EARLY STRESS PRODUCES PUPPIES WHO CAN COPE WITH CHANGE. This is why we adopted the Bio Sensor method for our Labradoodle puppies.
Dr. Battaglia writes in his article on Early Neurological Stimulation that research has shown that during the first weeks of a puppy’s life he is sensitive to thermal, tactile and motion stimuli. The effects of early stimulation on mice and rats has also been studied.
Tests on the effect of early stimulation in puppies and kittens showed they were better able to problem solve than their non-stressed litter mates.
The U.S. Military in their canine program developed a method that still serves as a guide to what works. In an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called “Bio Sensor” was developed. Later, it became known to the public as the “Super Dog” Program.
Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins at the third day of life and lasts 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 individual.
The “Bio Sensor” program uses the early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a superior advantage. Its development utilized five 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 nor order of preference the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup.
STRESS MUST BE CAREFULLY ADMINISTERED
Dr. Battaglia recommends caution and care as too much stress in the life of a young animal can be extremely harmful to development. The US Military has done extensive research into early stimulation of puppies in order to produce good working dogs. Once and only once a day each puppy has a series of 5 exercises:
These exercises are to be done for between 3 and 5 seconds.
- 1. Rub the puppy between her toes. This is tactile stimulation.
- 2. Hold the puppy carefully in a vertical position with her head erect.
- 3. Hold the puppy and support her neck. Hold her with her head pointed down. (she is upside down)
- 4. Hold the puppy on her back.
- 5. Place the puppy on a cold surface. We place a cloth on an ice pack, put the puppy on her tummy on the cloth and let her wiggle off herself.
These five exercises will produce neurological stimuli, none of which will naturally occur during this early period of life. These exercises will 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 their 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.
These exercises are not to be done more than once per day, as over stimulation of the neurological system can have adverse and detrimental results.
Five benefits have been observed in canines that were exposed to the Bio Sensor stimulation exercises:
- Improved cardiovascular performance
- Stronger heart beats,
- Stronger adrenal glands,
- More tolerance to stress
- Greater resistance to disease
In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non- stimulated litter mates. They tended to be less aggressive in competitive situations.
THE NEXT STEP IS SOCIAL INTERACTION
This early stimulation must be followed by socialization as the puppy is older. At two weeks the puppies are developing other senses. They can see and hear. By four weeks they are noticing the world around them.
Dr. Battaglia and others have found that there is a critical period in both the life of a human as well as other animals in which socialization must take place. An important study of human socialization was done by Scott and Fuller. Their findings and the findings of others concur that humans must have a great deal of social contact between three weeks and twelve months. With puppies the period is shorter but no less critical. This initial social period must come between four and sixteen weeks. This means that a breeder must be diligent in having a puppy of four weeks meet and be handled by as many different people as possible.
It’s also beneficial when the puppy’s mother is allowed to wean freely and teach the puppy her many lessons as the puppy grows. If a puppy is left in a detached kennel with the same person cleaning and feeding two or three times a day the puppy will not develop socially. It’s important to know your breeder and how the puppy you buy has been cared for since his birth.