Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS)


Early Scent Introduction (ESI)

You may not have heard of ENS or ESI, but we agree with experts that these exercises are important for a healthier, better dog. That is why we make sure that each of our puppies from 3-16 days old practice these exercises. Day 3-16 is believed to be a time of rapid neurological growth & development.

So what are ENS & ESI? Glad you asked!



 Let's start with Early Neurological Stimulation, or ENS. It was developed by the US military and known as the "Bio Sensor Program," and later referred to by the public as the "Super Dog Program." ENS is believed by some experts to enhance the natural abilities of dogs and give them a superior advantage. It involves subjecting pups aged 3-16 days to 5 forms of stimulation that lead to “stress.” It is said to benefit puppy development in 5 ways:

  • Improved heart rate

  • Stronger heartbeats

  • Stronger adrenal glands

  • Better tolerance to stress

  • Greater resistance to disease

If you are wondering what type of exercises are used, it is quite simple:

  • Tactical stimulation-stimulate the bottom of the paw pads with a cotton swab

  • Hold puppy's head up for 3-5 seconds

  • Hold puppy's head gently down for 3-5 seconds

  • Hold puppy on his back for 3-5 seconds

  • Put puppy's belly down on a cool towel for 3-5 seconds

If you would like to learn more about ENS there is a great article written by Dr. Carmen L Battaglia, who holds a Ph.D. and Masters Degree from Florida State University.

Australian Labradoodle puppy with it's mother

Now let's talk about ESI

Early Scent Introduction (ESI) is done in conjunction with the ENS training. ESI is designed to enhance puppy's ability to identify and react to specific scents. Fun Fact, the area in a dog's brain that processes data picked up by the nose is 40 times larger than in a human brain. So, we could say that a dog’s ability to smell is a function of their intellect. 

How ESI is done:

Simple! We introduce a new scent each day starting at Day 3 & ending Day 16 of puppy's life. We use items such as grass, bark, dirt, pine cones, fruit, herbs, leather, wood, tennis balls, cats, birds, essential oils, but no treats or dog food items. We watch to see if pup engages and for how long. That's it!


If something this simple can improve there abilities as service or therapy dogs, we are all in!!


You can read more about ESI or watch a short video at Avidog's website. 

Australian Labradoodle ESI exercise
Greystone Australian Labradoodles
Australian Labradoodle ESI exercise
Greystone Australian Labradoodles
These photos show 2 of our pups age 10 days old doing their ESI exercise with a ripe banana being used as the scent of the day.