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From birth we start our puppies on low levels of sounds, that are slowly introduced. Gradually over time this process will assist in prevention of sound phobias in our dogs.
At DoodlesAreOurfamily, we recently began the process of Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) Training. Once a day, starting when the puppies are 3 days old we introduce ENS. This process is continued for about 2 weeks.
This introduces small, mild stressors to very young puppies in a controlled way. These stressors help stimulate the neurological system which improves the growth and development of the pup’s immune system, cardiovascular system, and stress tolerance. This assist in the enhancement with the natural abilities of these dogs, and is said to lead to faster maturation and better problem-solving abilities later in life.
Statistics show there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a short window of time that begins at the third day of life, lasting until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the pup.
The "Bio Sensor" program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized six exercises which were designed to stimulate the neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in order of preference, the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:
ENS is done for 2 consecutive weeks starting 3 days after the puppies are born. The process consists of 5 simple and harmless exercises, which are: tactile stimulation, lying in the supine position, held with head held up, tilted upside down, and thermal stimulation. Each exercise is done for 3-5 seconds the entire process takes about 30 seconds. Tactile stimulation is done by gently tickling or touching in between each of the pup’s toes with a Q-tip. The supine position is achieved by holding the pup in both hands belly up (some pups squirm in this position so a solid but gentle two handed hold is necessary). To hold the pup with head up simply hold the pup in both hands so that the tail is pointed to the ground and the head is above the tail towards the ceiling. From the Head held up position tilt the pup over and hold so the head is towards the ground and the tail is towards the ceiling. Using a damp cool towel for the thermal stimulation. You lay the pup right side up with its belly on the damp cool towel.
These 5 painless and simple exercises are done to prepare our pups for their life’s journey. Only 30 seconds a day for 2 weeks and we see a great improvement in their immune systems and stress tolerances. We will continue to do Early Neurological Stimulation on our pups because we see the benefits and know it helps them grown into lovable canine citizens.
1. Tactile stimulation - holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds. (Figure 1)
2. Head held erect - using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds (Figure 2).
3. Head pointed down - holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 - 5 seconds (Figure 3).
4. Supine position - hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds. (Figure 4)
5. Thermal stimulation—use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds. (Figure 5)
These five exercises will produce neurological stimulations, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. Experience shows that sometimes pups will resist these exercises, others will appear unconcerned. In either case a caution is offered to those who plan to use them. Do not repeat them more than once per day and do not extend the time beyond that recommended for each exercise. Over stimulation of the neurological system can have adverse and detrimental results. These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected, the result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance. Those who play with their pups and routinely handle them should continue to do so because the neurological exercises are not substitutions for routine handling, play socialization or bonding.
Benefits of Stimulation
Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises. The benefits noted were:
1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
2. Stronger heart beats,
3. Stronger adrenal glands,
4. More tolerance to stress, and
5. Greater resistance to disease.
In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non- stimulated littermates over which they were dominant in competitive situations. Secondary effects were also noted regarding test performance. In simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, whined a great deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions and when comparisons were made, the stimulated littermates were more calm in the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only an occasional distress sound when stressed.
We have each puppy temperament tested by a trained individual, these test are completed in an atmosphere that the puppy is not familiar with. This test is completed when the puppies reach 7 weeks of age. These test results are indicators, though keep in mind the temperament of your puppy as an adult, will be dependent on many factors, including training and parenting from you (the pet owner). As well as life experiences as your puppy grows. Not all puppies will have the same test results, and the differences will assist in placing the puppy in the most appropriate environment. We start with the Volhard test and our tester adds to this list for working type dogs. In our case therapy and hunting.
The tests are as follows:
1. Social Attraction - degree of social attraction to people, confidence or dependence.
2. Following - willingness to follow a person.
3. Restraint - degree of dominant or submissive tendency, and ease of handling in difficult situations.
4. Social Dominance - degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person.
5. Elevation - degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, such as at the veterinarian or groomer.
6. Retrieving - degree of willingness to do something for you. Together with Social Attraction and Following a key indicator for ease or difficulty in training.
7. Touch Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to touch and a key indicator to the type of training equipment required.
8. Sound Sensitivity - degree of sensitivity to sound, such as loud noises or thunderstorms.
9. Sight Sensitivity - degree of response to a moving object, such as chasing bicycles, children or squirrels.
10. Stability - degree of startle response to a strange object.