Since the pups have been staying with me and Karen their owner was nice enough to let me continue to  keep/play with the puppies after she got back from her trip...I have got a golden opportunity to try all the things I have been reading about to raise puppies that I have previously only been able to read about. 

One of the best DVDs and books I have found is Jerry Hopes "The Breeders Guide to Raising Superstar Dogs".  I think it would be a cool book or DVDs for anyone considering getting a dog to read so you know what you should look for if you are getting a puppy for your next dog. 

Research shows that with a few simple things you can increase the neural pathways and the intelligence of a puppy and you can make their immune system stronger and make them able to withstand more stress and recover more easily in later life.  I personally think the first eight weeks of a puppies life is very important.  Of course genetics of the parents, how the parents are cared for, the stress the mom is under, the diet of the parents and of the pups, all those things play a big part in determining all a puppy is able to become too. 

So with Cherry's pups I started when they were 3 days old and did the ENS, early neuro stimulation for 14 days.  The ENS program is only done once a day and for only 14 days.  It is surprisingly easy to do....the first step is just taking a Q tip and rubbing in between the dogs toes for three to five seconds.  Right after that you securely hold the pup with their head straight up in the air for three to five seconds, then you securely hold the pup and put their head down for three to five seconds, then you put the pup on their back for three to five seconds and then put them down on a cloth that has been in the fridge a few hours, you leave them on it but they can wiggle or move all they want for three to five seconds.  I did the ENS with the daily weight at the same time each morning then gave the pups to Cherry to nurse so the minimal stress of the ENS was followed by something great.

Pups are born not being able to see or hear.  About the same time the eyes are opening-around 2 weeks the pups are also starting to hear.  When the pups could start hearing I started playing classical music which has been shown to increase neural pathways in the brain.  Any music works but classical seems to work best probably because of the nature of the different instruments and the tunes.  As time went on I added DVDs with sounds, vacuums, babies, kids, fireworks, gunshots, dogs. I also had the pups moved to the living room where they would be surrounded by the household dogs, the kids, and all the noises of a home. 

So that is basically the starting point of raising puppies to be superstars ;-).  Another HUGE thing is spending time with the whole litter, talking to the pups, and playing with them and cuddling them, touching them so they are used to being touched and handled.  That is one of the funnest parts and it is important to spend some time with each puppy individually. 

OF COURSE the biggest thing to keep in mind with early learning in my opinion is just spending time with the pup and having fun.  The goal is not that the dog can compete in obedience at 2 months, LOL, it is that the dog has fun with people and wants to learn more and looks to their person for fun!  You accomplish that and you are so far ahead of the game.  These pups have taught me they have their own agendas and they are very tiny THREE WEEK old babies with baby attention spans!  Ya gotta not pressure and go with what the puppy wants to do, a good lesson to remember when working with my adults too! 

I took some video of the early learning of each of the puppies, and of course I had to video.  It does not look that impressive and mostly I am luring the pups to sit, down, touch the target stick, and they do naturally come pretty well when placed away from you.  I just basically hope it is laying the foundation for the pups to be figuring out what people want, figuring out it is fun to work with your human partner and hopefully making it fun to play with me so they will look to their new human owners for those things when they go to their new homes.  :-).  PLEASE do not feel obligated to look at them all, I just posted so you could look at what you want ;-). 


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