Early Neurological Stimulation
Early Scent Introduction
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.
What is ENS?
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 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.
What is 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.