Sunday, April 18, 2010

New HeavenScent Puppies - New Strategies for Raising Them!

On Friday, April 16th, my Basset Emmy delivered seven healthy Basset puppies - four girls and three boys. She was quite considerate about it...delivering the first at 1:30 in the afternoon, and the last at 9:05 at night. I had the whelping box linens changed and the first of what will be many loads of laundry running by 10 PM. Only experienced breeders will recognize what a welcome, and highly unusual, timing this all represents. Usually deliveries occur late at night, often after 24 hours of panting, pacing and generally looking like things are about to start but then don't....;)

Emmy is an excellent mom - she immediately recognized her puppies (this is not always the case with a first whelp), and got down to taking care of them by cleaning, nursing and trying to get their umbilical cords down to a length she approved of. Here, we disagreed. I won initially, but I believe she fixed things to her liking while I had my back turned as she was nursing ;)

Today, the puppies are three days old, and I'm starting on a program called the Bio Sensor or "Super Dog" program. It's a series of five exercises done daily with each puppy - each lasting initially only 3 seconds and later 5 seconds, so each puppy's exercises take no more than 30 seconds a day. It's done from day 3 to day 16, a period in which their eyes and ears are not yet open, but they can perceive thermal, positional, tactile and movement stimulation.

According to Dr. Carmen Battaglia, a noted dog writer, breeder and judge, the US military developed the Bio-Sensor or "Super Dog" program for their working dog breeding program. These Bio-Sensor exercises create brief, manageable stress that encourages rapid development of the puppy's neurological system.They found that dogs exposed to Bio Sensor stimulation have long term benefits.

Benefits include:

  • Improved cardio vascular performance
  • Stronger heart beats
  • Stronger adrenal glands
  • More tolerance to stress
  • Greater resistance to disease.
In addition, puppies who received Bio-Sensor stimulation were more active and more willing to explore new things that their littermates who didn't receive the stimulation. They also were less stressed in learning and test situations, such as obedience work or new environments, and made fewer mistakes.

So each puppy will experience five exercises daily:
  • Stimulation with a q-tip between the toes,
  • Being held head upright,
  • Being held head down,
  • Being placed on their back and
  • Being placed briefly (3 seconds initially, up to 5 seconds towards two weeks of age) on a cold wet washcloth (and given freedom of movement so they can crawl off if they want).

I'll be interested to see whether the puppies raised with this program will be particularly adaptable to challenges they face - whether in the show ring, in tracking or other performance sports, or in their day to day lives as family pets.

I'll also be curious to see what I learn about the puppies' individual personalities through their reactions to these exercises. I know, for example, that Zelda, who was born first, REALLY doesn't like being put on her back. That was evident from day 1, when I had to briefly put her on her back to tie off and clean her umbilical cord. In contrast Zorro, born last, has gone along with pretty much everything I've done very easily!

One of the greatest joys for me in raising a litter is learning about their personalities, watching their interactions, and seeing their social skills develop from a very young age in the pack that is their litter and the adults in the household - first their dam, and later the other adult dogs who play with, mentor and sometimes correct them!

Every litter is a new learning experience - I'm glad to have these new-to-me tools to try with this one!

1 comment:

  1. Emmy, Congratulations on your new babies. Sounds like you are a great Mommy. We look forward to seeing some pictures of them as they grow. The Hounddogs and HDM