Sugar has continued to have intestinal issues, partly because of her surgery I suspect and partly due to the events surrounding motherhood and the changes to her system. Because of the frequent loose stools, the breeding coordinator came out to our house today to check on Sugar. It was determined that her gums were a little tacky and that she could benefit from IV fluids. Because the Coordinator previously worked at the University of Minnesota in the Veterinary hospital, she is more than qualified to be able to take care of Sugar’s needs to try to get her back on her feet and on the road to recovery again!
Sugar was put on a medication to help her system recover (so that was added to the daily schedule) and we added a variety of things to her diet including pumpkin to hopefully settle things down. Because of her lack of appetite, multiple meals of smaller amounts would need to be given.
As for the puppies, today is their first REAL day of training to become assistance dogs! They will start Super Puppy today (also known as Bio-Sensor Training); This is the same type of training that is utilized for dogs in the military. Researchers have studied the genetics of performance and have estimated that 65% of ability is attributable from other influences such as training, management and nutrition. The began looking for ways to improve natural abilities in a variety of animals and some of the methods have produced lifelong effects. They have included early stimulation of puppies as one of the ways that performance can directly be affected. They concluded “During these first few weeks of immobility, researchers noted that these immature and under-developed canines are sensitive to a restricted class of stimuli which includes thermal and tactile stimulation, motion and locomotion.”
From days 3 to 16 I will be doing five different “exercises” with them to stimulate their neurological system to get their brain working in a way that it typically doesn’t do at this stage of the game in their development. This will set them up for the best chance of success in being confident, trainable and solid adult dogs.
Each exercise is only for a short duration of 3 to 5 seconds as MORE IS NOT BETTER. It is important not to overwhelm the puppies and instead just give them a little bit of training.
First, I take a Q-tip between their toes to give them tactile stimulation; this hopefully starts them desensitizing to unfamiliar surfaces and things under their feet and to be comfortable with that. Second, I hold the puppy perpendicular to the ground with the head upright. Third, I hold the head pointed down to the ground, 4th I rest the back of the puppy in the palm of my hands in a supine position. This will teach them trust in what is typically a very vulnerable position for them. Finally, I place their four paws on a damp, slightly cool washcloth for thermal stimulation. Once again, these exercises are only done for a brief 3-5 seconds each, only one time per day.