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[MUSIC PLAYING] Daphne had seven gorgeous puppies. The feeling of love and protectiveness we have for these little babies is enormous. And that's a good thing, because they need us to survive. Dogs are what's known as an altricial species, meaning to say they're young or born before they're fully developed, which makes the offspring helpless and dependent on their parents. This is in contrast to precocial species, such as horses and geese, where the young can stand, move around, and eat on their own within hours of birth. Far from being able to stand and eat on their own, crucial parts of the puppies' bodies are not even functional when they're born. Their eyes and ears are so unformed that light and sound would cause them permanent damage. The babies are born with their ears and eyes sealed shut to protect them. It will take the puppies months to develop the capabilities that a foal or a gosling has only hours after birth. There is a huge social significance to this. Precocial species are perfectly able to wander off and potentially meet something dangerous almost as soon as they're born. It's essential to their survival, therefore, that they imprint very quickly on their mother and distrust and fear anything else they meet after the first few hours of life. With precocial species, it's usually next to impossible to change this imprinting, no matter how much training and counter-conditioning is applied. In contrast, altricial species have no ability to wander away until several weeks or even months after birth. So they'll always be under the protection of a parent during that period. They don't develop fear until later. Fear would be a useless response for them, as they can't run away or fight. They have a longer, more flexible period in which they form social attachments. And especially in the case of domesticated animals, they can remain somewhat flexible throughout their lives. We call this process socialization. And it forms the basis of our ability to bond with dogs. Even in altricial species, however, there is a critical socialization period which predictably ends when the animal reaches its full ability to run away and/or defend itself from danger. After that time, altricial species will also mistrust and fear novel animals and situations, although, as mentioned, there can be some flexibility, especially in domesticated animals. Dogs are social animals. And they use a wide range of vocalizations to facilitate their interactions with others. Neonatal puppies don't yet have the physical and mental ability to interact or be social. So they don't need a wide range of vocalizations. For now, the only sounds the puppies make are what are known as at et-epimeletic sounds, meaning to say, sounds which induce adults to care for them. Interestingly, the bitch seems to recognize that although the puppies can make sounds, they can't see or hear her. So she does not attempt to vocalize to them. If she needs to communicate with them, she nuzzles or touches them. They can't urinate or defecate on their own. The bitch licks them, which stimulates them to go, The pitch has a strong instinct to keep the den clean. And the way she does that is to eat the poop. Now, you may find that odd and kind of revolting that she eats the puppies' poop. But you love a bitch that has a good instinct to keep her puppies clean, because if she doesn't, then you're stuck cleaning puppy butts-- not with your tongue. It's not a pleasant task. And it takes a lot of time. The puppies are born without the ability to regulate their body temperature. A normal adult dog has a body temperature of between 100 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a newborn puppy's body temperature is only between 94 and 97. A puppy needs an external heat source or he'll chill and die. The puppies either have to live next to their mother, or if she's not available, pile on top of each other so they can use each other's body heat to stay warm. The first few days of raising a litter is crazy. I'm not saying this is every breed. But bull terrier mothers maybe aren't the best. At the end of the first 72 hours, you haven't slept, the puppies are hungry, your bitch is either standing in the box bowling the puppies around like bowling pins, or she's lying in the bed that you set up for yourself next to the whelping box. And when you suggest to her that perhaps she might like to get up and take care of her puppies, she just closes her eyes tighter shut and waits for you to do something. You basically want to kill yourself at the end of 72 hours. And you swear you're never going to do it again. But you always do. They can't walk. But they get where they need to go by pulling themselves along with their front legs. They also tip over a lot. But fortunately, they have a reflex to right themselves. Their navigation system consists of a rooting reflex coupled with specialized heat sensors alongside their nostrils. When they're nursing, the rooting reflex causes them to move their head in little circles until they come in contact with a teat. If they get separated from their mother and littermates, the rooting reflex makes them swing their head from side to side until their heat sensors pick up some warmth. And then they pull forward toward the heat source. You can see the exact second this puppy's heat sensors pick up his littermates. Neonatal puppies really are heat-seeking milk missiles. The puppies are little milking machines. You can tell this puppy has good suction on the teat by the little pit on the side of his face. When the puppies first get on the teats, the milk doesn't flow quickly. And they have to work hard, and they complain a lot. After a few minutes, however, the bitch's milk comes down. And the puppies become almost silent and move very little. The milk the bitch produces for the first 24 hours is called colostrum. And its principal function is to pass maternal antibodies onto the puppies. Whatever disease the dam has immunity to, the puppies, once they absorb the colostrum, will have immunity to as well. These maternal antibodies wear off after just a few weeks. But at least the puppy is protected in the fragile beginnings of his life when he's most vulnerable. There's only a very short window in which the puppy can absorb the colostrum. At birth, a puppy's intestines are open in a way that allows the colostrum molecules to pass through without being broken down. Within 18 hours, however, the puppy's intestinal wall closes. And the colostrum molecules can no longer pass through whole. They're broken down, digested, and can no longer grant immunity to the puppy. So there's this very short window of time, probably only 12 to 18 hours after birth where both the bitch produces the colostrum and the puppy can absorb it. Even if the bitch made colostrum for days or weeks, the puppies still can't benefit from it after the first few hours of life. Healthy neonates will eat till they fall asleep and then lie in a contented pile together. They twitch while they sleep. The puppy pile looks like popcorn. This twitching is called activated sleep. And in principle, it works exactly the same way that electrical stimulation works to help human bedridden patients maintain muscle. Like bedridden patients, puppies spend so much time sleeping that it would be difficult for them to build enough muscle to ever stand on their feet. The puppies' brains send out small electrical impulses, which stimulate their muscles and build them. These tiny pulses of electricity are what cause the puppy to twitch and pop. Activated sleep is fun to watch, and also, a key indication that the puppies are healthy and doing well. This is going to be a constant theme of this DVD, which is that stress and struggle, in appropriate small doses, is very good for the puppies, and in fact, helps them grow up to be strong, healthy well-adjusted adults. When you look at the footage of these puppies, you may think, this looks really violent. They're actually watching each other off the teats. But meanwhile, they're also learning to find the teat, gain motor coordination, build muscle, and deal with frustration. The key word here is "appropriate" stress and struggle. The stress and struggle that you see puppies do when they're nursing is very natural, very good for them. And you really don't need to intervene. You shouldn't intervene. As a breeder, you do have to make sure that everybody is getting milk, which is why you weigh them frequently. And if somebody is a little weaker and not getting as much as the rest and losing ground, you might take that puppy out and help them out with a little extra food. But all things being equal, the struggle that you see here is excellent and very good for the puppies. The first two weeks of raising a litter can be a lot of work. Much of the breeders role during this time is consumed with just keeping everyone clean, fed, and healthy. But this is also the time when the puppy's neurological system is forming. And we can influence the way it forms. Babies invoke the protective instinct in us all. And our natural impulse is to make things as easy as possible for them and to shield them from anything that upsets them, even mildly. However, research on dogs, rats, primates, and even chickens, all shows the same thing-- stressing neonates very slightly produces beneficial effects on them for the rest of their lives. Protocols for early neurological stimulation of puppies have been popularized in a well-known article by Dr. Carmen Battaglia. Dr. Battaglia. Breeds German shepherds. He's an AKC judge and a director of the AKC. He's the author of many books and DVDs on dog breeding. And thousands of breeders follow his website, We spoke with Dr. Battaglia. About his recommended protocols and the potential benefits they can confer on the puppies. What the research shows is during this neonatal period, if you stimulate the neurological system within a puppy, you can change the puppy for the rest of its life. What are the results of early neurological stimulation? Greater tolerance of stress, greater resistance to disease, faster adrenal system, stronger heart rate, and a stronger heart beat. So if you stimulate the neurological system during this window of time, which is, as turns out, is between 3 days and 16 days of life, you can chase this puppy for the rest of its life. Based on the research of the biosensor program, there's five stimulating exercises. The first one is called tactile stimulation, where we take a Q-Tip, and we tickle the puppy between any one of its toes. So we do that three to five seconds. The research shows that kind of stimulation stimulates the tactile system, the skin of the puppy. And it wakes up the neurological system. Now we hold the puppy's head up so that his head's up and his tail is down, and again, you would count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Now, we're letting blood drain from his brain. And the neurological system would recognize that and tell the heart to pump blood back up into the brain, maintaining equilibrium. The third exercise is to hold the puppy's head down so his head is down. And we count again-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Now too much blood is running down into the brain. So now, we're making the neurological system work in a different way because we presented a different problem. The fourth exercise is called the supine position, where the pupp is is simply on his back. And we count again-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Most of them will resist being held on their back. And they will start to move around in your hands. But the neurological system, again, is being challenged and being told to go to work. And the fifth position is thermal stimulation. You take a washcloth, ordinary washcloth. Wring it out. Put it in your refrigerator for 30 minutes so it's cold. Set the wash cloth on the table. And take this puppy that you've just held, and put him 4 feet down on this cold washcloth. And count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And then the puppy will clearly tell you he doesn't like being on this cool surface. But you're making the neurological system respond to a temperature change on the puppy's body. And as they get older, they will try to walk off of it. Don't hold them and restrict their movements. So put them on a big flat surface so they're not going to run off the table but they can't find a way off of it. And those are the five stimulating exercises. Readers often ask the question, if I already handle my puppies, why should I do this? And the answer basically is this. Handling the puppies, stroking them, there's good research to show that this is helpful because it lowers blood pressure. But stimulating their neurological system is different. When you normally handle a puppy, you don't hold them with their head up. You don't hold them on their back. You don't put them on a cold towel. These are specific kinds of stimulations that are unlike the normal handling that a breeder does in day-to-day handling of their litter. So we don't want to discourage that. Breeders should continue to pick their puppies up and touch them and stroke them. That's very good for their blood pressure. But stimulating the exercises that I've just described is much different. And it is very helpful to those, as I've already mentioned, who do it this way. So my recommendation is you do both. But Dr. Battaglia cautions, when it comes to neonatal stimulation, more is not better. Too much stimulation can cause irreparable harm to the puppies. So then the question becomes, how much is too much? Too much stimulation is the other side of the question. The normal handling of a dog that an average person would do is not overstimulation. Unless you do those exercises and hold the puppy in that restricted and confined way for longer than the periods we've talked about, you're in a safe zone. There is one additional caveat with early neurological stimulation. And that is, if for any reason the liver is already stressed, do not add the additional stress of early neurological stimulation. For example, do claw removal or tail docking, you would want to give a window of time after that before you began early neurological stimulation. You have to look at each puppy and each litter and use common sense. You do this once a day for each puppy in the litter from 3 to 16 days. And for the rest of their life, these puppies will have stronger heartbeats, stronger heart rates. They will have an adrenalin system that moves faster when they need it. They will have more resistance to disease and greater tolerance of stress for the rest of their life-- a gift you can only give them once during the window, 3 to 16 days. Generally speaking, keeping a litter of puppies alive for the first 1 to 2 weeks is a skill. And it's a roller coaster ride. It can be very frightening. And there's a lot of responsibility. And sometimes the puppies don't make it. It's exhausting. But it can also be very rewarding. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 29 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 7
Posted by: norabean on Apr 2, 2018


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