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The importance of ESI and ENS in newborn puppies


A newborn Bernedoodle smelling a spice

The arrival of newborn puppies is just the beginning of an intensive care and development process. As a breeder, I'm not just waiting until it's time for adoption; I'm actively engaging in their early development. Techniques like Early Scent Introduction (ESI) and Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) are crucial during the first few weeks of a puppy’s life. Here’s how it benefits:


ESI (Early Scent Introduction)

  • Boosts Olfactory Development: ESI helps puppies enhance their sense of smell, which is crucial as they start exploring their world.

  • Adaptability: Exposure to a variety of scents may make puppies better adapted to new environments and experiences later in life.

  • Training for Special Roles: This can be particularly beneficial for puppies that will be trained as therapy or assistance dogs.

  • Neurological Benefits: Introducing different scents can promote neurological growth, aiding overall development.


ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation)

  • Stress Tolerance: Mild stress through ENS exercises helps puppies develop resilience, which can be a significant advantage in future training.

  • Cardiovascular Enhancement: These exercises are designed to increase heart rate and strengthen the heart, contributing to overall health.

  • Immune System Boost: ENS has been linked to a stronger immune system, making puppies more resistant to illnesses.

  • Disease Resistance: Puppies undergoing ENS often show greater resistance to a variety of health challenges.


Implementing ESI and ENS in newborn puppies


A newborn Bernedoodle being held upside down
I promise this does have a purpose

Starting when the puppies are just 3 days old and continuing until about 2 weeks, I introduce them to natural scents that do not stimulate taste, such as spices. I present the spice near their nose without contact and observe. Do they engage, move away, or show no reaction? Each scent is offered for just a few seconds up to one minute daily.


ENS involves a series of short stimulations, each lasting approximately 5 seconds. These include holding the puppy's head steady, holding them upright, upside down, on their back, and placing them on a damp towel. The puppies' reactions—mild, moderate, or strong protest—are noted.


The results across my litter vary, shedding light on their individual temperaments and developmental stages. By consistently tracking their responses, I can monitor any shifts or progress as they become accustomed to the exercises. It’s essential to remember that ENS isn’t about causing stress but about gently acquainting the puppies with diverse stimuli.

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