All of the puppies that we raise, undergo a series of exercises at a very young age known as Early Neurological Stimulation or ENS. These stimulation exercises were developed by the world renowned Dr. Carmen Battaglia, known best for his publication Breeding Better Dogs. His work with dog breeding, regarding inheritance and genetics has been the foundation of many successful breeding programs. But it was his work with the United States Military as they sought assistance to develop a program to better prepare future military service dogs for duty that created the ENS exercises for puppies.
This series of simple exercises performed from day 3 of a puppies life, through day 16 has been proven to decrease the dogs reaction to stress over the duration of their lifetime, as well as making them less prone to disease. There are cardiovascular and adrenal benefits that are seen as well when ENS is initiated during this critical period of developement. Performing ENS on our puppies gives them the best possible start to a happy healthy life, and it only takes about 30 seconds per day!
There are five separate exercises that are performed individually on each puppy. The length of each exercise is only 3-5 seconds long, so it takes less than 30 seconds a day to make a lasting impact on their entire life! The only supplies needed are a cold and damp hand towel and a Q-tip.
The first exercise that is performed is tactile stimulation, or simply tickling their toes with a Q-tip. The puppy is held upright with one hand, while the Q-tip gently stimulates the pad and the toes of the paw. I also personally feel this particular exercise helps to develop puppies and dogs that are accepting of their paws being handled, which is invaluable for a lifetime of easy nail trims and grooming.
The second exercise is the puppy held in an upright position, firmly grasped in hand, but minimally supported, the puppies head is directly above it's tail for this exercise.
Next the puppy is tipped upside down, it's head is now pointing toward the floor and tail is directly over the head.
My personal favorite is holding the puppy in the supine position. The puppy is gently cradled between both hands, laying on it's back with the nose pointed towards the ceiling.
And last but not least, the thermal stimulation exercise. In this exercise we have a damp hand towel that has been placed in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes, or in the freezer for about 30 seconds is laid on the ground and the puppy is then placed on the towel. (This exercise should always be performed on the ground, as a puppy may wiggle off of a higher surface and be injured in a fall.) The puppies are not restrained from moving during the short 3-5 seconds that they are on the towel.
Following the stimulation exercises, the puppies go immediately back into the warm whelping box to cuddle with mom and their littermates. We are committed to our dogs and therefor, committed to incorporating ENS into the life of every puppy that we raise.
For more in depth information on Dr. Carmen Battaglia and his ENS exercises visit:
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I am the owner of Prodigy Farms and only second to the love for my dogs, is my love for educating dog owners on canine care and behavior. I am the stay at home mom of three amazing boys that are active in the rearing of our puppies. With a background in nursing and years spent competing in the dog world, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve that I like to share with others here. So welcome to my blog, I hope that you are blessed by your visit and will find tools and information here that will enable you to raise and train a happy healthy dog to create a lifetime of joy with!