If you’ve wondered what exactly early neurological stimulation (ENS) is, keep reading! We’ll discuss what it is, how it works, and why you should expect it from your puppy breeder.

What is ENS?

Having a well-socialized pup is important in having a happy, well-adjusted dog. And research has shown that socializing and character development can start right when a puppy is born. A puppy breeder can do a lot to make sure their puppies have an excellent start!

So, enter ENS: early neurological stimulation. This was first developed by the US military to improve the performance of future military dogs. Based on research, the Military concluded that puppies experience their first rapid neurological development during the neonatal period, so it’s the optimal time to conduct neurological stimulation exercises.

But what exactly is early neurological stimulation? Put simply, ENS introduces puppies to mild forms of stressors and stimulations.

Why Are We Stressing Our Puppies?

Stressing puppies can sound a little intense…but it’s not as bad as it sounds (we promise!), and there is a method behind it all.

The reason quality breeders utilize ENS when raising their pups is for its many benefits, but the biggest benefit is early desensitization. ENS helps desensitize puppies to human touch and body handling, which is crucial for any dog’s proper development. As ENS introduces puppies to mild stimulation, it helps to desensitize puppies to stress. This, in turn, can greatly affect how they react to different stressors later on in life. As a result, puppies can withstand stressful situations much better and are less likely to react in a fearful, anxious, or aggressive manner.

We should note that this doesn’t mean dogs who have been introduced to ENS when they were a pup don’t have any stress at all. Rather, they can tolerate stress better and react in a more appropriate manner.

Benefits of ENS

Of course, the benefits don’t just stop at desensitization. It’s been observed that puppies that have been exposed to ENS are better at problem-solving and have a more curious and active nature. Some other benefits also include:

  • Improved cardiovascular performance
  • Stronger heart beats
  • Improved heart rate
  • Stronger adrenal glands
  • Greater resistance to disease.

ENS has been scientifically proven that what you do with puppies during those critical first weeks can result in improved overall health. It is simple, easy to implement, and has no associated costs to breeders. When looking for a bernedoodle puppy breeder (or any breeder, for that matter), ask if they utilize ENS, as it sets your puppy up to be successful and healthy.

The Exercises

The early neurological stimulation method consists of five different body-handling exercises. These are simple and harmless exercises a puppy breeder will do once a day with each pup for a very short amount of time. These exercises are typically started on days 3 through 16 since that’s when rapid neurological growth and development occurs.

These five exercises include:

  • Tactical stimulation – the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup.
  • Head erect – the handler holds the puppy perpendicular to the floor, head up.
  • Head down – the handler holds the puppy perpendicular to the floor, head down.
  • Supine – the handler holds the puppy on its back, muzzle towards the ceiling.
  • Thermal stimulation – the handler places the puppy on a cool, damp towel, feet down and unrestrained.

Things to Consider

When it comes to ENS, there are many benefits it can provide a puppy. But along with ENS, another crucial part of a puppy’s development is early socialization. Although ENS for puppies provides some form of socialization, it should be accompanied by other ways of socialization as well. A puppy breeder can introduce socialization in the form of stroking and playing with littermates and toys, but breeders can only do so much. A pet owner must also make sure they continue socializing their pup by meeting people of all ages and meeting other dogs (when they are vaccinated and old enough).

And, of course, while ENS has its many perks, it should only be done with extreme caution and care. Meaning a puppy breeder who has experience. This is because stimulation and stress should be kept at a minimum at all costs. Even though small amounts of stress can be beneficial to a puppy’s neurological development and health, excessive stress can lead to the exact opposite.

It’s Time for Some Bernedoodle Puppy Love!

We hope this helps shed some light on what early neurological stimulation is. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, as this is a method we use when raising our bernedoodles.

If you’re considering adding a bernedoodle to your family, Alpine Bernedoodles is ready to help. We are located in the beautiful town of Montrose, Colorado, and it is our passion to produce exceptional quality bernedoodles. Our bernedoodles are bred with responsibility and integrity to be cherished family companions. Every puppy is raised with attention to physical and mental health and nurtured with love and care. Thank you for your interest in our puppies!