Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Time to Go to Work

Well, the pups are over 3 days old so today was their first day in our development program. Can you believe it? They can't see and can't hear yet we're already putting them to work. We begin with Bio-Sensor exercises from the Army's SuperDog program. (You can read more about Bio-sensor at www.angelfire.com/planet/poodle/biosensor.html.) To it, we add a small problem solving exercise and novel scents.

Our development program is based on the assumption that puppies are undergoing massive neurological development during various periods of their young lives. Our goal is to stimulate this development as much as possible and in the direction that will result in intelligent, stable golden retrievers. The first development period is from 3-16 days of age. So, we have begun.

We do the five Bio-Sensor exercises--holding the pups in three different positions, tickling a foot with a Q-tip, and thermal stimulation--once a day for 13 days. We use the last exercise to also introduce them to problem-solving. We put them in a cool pie plate and time how long it takes them to get out of it onto a warm piece of wool. We then look for improved or faster performance each day. This morning it took 18-90 seconds. One pup almost made it out before circling back onto the pie plate :-). Poor guy but puppies do tend to move in circles at this age.

We also introduce novel scents to the pups once a day for the next two weeks. Since pups this age cannot see or hear, their sense of smell is well developed. We want to work on it further by letting them smell new scents that they haven't experienced, such as apples, oranges, bananas, pigeons, wood, grass, etc. Today is apple day.

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