When we began breeding Kerry Blue Terriers, we formalized our Early Sensory Stimulation (ESS) process with 11 Kerry Blue Terrier litters. We have also incorporated Puppy Personality Testing designed after the “The Obedience Personality Test” adapted from "The Intelligence of Dogs,” pages 194-207, Stanley Coren, Free Press, 1994.
We follow principles of Pat Hastings' "Rule of Seven" with our own socialization program that is an extension of the ESS. We change the environment so puppies have a wide variety of stimulus such as daily handling by different people, sounds, and introductions to socialized adult dogs. When they get their first set of shots at 6 weeks, we take them to our grooming shop where they meet and greet our customers and are introduced to our pet shop birds, cats, and clients’ pets. We include grooming, nail clipping, and regular baths as part of their maturation process.
We are dedicated not only to ESS, but a holistic approach to raising puppies with a wide variety of experiences. When we compare puppies raised by ESS with those that are not, we see dogs that are more skittish, less robust in new and different environments, and less confident. We strongly believe that our adult dogs are healthier and make better companions and show dogs.
The Puppy Personality Test is performed at 7 weeks with loud noises, the opening of umbrellas, and towels dragged across the floor in an unfamiliar room by a stranger. At 7 weeks, this is a very vigorous test, but our puppies all perform very consistently. We strongly believe that ESS and holistic socialization of puppies create robust personalities.
We believe that the benefit of ESS is the foundation that contributes to the behaviors and health of adult dogs, and we strongly endorse the use of ESS, socialization in a variety of environments, and puppy testing. These processes and methods create new paradigms in breeding and raising great dogs.