The Effect of Early Neurological Stimulation on Puppy Welfare in Commercial Breeding Kennels – CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
Dogs may experience many stressful situations throughout their lives. Studies suggest that gentle handling in early life may help animals better cope with stressors as adults, but studies in dogs are inconclusive. This study applied gentle early handling (i.e., early neurological stimulation or ENS) to puppies during the first four weeks of life and compared welfare and developmental metrics with two control groups (non-handled and hold-only). A total of 76 puppies from one commercial breeding kennel were assessed. Puppies’ physical health was measured for the first eight weeks of their lives. Their behavioral responses to mild stressors (i.e., isolation and stranger approach tests) were measured at approximately 8 weeks old, before and after ground transportation to a distributor. Puppies were generally physically healthy and clean. Puppies showed more affiliative responses to the stranger-approach test after the 3-minute isolation test than before, independent of the treatment group. Overall, findings suggest that for puppies in commercial breeding kennels, ENS may not be more beneficial in modifying their stress responses than consistent, careful, general handling.
Boone, G., Romaniuk, A. C., Barnard, S., Shreyer, T., & Croney, C. (2022). The Effect of Early Neurological Stimulation on Puppy Welfare in Commercial Breeding Kennels. Animals, 13(1), 71. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/13/1/71View Resource
Topic(s): Behavior, Breeder Resource, ENS, Puppy Development