The Benefits of Early Neurological Stimulation

Aug 05, 2021

Why Are We Stressing Our Pups?


You may have heard the acronym ENS thrown around in the breeding community and wondered what it means or what the fuss is all about. ENS stands for Early Neurological Stimulation but was formerly known as Bio Sensor. For you history hounds, Bio Sensor was originally developed by the US Military’s canine program to improve the performance of their working dogs. The idea was to gently stress and stimulate the neurological system in young puppies. 

After years of research, it was found that neonate puppies are responsive to this kind of stimuli, resulting in improved overall health. Some of the noted health benefits include:

  • An increased tolerance to stress, 
  • Improved cardiovascular performance, 
  • A stronger nervous system, 
  • Greater resistance to disease processes,
  • Reduced emotionality.


Did you catch that?!

It has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN that what you do with your puppies during those critical first weeks they are in your care can result in improved overall health!


As breeders, we should be shouting this from our rooftops! ENS is simple, easy to implement, and has no associated costs.


When to start?

ENS should begin when the puppy is three days old and continue until day sixteen. The practice consists of five exercises that should be done once a day for three to five seconds each. That is only 15 to 25 seconds of exercise per pup each day to set a healthy foundation for each puppy’s LIFE!   


If you have witnessed a breeder performing ENS exercises with a young puppy, your impulse was likely one of wanting to swoop in for the save, which is totally understandable. ENS can appear to be unnatural and uncomfortable for the puppy, especially if it is accompanied with wiggling and the occasional cry (which is normal and can happen quite often). 


Rest assured, when done properly, not only is ENS safe, but it is an important step in setting the puppy up to be successful and healthy.


For a quick overview of the ENS exercises, visit the AKC website AKC Early Neurological Stimulation


ENS Exercise Overview   (Pictures provided from the AKC website.) 

1. Tactile Stimulation – While holding the pup securely, use a Q-tip to tickle between the toes for 3-5 seconds. 

2. Head Up – While offering plenty of support, use both hands to hold the pup with its head pointed up to the sky for 3-5 seconds. 

3. Head Down – While offering plenty of support, use both hands to hold the pup with its head pointed down toward the ground for 3-5 seconds. 

4. Supine Position – Hold the pup on its back with its chest pointed up to the sky for 3-5 seconds.

5. Thermal stimulation— Place the pup, feet down, for 3-5 seconds on a damp hand towel that has been cooled in the refrigerator. Allow the puppy to move freely during this exercise. 


It is VERY important that these exercises are done for ONLY 3-5 seconds and ONLY one time a day per puppy. We do not want to overstimulate the neurological system. This can harm or have a negative impact on the puppy.


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