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Early Development

We conduct two special programs here at Columbia Springs that we feel give our puppies a leg up in early development.


The first is Early Neurological Stimulation or ESN. This involves a series of early exercises that we conduct from day 3-16 with our young puppies to help them better develop their natural abilities. These exercises include:

  1. Tactile stimulation – holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q-tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds. 

  2. Head held erect – using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds. 

  3. Head pointed down – holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds. 

  4. Supine position – hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds. 

  5. Thermal stimulation—use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restrain it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds. 

The proven benefits of these exercises are:

  1. Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)

  2. Stronger heart beats

  3. Stronger adrenal glands

  4. More tolerance to stress

  5. Greater resistance to disease

In some narratives, this program refers to the creation of “super puppies” and we feel that our puppies are just that! More detailed information about ESN can be found at www.breedingbetterdogs.com.


Puppy Culture

The other program that we introduce to our puppies is known as Puppy Culture. While the ESN exercises described above are a part of this, it is so much more. Puppy Culture exercises help to insure that our little ones are raised to be confident enrichment seekers, ready to take on life’s challenges with joy.

The Puppy Culture program introduces age appropriate games and exercises at specific developmental periods to address a puppy’s optimum development. Puppies are challenged to be problem solvers which develops confidence. In addition, we introduce our puppies to an environment that is enriching and stimulating, not only with toys and apparatus but also with the meeting of a variety of people and our other dogs. In our quest to put new relationships into the world we have found that Puppy Culture exercises prepare your puppy in the best possible way. More information about the Puppy Culture Program can be found at www.puppyculture.com.