What you can expect from us and your NW Collie
Following protocols used successfully by several breeders and by the US Military as part of their canine “Super Dog” Program, we have chosen to implement ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) on days 3-16 with our puppies.
Five gentle exercises are:
1) Tactile Stimulation
2) Head held erect
3) Head pointed down
4) Supine position
5) Thermal stimulation
• Improved cardiovascular performance (heart rate)
• Stronger heartbeats
• Stronger adrenal glands
• More tolerance to stress and
• Greater resistance to diseases.
By practicing these 5 safe and simple exercises for 3-5 seconds with each puppy once a day, we are taking advantage of a narrow window in which controlled stimuli kick start the neurological system resulting in increased tolerance to stress and enhanced coping skills later in life. For more details about this process you can watch a short video clip on Dr. Carmen Battaglia’s website.
Also, you can read more on Early Neurological Stimulation in the super-dog program at Kennel von Lotta.
Along with routine attention to health and physical development, our puppies also receive gentle handling and cuddling from day 1. Puppies will gain experience being rubbed and examined around their ears, muzzle, mouth, toes, tail, etc. to help them become comfortable with any future handling and gentle restraint they may need. Because our puppies are born and raised in our home. They are handled by multiple people (men, women, responsible children) every day. They will have the opportunity to meet “strangers” and experience numerous social interactions with people and other dogs.
Our goal with puppies is to allow them to experience many of the things they will encounter for the rest of their life in a controlled, safe, environment to build their confidence gradually without overwhelming them and creating fear responses.
One of the ways to jump-start your puppies’ brain for problem-solving is by building her confidence with cognitive challenges. These challenges, such as finding her way over a low barrier to reach her food, or around a gate to reach her food, will gradually increase in difficulty so that the puppy can think through a solution without being defeated and overwhelmed. A variety of challenges will be introduced such as going through tunnels, in and out of boxes, searching for food or toys by scent, and using a food dispensing ball, etc. All these challenges are done and supervised in a puppy secure environment.
Rule of 7
One of the ways we accomplish socialization is by using the Rule of 7 developed by Dr. Carmen Battaglia. These experiences should be kept safe and positive. There is no specific training occurring in these situations, but rather just exposure to new experiences in a supervised environment. By the time a puppy is 3 months old, he should have experienced the following:
Been on 7 different types of surfaces: carpet, tile, linoleum, concrete, etc.
Played with 7 different types of objects: rope toys, plush toys, balls, metal items, etc.
Been in 7 different locations: front and back yard, kitchen, car, garage, etc.
Met and played with 7 new people: including children and older adults, someone tall, someone in a hat, someone on crutches, etc.
Been exposed to 7 challenges: climb on a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, etc.
Eaten from 7 different containers: metal, plastic, human hands, pie plate, elevated bowl, etc.
Eaten in 7 different locations: crate, yard, exercise pen, laundry room, etc.
Desensitization and Conditioning
A puppy’s eyes and ears are closed for about the first two weeks of life. But they are still experiencing scents, touch, vibrations, taste, and other sensations. As a puppy begins to hear and enters a stage of low fear response, we will provide them with opportunities to hear a variety of sounds and vibrations that they will experience later in life. By exposing puppies to these sounds and sensations incrementally and in a secure environment, they will become desensitized to them. The goal is to eliminate fearful behaviors by using controlled early exposure. By carefully simulating different handling sensations, puppies will be gently desensitized to the bumps, squeezes, and grabs that often accompany being around children.
Along with household sounds, puppies will also be exposed to recordings of thunder, fireworks, traffic, a variety of music at different volumes, animal sounds, crying babies, gunshots, objects of different types being dropped. All these things will be done below the fear response threshold. A puppy can learn that even when they are startled that there is nothing to fear. Even though the puppy may startle, how fast can he/she recover? Does he/she panic and become inconsolable, or does he/she startle and quickly return to a calm state? This is one step in achieving more confident puppies.