From the day the puppies are born we handle and work with our puppies.
When they go home they are started on basic manners, bite inhibition, manding, emergency recall, and be started on outdoor potty training
We start handling and working with the puppies at 3 days old using Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) Program.. ENS is a series of specific handling exercises we preform once a day from days 3-16. Why so early? Doing these specific exercises have been proven to strengthen their heart, cardiovascular system and stress responses. We strive to produce happy, healthy puppies who grow into well-adjusted adult dogs. Well-adjusted dogs are less fearful, more focused, and respond appropriately to stress. To accomplish this goal, we raise our dogs using the proven ENS program.
The ENS program was developed by the US Military as part of their “bio-sensor” or "super puppy" program and further studied and popularized by Dr. Carmen Battaglia. Dogs are what’s known as an “altricial” species, meaning they are born in a state where they are born helpless. Puppies can’t see, hear, maintain their own body temperature, or even eliminate on their own at birth. They can slowly crawl very short distances, maybe a few feet at a time. Their helpless state continues until they are about 2-3 weeks old, depending on breed. (Compare this to “precocial” species, such as horses, that within minutes of birth can see, hear, eat, maintain their own body temperature, and run.) At about 2-3 weeks old, puppies start to be able to hear, see, and move around a little better as well as to eliminate on their own. But it’s the period between birth and this beginning of self-sufficiency that is critical for ENS.
Early Neurological Stimulation is a method of stimulating the nervous systems of the puppies during this time period. It’s based on the principle of eustress. Distress is bad stress—stress that is too overwhelming or lasts too long to be healthy. Eustress is good stress. It’s the same kind of stress that causes you to get stronger when you work out. Working out is stressful on the body, but builds the body, while distress is harmful to the body and causes damage of one kind or another.
ENS provides just the right amount of eustress on the nervous system to stimulate development. It’s like a gym workout for the puppies’ nervous system.
We have all heard stories of dogs who are aggressive around new people, scared of new places, or just scared of everything in general! ENS can help prevent these issues and create a more fulfilling relationship for dogs and owners.
ENS is done while the puppies are in their early developmental stage. The stage that follows early development is their socialization period, which is another critical stage to ensure puppies grow and adapt as optimally as possible. ENS helps prepares them for their socialization period when they learn how to interact with and trust humans, other dogs, and other species. Using ENS, we ensure your puppies have the emotional development to handle and meet the challenges of socialization.
There are some extraordinary circumstances where we may not utilize ENS. If there was a difficult labor, poor maternal care, a stressful day or illness, etc. we will not do ENS on the puppies as they are already stressed out in their current environment and adding more stress would not only be un necessary it could be detrimental to their health and well being.
Below are a few links explaining ENS.
Puppy Culture is a program developed by Jane Killion, a professional dog trainer, and breeder. It is a comprehensive, organized program for breeders to follow during the first weeks of a puppy’s life. It is a science backed program with professional behavioralists, veterinarians and other experts all on board to make sure this program works and benefits the puppies.
The first 12 weeks of a puppy’s life are incredibly important. This is an almost magical time when a breeder has the power to change the outcome of a puppy’s life by what we choose to teach him. By doing just the right things at just the right time, we can give your puppy the best start possible.
Making sure that your puppy’s genetic material is excellent is only the beginning. The physical and emotional health of the mother will affect the health of her puppies. Since research has shown that puppies born to mothers that receive prenatal massage are more docile and enjoy being touched, we spoil our mothers with lots of affection and belly massages. A puppy’s predisposition to form deep and meaningful relationships begins even before they are born.
Neonatal Period: 0-14 days
Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) begins on day 3 and continues through day 16. Research shows that tiny struggles and stresses inappropriate small doses are actually good for puppies and will help them grow into strong, healthy well-adjusted adults. Benefits include greater tolerance to stress, greater resistance to disease, faster adrenal system, stronger heart rate, and stronger heartbeat. This is a gift that a breeder can only give their puppies once during the window of 3-16 days.
Transitional Period: 14-21 days
Behavioral markers are used to identify the beginning and end of each developmental period because every puppy is different and these timelines are simply guidelines. The transitional period begins when the puppy’s eyes open and ends when they first startle upon hearing sounds.
Critical Socialization Period: 3-12 weeks
Most people think of socialization as exposing their puppies to as many new experiences as possible while the puppy is young. While this is part of the process, it’s not enough. Our goal is to raise dogs that have the emotional intelligence to connect with you. Emotional intelligence can be taught to young puppies and one of the goals of the Puppy Culture Program is to teach breeders how to do this.
There are 7 key things that will nurture the emotional intelligence of a puppy:
1: Communication – giving a puppy his own voice (Communication Trinity – (power up clicker, box game, manding), attention/distraction protocols)
2: Emotional stability – the ability to recover easily from fear as well as stress (startle recovery, barrier challenges, Volhard Aptitude Test at day 49))
3: Habituation – familiarity with the maximum number of things (Puppy Parties, sound protocols, habituation soundtracks, and noises, meeting different people, dogs, other animals)
4: Enrichment – the view that novelty and challenges are opportunities for enrichment rather than things to be feared or avoided (novelty items, Adventure Box, off-premises socialization)
5: Health – physical wellness and motor skills that will allow the puppy to develop in a neurologically and physically sound way (daily weight checks, grooming, vaccinations, deworming, proper nutrition, vet health checks)
6: Skills – learned behaviors which allow him to function in human society (recall, manding, simple commands, litterbox training, crate training, leash walking, resource guarding, bite inhibition)
7: Love – the desire to seek out the company of both dogs and humans as emotionally positive experiences (shaping emotional responses, Happy and Calm CER (Conditioned Emotional Responses), daily cuddles with humans and mom).
Weeks 8-10: Per Puppy Culture protocol, puppies go home with their families. This gives them two weeks in that critical socialization period to adjust to their new family’s lifestyle and be introduced to new people and experiences.
This is definitely an incredible amount of work, but it is 100% ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!!!!!! When you adopt your puppy, you will be just as thankful as we are for this program!
Puppy Culture has a program for new puppy families that we recommend our future families get. It is a continuation of the PC methods that we use.