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Puppy Socialization Starts with the Breeder:
Early Neurological Stimulation

Traditionally, the responsibility of socializing puppies has fallen on the new owner. We advise new owners to enroll their puppies in classes and ensure exposure to various people, pets, and environments.

Emerging research suggests that fostering a stable temperament can commence even before a puppy's birth! Breeders hold considerable influence in ensuring their puppies have a solid foundation for adaptability in the face of life's varied situations. Our focus lies within the initial three weeks of the puppies' lives.

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The Initial Three Weeks

The initial three weeks mark a pivotal period in a puppy's development. Puppies remain incredibly vulnerable during this phase. Their eyes typically open around the 10-day mark, while their sense of hearing begins to develop around 2 weeks of age. During this time, the mother dog predominantly tends to the litter, while the breeder's responsibility involves maintaining warmth, safety, and cleanliness.

Crucially, interaction during this phase primarily revolves around tactile experiences. Gently handling and stroking the puppies at least twice a day is paramount. This interaction acquaints them with the pleasure of human touch, setting a foundation for positive experiences.

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Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) is a practice adopted by some breeders to aid in the development of puppies during a crucial growth phase from the third to the 16th days of their lives. This period is believed to be a time of rapid neurological advancement despite the puppies' immaturity.

 

ENS involves specific exercises designed to elicit responses from the puppies.

This method was initially devised by the US Military to enhance the performance of future military working dogs. Dr. Carmen Battaglia, a highly respected breeder, judge, seminar presenter, and AKC board member, incorporated this technique into the Breeding Better Dogs program.

ENS consists of a series of five exercises performed once daily on each puppy individually. The handler initiates the process with one puppy and proceeds through the series of exercises before moving to the next pup. 

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Five Benifits Have Been Observed in Canines that were exposed to ens:

Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)

 

Stronger heart beats

 

Stronger adrenal glands

 

More tolerance to stress

 

Greater resistance to disease

In tests of learning, ENS stimulated pups were more active and exploratory than their non- stimulated littermates, according to Breeding Better Dogs.

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