The US Army SuperDog Program – Bio-Sensor Exercises

Bio-Sensor Exercises Can Help Make SuperDogs

They may not look like much at this stage, but from 3-16 days old, these little jellybeans are hardwired to develop neural pathways like crazy! Exposure to the right kind of stimuli at this stage can pay off, big time, in the future.

A couple weeks ago, we did a post on the Bio-Sensor and scent exercises we do here at Aria with the young puppies. Developed by the US Army, the SuperDog program is designed to stimulate a pup’s neurological and physical development when coupled with a healthy, natural environment and loving human leadership. There’s only a small window of time in a puppy’s development -from day 3 through day 16- where these exercises are the most effective, so it’s important to plan ahead and get them on the calendar so your little guys don’t miss out.  It’s amazing to see how these exercises can not only maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life, but also give you some idea of the individual temperament of each puppy early on in their life. This aids in making better placement choices, when it comes time to send them to their permanent homes.  If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is available here. 

Our article on the BioSensor and Scent exercises from a couple weeks ago is available here —> ARTICLE  and back in July of 2016 we did another blog post going into detail on exactly what we were doing, and when, with the 2017 Firesongs litter.  You can see that post here —> ARTICLE

For an even more detailed approach, there’s a great article in a 2015 issue of The Canine Chronicle you can find here —> ARTICLE


Zen says: “Of course, MY puppies were all Super!”

I hope this is as interesting to all of you as it was to me.  It made for fascinating reading as I was looking after Zen’s litter of neonates that month, and made me rethink some of my previously held notions about how dogs absorb information.

– Chelle

Bio Sensor and Scent Exercises

Bio Sensor Exercises

Did you know that from day 3 through day 16, there are a set of easy exercises you can do with your newborn puppies that help maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life?  These Bio-Sensor exercises stimulate their neurological and physical development and were developed for the SuperDog program for the US Army.  There’s only a small window of time for this program to be most effective, and keeping track on a developmental schedule will help you be sure you don’t miss this opportunity. If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is available here. 

These little sniffers are ready to be exposed to new scents as early as 3 days!

You can also introduce scents during this time frame.  Each day, introduce a new scent item.  While each puppy takes their turn investigating the offered scent, put them on a level surface, or hold them in your lap – so long as they are safe from falling.  You can choose a variety of scent items for these few days, focusing on things they might need to be familiar with in their adult life.  For example, bird dogs would benefit from exposure to pheasant feathers.  Law enforcement dogs could be exposed to some of the scents they might encounter on the job. Therapy dogs could sample some hospital scents, like antiseptics and cleaning products.  Blankets that smell like other pets in the household, or dirty laundry from family members are good choices, too.

Hold the scent near their nose, a half inch to an inch away, and allow the puppy to interact with the scent at will for at least five seconds. If the puppy moves forward to engage with the scented item, allow them up to 30 seconds to continue smelling. Repeat the process with each pup.  

You can see a video on early scent introduction here

Keeping track and making little notes of each session may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty rewarding. As time goes on, you can learn a little bit about the personality of each pup.  Who is good at self-soothing?  Who is normally quiet, and who is always vocal?  Who is the first one to

Little Denzel is one seriously mellow fellow! He was a great little puppy from the moment he was born. Here he is, falling asleep while being weighed. You can see my notes to the left.

explore a new scent or toy?  All these things can be important later, when deciding which pup is the best fit for which home.  

There can be a very thin line between “good” and “great.”  Going that little extra step early on can help YOUR puppies stand out as superstars later in the ring, on the field and as pets and companions.  


Your Daily Cute- Tuesday 7/26, Aria Borzoi Encore x Zen Litter

Yesterday’s Highlights

On Monday we were busy preparing for the big day coming up – the pup’s 3 week birthday!

Some of the pups got ready by catching a few extra ZZZZZZs.

I have been clipping nails every three days and checking collars every single day to be sure they’re not too tight.  On Monday, Blue outgrew his completely.

I ended up getting clever and getting him a little extra length by using a 2 inch long scrap of lavender that was just lying around in the box.  

Zen watched me the whole time I bustled… something she’d never done before. She’s gotten real comfortable with me handling the puppies, even if they’re fussing, but she seemed kind of wistful.

It was as if she was saying “They’re getting bigger, but they’ll always be my babies.” 

Speaking of getting bigger, Red was able to figure out how to use the potty box right away.  She’s the firstborn.  She’s good for a lot of firsts!

Wow. They really ARE growing up.

“They can get as big as they want, but they can’t have my dinner!”

“Oh Zen…it’s ok. They’ll be doing solid food of their own real soon now.  I promise, you don’t have to share.”

“Yay! Solid food! Soon!”

Today’s Daily Cute brought to you by borzoi fanatic and fantasy author C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith.

Whelping Box Upgrade

With the puppies rounding the corner into their third week, it’s time to make some upgrades in their living space.  They already outgrew their original little Rubbermaid tote where I’d stash ’em while I’d clean their whelping box – they all escaped en masse one day early last week, before their eyes were even open.  It was weird.  I’ll tell you all about it sometime in the next couple days. Aside from getting a bigger box, I put the half-partition up in the whelping box that very day even though it seemed kind of premature.  But, hey – better safe than sorry, right?

The original whelping box was easy.  Just the box with the railings and the fleece with the rubber bottom.  Wipe down and change as necessary. Simple, effective. Here it is, in case you don’t remember.  In case you’re curious, you can view the entire blog entry with the whelping box setup right hereIMG_20160712_103359.

But early on, I noticed something kind of amazing that I’d only heard about before, but never had the opportunity to observe first hand. The VERY instant the pups had any control over their own bladder and/or bowels, they began moving away from the puppy pile to poop and pee.  Amazing, isn’t it?

One of the billions of things that factory puppy farming gets so completely wrong is to raise pups on wire bottom floors, where they never have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.  Their waste falls away and they don’t have any consequences.  The other kind of factory farming means cages that don’t get cleaned regularly – and that makes pups comfortable in their own filth.  Neither is what nature intended.  In this case, doing the right thing comes easy to the pup… you just have to give him the opportunity to start doing it and those instincts will do a lot of the work for you.

I’m starting to see that raising puppies the RIGHT way, is kind of like making a quality piece of art.  Sure, you can go to the swap-meet and pick yourself up a cheap velvet Elvis, or somebody’s favorite aunt’s hobby painting – but it won’t be the same quality as a portrait painted by an artist with an education from a school of the fine arts and a lifetime of experience. A master of their craft is going to use the best materials available, just like a quality breeder will breed stock that’s true to the breed standard, has excelled in the ring and/or the field, is mentally and physically sound, and has been health tested and deemed clear of any genetic disorders.   Artisanal puppies.  Raised with loving, hands-on care, with methods appropriate to their breed.  But anyway, I digress…

So, given the right opportunity, puppies will start housebreaking themselves. This week, here at Casa de Aria Longnoses, they get their opportunity!

The first addition to the whelping box is the litter tray.  This is a crate tray, with a light smattering of compressed pine bedding pellets.  They expand once they get wet, so there’s a lot more on the tray than it looks like.  The added bonus is you can tell once they’ve used it!

Crate tray with pine pelleted bedding.  A little goes a long way.  

Here’s what the box looks like all put together.



They got a couple toys last week, but now that their eyes are open, they get a variety of new friends.IMG_20160725_133509

Here’s an “up close and personal” of their new friends.  As a funny aside, Rita told me that once the puppies open their eyes, they usually see the puppy on the Dura-Whelp logo, recognize it as a puppy, and try to make friends with it.  I was skeptical… until I saw it happen last week!  I think I have a photo of it, too… I’ll try to find it and put it up as a feature on The Daily Cute sometime soon.

So, within minutes of putting the pups in their new box, guess what?  IMG_20160725_163532

It works!  The litter box WORKS!  The proof is in the… er, well, not pudding… but you get it!
Giving your puppies an early start at basic housebreaking gives them the tools they need to have a good start at their forever homes.  Isn’t it cool how mother nature helps out?

This post brought to you by fantasy author C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, life long borzoi enthusiast and person who did very little today except play with puppies.  Dang, they are getting SO cute!



Meet the Parents! Encore and Zen

Made for Each Other!

FullSizeRender (1)

I’ve been putting all this focus on the puppies, so far, and that makes sense.  Because who doesn’t love cute puppies, right?  But I thought I should probably introduce their parents… there’s some real star power going on here, behind just the cute-factor. Here’s one of those times when I can just shut up and let the pictures do most of the talking. 🙂

Sire: “Encore” GCH DC ZoiBoyz Encore DC

Encore winning Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster 2016 
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Here he is, relaxing at home.  So regal.  

Here’s a link to Encore’s record on The Borzoi Files. 

Dam: “Zen” Ch Majenkir Red Caliente

Isn’t she lovely?  And she knows it!

Here’s a link to Zen’s record on The Borzoi Files. 

Now do you see why these pups had little choice other than to be a big pile ‘o redheaded superstars? 🙂

This batch of red-hot lovin’ brought to you by guest blogger C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, holding down the fort at Aria Borzoi with hound hugging, pup snuggling, and keyboard pounding.

Photos from Friday July 22nd

The Great Stackable Sisters!

Today was a day of big naps, and lots of nursing.  Yes, playing happened, but really it was mostly eating and sleeping.  And we all know what eating and sleeping leads to!

“I don’t know, Momma! What does eating and sleeping lead to?”  

Playing?  IMG_20160722_081231

Yes, yes. Some of that. You caught us sneaking it in. But what I really mean is GROWING!  Look back at the previous post, if you don’t believe me… these guys are getting huge.

This guest post brought to you by C.T. (“Chel”) Griffith, chief houndhugger, housesitter and puppy chewtoy at Aria Borzois.



Windows to the Soul

Most of the puppies have their eyes open now.  Still a few bumbling around in the dark, but most are awake, aware, and taking their first looks at their little piece of a big beautiful world.

July 21 CutieFace
Look at that sweet little face!  

It’s been the most fun day!  I’ve hardly been able to take my eyes off of them. They’ve been noticing and interacting with each other as individuals now, looking up at their dam, looking at me and coming towards me.  All the little hints of personality that I’ve seen are starting to blossom before my very eyes!

July 21 Puppy Secrets
“Pssst! I heard there are these things called secrets. Don’t tell anyone!” 

My goodness, they are adorable.  They’re just too cute for words.   They’re also getting kind of hard to photograph.  I set them down, and they don’t stay put.  Not even for an instant.  They’re off and running, scattered in all directions.  They won’t look at me when I want them to, and they come bumbling towards me when I’m trying to get side shots for identification. Looks like ALL shots are gonna be “candids” until I can get a helper.

I expect the rest of them will open their eyes tomorrow.  They were born on July 5th, and are already a VERY active and mobile bunch.  You can tell their parents are speedsters!  They all escaped the clear Rubbermaid tote I was using to keep them cozy while I was cleaning their pen – they all figured it out within 5 minutes of each other on Sunday, and they weren’t even two weeks old yet.  No one had their eyes open yet, either – it was like they shared a hive mind.  A bigger Rubbermaid has since been secured.

July 21 3 of a kind edited
Haha! “Brace yourself”… see what I did there?  😉 

Better brace yourself… more photos (and possibly bad puns) to come!


Training “Negatives” This Way Could Save Your Dog’s Life

If you find yourself saying “no” or “don’t” to your dog as a frequent command, here’s something to think about.

It’s extremely difficult to train a “negative” – especially in the case of those pesky, persistent self-rewarding behaviors such as counter surfing.  It may only result in food 1 in 50 times, but once the reward is achieved, the behavior will continue. A better approach is to train and correct for a contrary behavior – for example, instead of training a dog not to jump on people, it’s much easier to train them to sit for petting.

When you use a voice command, it requires the dog to parse through all the thoughts in its head and figure out which behavior/thought caused the verbal response. An unwanted by-product of this style of training is that it also trains the dog not to “get caught” rather than teaching the dog to avoid the actual problem behavior. Since “getting caught” often only relies on one human’s presence in a multi-human household, the dog learns that it’s best to seek the self-rewarding behavior when the disciplinarian is absent (training dogs is a HECK of a lot easier than training a husband and teenage stepson!).

In addition, using voice (or any human-wielded tool) as positive punishment, reinforces the possibility of an adversarial/negative relationship with the primary caregiver/most trusted person. Too often – especially in the “loose dog” scenario that will happen in EVERY greyhound owner’s lifetime – I see dogs hesitate to come to their owners. Dogs have difficulty understanding the human difference between scared and angry – both conditions tend to cause similar body/voice changes.

I judge lure coursing, and previously held “fun run” days monthly for years, encompassing hundreds of retired greyhounds – believe me, I KNOW dog/owner response in the loose dog scenario.  It’s not a happy thing.

Here’s where a simple change of approach makes a huge difference.  Instead of the owner doing something to punish the behavior, the dog seeks the behavior and something “attacks” him (popper, scat mat, mousetrap – whatever will give him a scare without causing injury, that can be present ALL the time).

Dog: “Hmmmm….mom is in the shower and breakfast smelled really yummy….I’ll just check out the counter and sink and see what she left….she was really rushing this morning, so there MUST be something….not here….not here….YIKES!!!!! IT BIT ME!!!!! Yooowwwllll! Mom! Save me!!!”

You’ve accomplished two important successes in one: First, you’ve demonstrated that the behavior is NOT self rewarding – in fact, it’s downright scary! Second, you’ve become the person your dog runs TO when he’s scared. You get to respond “Poor baby! Are you ok? Did the nasty counter bite you? I TOLD you that room was dangerous! Let me kiss your head and make it better – maybe you should stick with me when I’m busy….”

(Note: if you own 34″ tall borzoi, you know then it’s mousetraps instead of a stubbed toe, because they’re hanging off their chest feathering <g>. Also, before you decide I’m the cruelest owner ever: mousetraps don’t close over a dog nose – although they sometimes get my fingers – the nose is too large for a small trap, and the cheap ones are so delicate that they tend to snap when they are nudged.  I NEVER bait them with anything, and I don’t put them out and leave food on the counters – the point is the dog needs to stop sneaking for food that isn’t usually there – and to keep him from grabbing dinner off a hot stove when I run to the restroom.  They feel like being shot with a weak rubber band.)

I think that setting up potentially adversarial relationships with greyhounds or other sensitive dogs is MUCH more damaging than a once-or-twice shock or pinch. Those occurrences fit the requirements for a correction: Immediate, Effective, Over.

Nagging at or sporadic corrections set you up as unpredictable and untrustworthy. The behavior problem isn’t solved, and a much greater problem is created – the dog no longer has complete faith in you as master and savior.

Any dog that has lived with me for any length of time quickly learns that whenever they are frightened, injured, or just insecure, all they have to do is find me and I will fix it. It’s better than a recall, because a recall requires action on my part – whereas this teaches the dog to find ME.

Think of the parallels: 1) Greyhound gets loose in public gathering, everybody starts yelling “loose dog,” greyhound gets spooked and runs away from people. 2) Greyhound gets loose in gathering, everybody starts yelling “loose dog” (let’s say that a friend was holding the dog while Mom got a plate of food from the picnic table), the dog gets scared and immediately runs in the direction where Mom is, knowing she will save him and tell him he’s a good boy.

Life saved.