Here at Sierra Springs Australian Labradoodles, we use Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) and Puppy Aptitude Testing (PAT) with our sweet fur babies.
BIO-SENSOR – EARLY NEUROLOGICAL STIMULATION (ENS)
In an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes, a program called “Bio Sensor” was developed. The military learned that performing early neurological stimulation exercises with puppies could have important and lasting effects. The studies showed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has maximum results. The first period begins at the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day, because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development.
Each session involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. The handling of each pup involves the following exercises, all performed on each pup before moving on to the next pup:
Tactile stimulation – holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently 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 is 3 – 5 seconds.
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. Time of stimulation is 3 – 5 seconds.
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 is 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 pup while on its back is allowed to sleep or struggle. Time of stimulation is 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. The pup is not restrained from moving. Time of stimulation is 3-5 seconds.
- Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
- Stronger heart beats
- Stronger adrenal glands
- More tolerance to stress
- Greater resistance to disease
This type of program does not replace the daily love and handling each pup receives beginning the moment it is born here at Sierra Springs Australian Labradoodles. Rather, it is in addition to that and is done with the specific timing and purpose maximizing development of the nervous system for train-ability.
PUPPY APTITUDE TEST
One of the most difficult decision when deciding to get a new puppy is choosing the right one with the best temperament and personality. While we know and understand that most families want to pick their puppy based on the puppy’s looks, color, or coat type, we encourage everyone to put those traits secondary to the puppy’s temperament that fits your family’s needs. Your Australian Labradoodle puppy should be a wonderful addition to the family, provided that you have chosen the right puppy from a reliable breeder that uses the Volhard Puppy Aptitude testing to help place their puppies.
WHAT IS THE PUPPY APTITUDE TEST?
The Volhard “Puppy Aptitude Test or “PAT” was created by Joachim and Wendy Volhard as a way to test behavioral tendencies and predict what a puppy will be like as an adult also commonly called a “Puppy Temperament Test” or “Puppy Personality Test”. The test is ideally performed on puppies at 49 days old (7 wks). Some of the tests used were developed as long ago as the l930’s for dogs bred to become Guide Dogs. Then in the 1950’s, studies on puppies were done to determine how quickly they learned. These studies were actually originally done to identify children’s learning stages, but found to adapt perfectly to puppies.
The tester must be a stranger to the litter, and the test performed in an area unknown to the puppy. The Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test evaluates the puppies based on ten factors: These are the areas tested (on a scale of 1 to 6)
- Social Attraction – the degree to which the puppy is willing to interact with people, its confidence or dependence.
- Following – the puppy’s willingness to follow a person.
- Restraint – the puppy’s degree of dominant or submissive tendency when physically dominated.
- Social Dominance – the puppy’s degree of acceptance of social dominance by a person, e.g. being stroked.
- Elevation – the puppy’s degree of accepting dominance while in a position of no control, e.g. being raised up and cradled by someone.
- Retrieving – the puppy’s degree of willingness to do something for you.
- Touch Sensitivity – the degree of the puppy’s sensitivity to touch.
- Sound Sensitivity – the degree of the puppy’s sensitivity to sound, especially to loud noises.
- Sight Sensitivity – the degree of the puppy’s response to a moving object.
- Stability – the degree of the puppy’s startle response to a strange object.
Finally, a look at the puppy’s overall Structure: This is a measure of how well-formed and proportioned the puppy is physically. A puppy with a solid build will generally be healthier than one that has issues with bone alignment.
HOW TO SCORE THE TEST
After the test is administered, each test is recorded with the results and are then added up using the number of one’s, two’s, three’s, etc.
This puppy has aggressive tendencies and is very dominant. He would not be a good match for families with children or elderly owners since he may be quick to bite. He would likely be a difficult dog to train and would require an experienced handler.
This puppy is dominant. He would fit well in an adult household with an owner that can be firm and consistent in handling. Once the owner has gained his respect, he can be a very good companion. However, he may be too dominant for a household with children, or too energetic for an elderly owner.
This puppy fits best with the average owner, accepts human leadership readily and can be good with children and elderly owners. He would likely be a good dog for obedience training, although he may be fairly active.
This puppy is submissive and would fit with most owners, getting along well with children and elderly owners. He would train well, but may be somewhat less outgoing and energetic than a puppy that scores mostly three’s.
This puppy is very submissive. He would not be the best choice for a first-time owner because he scares easily and needs to be taught how to be more outgoing. He would need a very regimented lifestyle to feel comfortable and open up. He’s generally safe for children, but could bite out of fear if overly stressed. Training him would take a lot of patience.
This puppy is very independent and would be difficult to work with. He’s not very people-friendly and would require an experienced handler. He shouldn’t be matched with households with children. If you also recorded several ones with this puppy, he may be likely to bite if stressed. This is particularly true if he scores a one in restraint.
WHAT THE SCORE MEANS FOR YOU
The Volhard Puppy Aptitude Test results will show which dogs have a strong desire for leadership (thus, not good with children), which dogs have a high level of energy (thus, needing frequent exercise and not suitable for small-spaced homes), which dogs are easy to train and are quiet (good for elderly people and children), which dogs need special handling, and which dogs doesn’t need you or people at all (good as guard dogs).
If you’re a first-time owner, you should look for a puppy that scores mostly three’s and four’s. One with this personality should be easy to train and family-friendly. This is particularly true if he scores a three in both social attraction and social dominance.
This doesn’t mean that a puppy with other scores isn’t fit to be a pet, just that he may be better suited for owners that have more training experience. The test doesn’t pick good puppies. It only points out general personality traits a puppy will have as he grows. The puppy aptitude test should only be used as a gauge for a puppy’s temperament. It’s up to each person to make his or her own decision as to the personality they would like their puppy to have and choose based on this knowledge.
The test may also be used as a tool to help you know what (if any) areas to work on in your puppy’s development if you wish to change certain characteristics. Puppies learn very fast and if trained correctly will turn into the wonderful companion we all desire!