy is alert is because it's a nice long crop and it's only the one ear that tips in.
Does this make it clearer where you need to look for the pocket? I think you've been trying to find it far back at the rear of the ear because you had mistaken the bell for what we've been calling a pocket. The cartilage is so hard (rigid) at the bell (and it's also where the cartilage hardens first) that I've never actually seen a puppy with anything that even resembled a pocket there.
But you aren't the first to think the bell was somehow related to pockets--there is a fairly long thread, mostly between me and a man whose forum name is "Chief" (I think--I'll try to look it up later--it might help you to read it) about some problems he was having when posting.
Good luck--keep asking questions if it's still not clear...