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Way, way, way, back when I first started in poodles, I was told to start doing the "military training exercise" with my puppies. Seemed reasonable, or did it? What the heck are military exercises and why would someone want to do this with a very young poodle puppy?

The breeder who suggested that I start these exercises was Virginia Childs of Wendigo apricot standard poodles. Virginia lived in Queens and was my first contact with a poodle person living in 'The City.' At the time I was living on the Upper West Side of NYC, to be more accurate, I was living in "Manhattan Valley!' To get back to my story, I had no clue to what the 'military exercises' were, so she explained the five exercises many breeders were doing with puppies from 3 day to 16 day old. Virginia gave me some literature on the subject as well as the directions, diagrams, and purposes of this procedure; namely to Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate), Strengthen heart beats, Strengthen adrenal glands, build more tolerance to stress, and in doing so create a greater resistance to disease. Sounded good to me and I started doing the exercises on my very first litter.

Years later I heard about something new that I was told I MUST do, it was called 'Early Neurological Stimulation Exercises,' Humm,,,,, something new, I need to investigate this. Turns out it was nothing new, same great exercises just a new an improved name. I have also heard it called a different name, not sure what, but still the same great exercises.

So now when I speak with someone new, and I mention doing the military exercises with my puppies, they are really confused and then I need to explain.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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One of the great side effects of participating in Nose Work is all the time spent talking with military handlers, as many of the judges are former military dog handlers who now breed and train dogs to sell to military and police. In the downtime between events, you get the benefit of their years and dog-years worth of experience. It's really fascinating to learn how much science goes in to breeding and raising dogs for these specific jobs. A bit Skinner Box, but there's a lot of info to mine.

Also, I tried these same neuro stimulation protocols on my infant nephew, and only one person had any idea what I was doing. Everyone else thought I was just uncomfortable holding babies 🤷‍♀️
 

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Haha. It does sound so much better to say “ Early Neurological Stimulation Exercises”.

Liz, did it have a positive effect on your nephew?
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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I was not allowed to play with my subject, but there is some human research to support similar techniques. It's unlikely to turn the progeny of two couch potatoes into an Olympian, but it may promote secure attachment and a healthy resilience in the face of stress. And hey, he likes roller coasters.
 
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