Early Neurological Stimulation? Why exactly?
Early Neurological Stimulation, or ENS, is a protocol used by some breeders to confer benefits to the puppy's neurological system at an age where a slight stress to the system causes it to be strengthened for a lifetime.
The best window of time is days 3-16 of the puppy's life.
There are five exercises that are done with each puppy for a maximum of 5 seconds per exercise.
Lifelong benefits are:
Greater tolerance to stress.
Greater resistance to disease.
Faster adrenal system when the dog needs it.
Stronger heart rate.
Stronger heart beat.
1. Tactile Stimulation
Gently rubbing a Q-tip between the pads of the feet stimulates the skin of the puppy and wakes up the neurological system.
2. Hold Head Up
Blood drains from the brain in this position. Neurological system tells the heart to pump blood up into the brain maintaining equilibrium.
3. Hold Head Down
Now too much blood is running to the head. We've presented the neurological system with a new problem to adapt to.
The puppy is cradled on its back in our hands. Most puppies resist this though ours seem to love it after a few days. Again, the neurological system is being challenged because the puppy wants to right itself.
5. Thermal Stimulation
We take a cold, wet rag and place it on the floor generally (for safety). The puppy is placed with all four feet on the rag. The neurological system is responding to a temperature change. We don't restrict their movements; they can wiggle off the rag.
Early Neurological Stimulation is different from the routine handling and stroking that a breeder does. ENS is specific stimulation that is unlikely to occur in routine handling.
The benefits these exercises confer to the puppy are worth the time this takes. Our puppies have always had ENS, but I have read anecdotal reports from breeders' observations of litters with and without ENS performed. One breeder reported the ENS puppies seemed more alert and quicker to respond to any learning task. Another said her ENS puppies were noticeably quicker to recover from new/stressful situations.
We are happy to offer ENS to our puppies being hopeful that the benefits are conferred and bless their lives and the lives of those families that love them.