Weekly Litter Update - June 15, 2023
We are happy to report that Oakley and her puppies are doing great! They are growing and developing well. We have started Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) and Early Scent Introduction (ESI) this week, and we're monitoring their weight twice daily to ensure they continue to gain weight.
Oakley is an excellent mother, taking great care of her puppies, keeping them clean and well-fed. She spends most of her time nursing and providing warmth and comfort to her litter.
Puppy Weight Tracker
During the first two weeks, we weigh the puppies twice a day. After that, we transition to a weekly weigh-in. The chart below only displays the average of the two weights for that day.
ENS & ESI Started
This week we began our ENS and ESI training. This article is focused on what ENS is and the benefits of these exercises. Next week we'll go over ESI.
What is ENS?
At Oak and Magnolia, we conduct Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) exercises daily from the 3rd to the 16th day of the puppies' life. Scientists and doctors believe this is a crucial period for the puppy's neurological growth and development.
Fun Fact: This program was developed by the US Military to improve the performance of future military working dogs.
To properly train the puppies, it is necessary to handle them individually and perform a sequence of five exercises. The handler should begin with one pup and use all five exercises to stimulate it before moving on to the next pup. This process should be repeated for each puppy once per day. The exercises should be performed in the same order each time.
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 puppy is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds.
Head held erect – To stimulate the pup, hold it with both hands straight up in the air so that its head is directly above its tail. This should be done for 3 to 5 seconds.
Head pointed down – Holding the pup firmly with both hands, the head is reversed and pointed down towards the ground. Time of stimulation 3 – 5 seconds.
Supine position – Hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The puppy, while on its back, is allowed to sleep. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.
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.
What Does ENS Do?
According to Breeding Better Dogs, performing ENS correctly can boost a puppy's neurological system by activating it earlier than usual. However, ENS must be done within a specific timeframe, from the third to the 16th day of the puppy's life.
The exercises are not a substitution for daily handling of young puppies.
Five benefits have been observed in canines exposed to ENS, including improved cardiovascular performance (heart rate); stronger heartbeats; stronger adrenal glands; more tolerance to stress; and greater resistance to disease.
In tests of learning, ENS-stimulated pups were more active and exploratory than their non-stimulated littermates, according to Breeding Better Dogs.
Next week we'll go over what ESI is and the benefits derived from these exercises.
Puppy Health and Nutrition
When it comes to feeding your new puppy, you have many options. You can choose to use dry food (kibble) or wet food. Human-grade foods are available, raw food diets for dogs, and a lot of variety in between.
If you choose to feed your dog a raw food diet, be aware that there is no scientific proof that a raw diet offers more advantages than a dry food diet. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association cautions against feeding any "animal-source protein that has not been subjected to a process that eliminates pathogens." If you choose to provide your puppy with a raw diet, do so only after consulting with your veterinarian and with a complete understanding of safe food practices and common risks.
When buying dog food, looking at the nutrition label and ensuring nutritional adequacy is essential. Pay attention to the life stage the food is intended for. Pet food comes in a variety of formulas, including growth (for puppies), maintenance (for adults), senior, low fat, low calorie, low protein, grain-free, limited ingredient, small breed, large breed, and more. Talk to your veterinarian about the best formulation for your puppy.
One question a lot of new puppy owners ask is how much to feed their dog. This is a difficult question, but we've discovered that the feeding amounts listed on the label are nearly always way too much food for healthy pets. Work with your veterinarian to determine what a healthy weight is for your puppy/dog, and then tailor your feeding amount accordingly (if your puppy is losing weight, feed her more; if she's gaining too much weight, feed her less).
Regarding how often to feed, we recommend feeding your dog twice a day. This means you would give half the recommended daily amount for breakfast and the other half for dinner. Puppies less than five months old should have an extra meal around lunch. Most vets don't recommend "free feeding" your pets as this can contribute to obesity. Deciding when to feed may be driven by your lifestyle, but ideally, twice a day is best for domestic pets.
New Litter Webpage
Please access the following link to view our Summer 2023 litter-specific page. Along with our weekly newsletter, we will update this page every week with new pictures and a growth progression photo of each puppy. We are excited to share the growth and development of these adorable pups with you over the next few weeks.