The Early Neurological Stimulation Program

At Hearty K9s we use the Early Neurological Stimulation Program (developed by Dr. Battaglia) for our puppies. We perform this program daily on all our pups from days 3-16.

Each of the 5 exercises last 3-5 seconds, done once a day.

  1. Tactical Stimulation. Using a Q-tip, stimulate pup between toes on any foot, while holding the pup in the other hand.
  2. Head held erect. Using both hands, the pup is held in an upward position, so its head is directly above its tail.
  3. Head pointed down. Holding the pup firmly in both hands, the head is reversed, and is pointed to the ground.
  4. Supine position. Hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with it's muzzle facing the ceiling.
  5. Thermal Stimulation. Using a damp towel that has been cooled in the fridge for at least 5 minutes, place pup on towel with feet down. Do not restrain it from moving.
Early Neurological Stimulation is not a substitute for routine handling, play, socializing or bonding, but in combination with these activities it provides these benefits:

Hearty K9s' approach to using New Skete Methods

"The Art of Raising a Puppy" by the Monks of New Skete is a wonderfully practical guide for raising a companion dog. We have found a huge difference in our pups just using their methods alone.

In conjunction with regular handling and playing, we start the New Skete methods outlined below after the neurological stimulation exercises are finished at 16 days.

  1. Snuggle with pup, rubbing all over, breath into muzzle, to let it become acquainted to human smell.
  2. Hold pup into the air with one hand until they start to squeal, and then hold them close and comfort them (helping them realize they can gain comfort from humans).
  3. Tummy Rub. Hold pup in crook of arm on its back, and give it a tummy rub (teaching it to submit to your authority).
  4. Brush pup. Gently brush pup to let it become accustomed to handling and grooming.
  5. Separate pups for 3 minutes, using separate boxes. Gather pups individually and comfort, then return them with their littermates. This gives them a chance to be separate from their littermates before they're actually sold which enables them to handle separation anxiety much better.

We find the pups who are exposed to mildly stressful exercises at an early age usually develop into dogs with higher problem solving abilities and are more adaptable to emotionally challenging experiences later in life.

Our nursery set up has been inspired by the New Skete methods and we find that our pups house train fairly easily.

Even though we do all these wonderful things to make your pup easier to train, he/she has only just begun. It is your responsibility to continue consistent, constructive training, socialization and enrichment which can mould your pup into an exceptional life-long companion. This takes time, patience, research, and diligence.



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