Raising Superstar Dogs



We are trying some additional activities with this litter of puppies. We had done the Early Neurological Stimulation and lots of socialization with our last litter. In addition we are going to give Jerry Hope’s “Superstar” puppy program a try, detailed in Jerry Hope’s book, The Breeder’s Guide To Raising Superstar Dogs. http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DG226

Jerry’s program follows canine development through the different phases (critical periods) with targeted activities for the breeder to perform to help each puppy’s brain develop optimally during each period. This program helps us fulfill our responsibility to produce confident, outgoing puppies who can adapt to new situations and environments with ease, and give them the ability to best canine companions they can be.

The five benefits that have been observed in canines that were exposed to early neurological stimulation exercises are:

1. Improved Cardiovascular Performance
2. Stronger Heart Beats
3. Stronger Adrenal Glands
4. More Tolerance to Stress
5. Greater Resistance to Disease

In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non-stimulated littermates. Secondary effects were also noted regarding test performance: in simple problem solving tests using detours in a maze, the non-stimulated pups became extremely aroused, whined a great deal, and made many errors. Their stimulated littermates were less disturbed or upset by test conditions, were calmer in the test environment, made fewer errors and gave only occasional distress vocalizations when stressed.

This is Jerry Hope’s description of the critical periods:

Birth – 12 days: Neonate Period
Introduction of Bio-Sensor

13 days – 20 days: Transitional Period:
Auditory and Visual Stimulation Introduced

21 days – 28 days: Awareness Period
Introduction of Sudden Sounds

3 weeks -14 weeks: Socialization Period
Introduction to People & Other Animals; Basic Skills (sit, down, stand, etc.), Bite Inhibition, and House
Training Introduced

8 weeks – 11 weeks: First Impact Period
Lots of Care and Gentle Guidance During This “First Fear Period” Are Necessary (and part of why we
don’t let our pups go to their new homes until they are past this critical period)

12 weeks – 13 weeks: Puppies Leave For Their New Homes

13 weeks – 16 weeks: Seniority Classification Period
Puppy Starts to Become An Individual (personality starts to develop); Sharing (food, toys, etc.), Bite
Inhibition, and Intensity of Play Must Be Taught

14 weeks – 8 months: Flight Instinct Period
Continued Socialization (puppies are very brave and investigative during this period), Surviving
Teething, Solidifying Basic Skills, Avoid Establishing “Bad Habits”, Reinforcing House Training

6 months – 15 months: Second Impact Period
Reassurance Though Fearful Situations, Relearning of Old Skills, Building on Basic Skills

It’s all very fascinating, and I hope this will give our puppies the solid foundation that our puppy owners can build upon for having a great family companion.

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