Written by Samary Birkline, © 2020
A great deal is set into stone in the early days of a mammal’s life. This is true for humans, whales, cats, dogs, and every other form of mammal. For decades research has been done in the betterment of mammal rearing, specifically canines. Much has been learned and years of experience has taught the experts that the early days are, perhaps, one of the most, if not THE most, critical time for development in the life of a mammal. From what they consume and what they breathe to the passive and active stimuli upon the brain, the first sixteen days of a pup’s life are critical to it’s development.
This program was developed by the United States Military. Researchers knew that in the first sixteen or so days of a mammal’s life, they are sensitive to a certain grouping of stimuli: locomotion, motion, tactile, and thermal. Studies were performed, in rats and other small mammals, in which one half of a litter were exposed to these restricted stimuli, and while receiving the same standard of care as those that were stimulated, the other half of the litter did not receive the stimuli.
The study consistently found that the litter mates that had been exposed to the minute stressors were much more resistant to twenty-four hours of non-life-threatening stressful stimuli. Rats unexposed to the stimuli developed ulcers and read high-levels of stress. Their exposed litter-mates showed no signs of the stress ulcers and responded with marked improvement over the regular rats.
It also found that the individuals exposed to the early neurological stimuli (ENS) were resistant to certain types of cancer and infectious diseases and were better able to terminal starvation and exposure to cold for longer than their non-exposed litter-mates. The study revealed the exposed individuals became sexually mature faster than the others, as well. The researchers were then able to recreate these results in cats and dogs, finding that not only is the former results applicable to our beloved friends, but that the ENS exposed individuals yielded more positive results in problem solving exercises.
The U.S. Military began using this “Bio Sensor” program to produce superior dogs for a variety of military related careers. When released to the public, it was labeled the “Super Dog Program” and when given access to this data, many breeders jumped at the opportunity to raise their litters this way, thereby enhancing the quality of the dogs they produce.
For the first two days, the pups have just two jobs. They spend forty-eight hours focused on eating and sleeping, but from the third day through the end of the sixteenth day, it is understood that ENS can have powerfully positive results. This is because this window represents the most rapid neurological growth and development. After day sixteen, this growth tapers off and the benefits of further ENS fade with it.
The delivery of ENS is relatively simple, but must be done properly and only once per day, per pup. Performing ENS more than once per day can be counter-productive, causing irreparable harm to the adrenal system. There are five exercises:
Step #1: Stimulation of Toes
Stimuli between the toes of a foot. Most commonly, this is performed with the soft padding of a Q-tip or similar tool. The Kennel Birkline rotates between each of the puppy’s four feet during the course of the fourteen day span of stimuli. Only five seconds of stimuli each day should be introduced to a single paw.
Step#2: Tilting of Head Up
The head of the pup is held up. With the pup’s belly in one flat palm, the other hand is used to gently tilt the head up so that the nose points at about ninety degrees, at the ceiling. The position is held for five seconds, then restored to prone position.
Step#3: Tilting of Head Down
The head of the pup is held down. This is performed by gripping the pup with both hands, using the shoulders to keep the body in place as it is pointed nose-down. This position should have the pup close to perpendicular to the floor, but not so much that the pup is in danger of slipping out to the floor. After five seconds, the pup should be returned to prone position again.
Step#4: Supine Positioning
The pup is then held supine; on its back, cradled between two hands, and gently held there for five seconds. Then the pup is rolled back to prone position. This can also be accomplished while the pup remains on the bedding and is gently rolled onto it’s back.
Step#5: Thermal Exposure
Prior to the stimuli, a dampened hand-towel is rolled into a cylindrical shape and refrigerated for a time to cool the towel. When it is cool, the towel is held to the bottom side of the puppy; belly side. After five seconds the towel is removed and the puppy returned to its mother. A child’s boo-boo round can be substituted, as in the photographs.
ENS is not alone in this theory, however. There is another form of early puppy-hood stimuli that affects olfactory development in the brain. Many breeders, including The Kennel Birkline, choose to utilize not just ENS, but also ESI, Early Scent Introduction, a series of introductions to specific scents in the same window of time.
Though in no way a guarantee of train-ability, health, or emotional stability, when administered properly, ENS has the potential to to give an otherwise average dog a leg up into development that sets them far apart from other dogs cut from the same cloth. If used wisely, and as directed, this repetitive stimuli propagates greatness in the individuals who receive it.
There are good dogs that come from breeders who do not participate in this program, but when there is such rich evidence supporting the advantages of the program, many researching potential owners are choosing to select new family members from such participating breeders.