Puppies are the most impressionable during their first few months of life which means that, to some degree, you have the power to influence the type of adult your puppy grows up to be. Not only can you shape your puppy’s personality and temperament through socialization, but you can actually influence his cognitive development. Through early neurological stimulation, a technique we use on all of our puppies at Notch Hill Labradoodles, you can maximize your puppy’s brain development and improve his performance later in life. Keep reading to learn more about neurological stimulation and its benefits for puppies.
What is Neurological Stimulation?
From the time they are born until they reach adulthood, puppies grow very quickly. Not only are they increasing in size, however – their brains are growing and developing as well. Most of your puppy’s early neurological growth occurs between three and sixteen days after birth, so this is the ideal time to implement neurological stimulation. The type of neurological stimulation used today was developed by the U.S. Military for their canine program as a means of improving the performance of dogs that were trained for military purposes – it was called the Bio Sensor program.
The Bio Sensor program utilized six specific exercises, each of which was designed to stimulate the puppy’s neurological system. The program involved handling the puppies once a day while performing a set of five exercises – the five exercises are listed below:
Head held erect
Head pointed down
The tactile stimulation exercise involves holding the puppy in one hand and touching his toes with a Q-tip. The second exercise involves holding the pup in both hands so that he is perpendicular to the ground with his head directly above his tail. The head pointed down exercise is the opposite, pointing his head toward the ground. Supine position involves holding the pup on his back, and thermal stimulation involves placing the puppy feet-down on a cool, damp towel. Each of these exercises should be performed carefully and for a period of 3 to 5 seconds.
What Are the Benefits of Neurological Stimulation?
Studies have shown that puppies who receive neurological stimulation by the time they are sixteen days old are better able to cope with stress and that they have stronger problem-solving skills. Not only that, but they show improved cardiovascular performance, stronger immune systems, and better health overall. Though the perfect window for neurological stimulation is three to sixteen days after birth, socialization should be carried out through the first twelve months of life. Early neurological stimulation will get the ball rolling in turning your puppy into a well-adjusted adult, but socialization is still important to continue that trend and to shape your puppy into a healthy and happy adult.
Whether you want to improve your puppy’s performance for a certain purpose or you just want him to develop into a healthy, well-adjusted adult, neurological stimulation is the key. At Notch Hill Labradoodles, we test all of our puppies and put them through early neurological stimulation to ensure optimal performance later in life.