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Early puppy development protocol

Updated: Aug 27

Neurological stimulation is believed to have an important positive effect on a puppies development. The first several weeks of life is when rapid neurological growth and development happens. During this time our puppies are exposed to gentle stressors which have been found to have many positive lifelong health and social benefits.

Health benefits:

  • improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate),

  • stronger heart beats and adrenal glands.

  • The show a greater resistance to disease,

Social benefits:

  • more tolerance to stress,

  • more exploratory,

  • improved problem solving,

  • less disturbed or upset by test conditions,

  • more calm in the test environment,

  • made fewer errors in tests, and

  • gave only an occasional distress sound when stressed.


The Protocol:

Early neurological stimulation : Birth to 2 weeks

  • Tactile stimulation - We hold each puppy for a few minutes a few times a day. We tickle between their toes, hold them in different positions, and expose them to gentle changes in temperature.

  • Gentle aural stimulation - We expose puppies to simple auditory stressors like doorbells, vacuums, hairdryers, vehicles, horns, barking dogs, kids playing, music etc. starting at a very low volume.

Novel Stimulation & Socialization - 2 weeks +

  • Continue with aural stimulation

  • Offer new toys, objects, and cold bottles into the weeping bed

  • Exposure to different textures like flooring types, carpet, and fabrics

  • Interaction with other healthy dogs and humans

Enrichment Activities - 4 weeks +

  • Acclimate to the outdoors, all kinds of weather.

  • Exposure to grooming tools: ear cleaning, brushing, bathing, nail trimming etc.

  • Drinking and eating from a bowl

Enrichment Activities - 6 weeks +

  • Begin treat and crate training,

  • Expose them to wearing collars, leash walking, and car drives

  • Begin housebreaking

Note: Fear imprint period - 8 to 12 weeks

  • After pups leave the Ranch, between 8 and 12 weeks, puppies experience a Fear Imprint Period, where traumatic experiences to stimuli that induce fear may be generalized and produce lifelong aversion responses. As a result, elective surgery should be put off until after week 12, and veterinary visits should be made positive with treats.





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