top of page

We are Jessica Strauss

and Laura Kathryn

Over 40 Years of Dog Breeding Experience


Jessica Strauss and Laura Kathryn began their breeding careers in 2001.  Their first meeting was in May of 2002 at a litter evaluation in Washington State, conducted by Tina Barber, the Breed Founder.  Both Jessica and Laura were first trained by Tina on how to conduct a proper litter evaluation.  

Both have extensive knowledge about Veterinary science and canine health issues, how to raise healthy puppies in a stimulating environment, both have taken courses in theriogenology, canine genetics, Veterinary science and canine behavior.  


Both have mentored several new breeders, passing on knowledge and information so that the new breeders can have a solid launching pad into breeding healthy and happy puppies.


Jessica and Laura have worked to develop lines that are solid both in temperament, structure and health.  Our dogs are health tested for heart, hips elbows and temperament, DNA testing is done to rule out recessive carrier diseases.


Laura edited the final revision of Tina Barber’s Book “The Shiloh Shepherd Story”.  She worked 23 years for the US Food and Drug Administration and has trained dogs, horses and cows (yes, even cows).


Jessica has background in law enforcement and K-9 training.  Jessica worked as an animal protection Officer and as a Vet Tech.

What We Believe - A Puppy's First 8 Weeks of Life

A puppy's first eight weeks of life is akin to a child's first five years of life.  What a puppy experiences and learns during that time period set the foundational launching pad for the rest of his or her life.  

The social and environmental interactions that a child experiences during the first five years form the basis for how he or she perceives and interacts with the world around him or her.

At Strauss/Solace Shilohs, we follow the approach described by Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia.

Three Stages of Canine Growth and Development

1.  Early Neurological Stimulation - 3 to 16 days of age

2.  Socialization - 4 to 16 weeks of age

3.  Enrichment - no time limit - throughout the life of a canine

Super Dog Program - Early Neurological Stimulation

At Strauss/Solace Shilohs, we instituted the Early Neurological Stimulation program that was developed by the US Military.  It was done in an effort to improve the performance of dogs used for military purposes.  This Early Neurological Stimulation canine program was called the "Bio Sensor" program, or the "Super Dog" program. 


This program shows that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results.  The first period begins on the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day.  This interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and when employed, gives the dog a superior advantage. 

When puppies are born, their eyes and ears, and digestive system is not fully developed.  The dam licks them to stimulate digestion.  At this age, they are only able to smell, suckle, and crawl.  Body temperature is maintained by snuggling close to their mother or by crawling into piles with their littermates.

Studies have shown that mild forms of stress in animals stimulate hormonal, adrenal, and pituitary systems.  Later in life, the stressed animals were better able to withstand stress than littermates that were not exposed to the same early stress exercises.  When tested as adults, for differences in health and disease, the stressed animals were found to be more resistant to infectious diseases. 

Studies involving early stimulation exercises on puppies and kittens found they performed better as adults on problem-solving tests than non-stimulated littermates.

At Strauss/Solace Shilohs, from day 3 to day 16, during each of the five tests, we stimulate the puppies between 3 and 5 seconds  (as per the Bio Sensor/Super Dog program):

1.  Tactical stimulation between toes, with a q-tip

2.  Head held erect, holding pup with both hands

3.  Head pointed down,  holding the pup

4.  Supine position, holding the pup

5.  Thermal stimulation, on cold/damp washcloth

Benefits of Stimulation:

1. Improved cardiovascular performance (heart rate)

2.  Stronger heartbeats

3.  Stronger adrenal glands

4.  More tolerance to stress

5.  Greater resistance to disease

In tests of learning, stimulated pups were found to be more active and were more exploratory than their non-stimulated littermates.    Stimulated pups were calmer in the test environment and made fewer errors. 


Canine socialization studies have shown that puppy socialization is critical between the fourth and sixteenth weeks of age.   Puppies that have adequate attention and handling are more inquisitive and active.  We spend several hours each day with our puppies to provide an active and fun time, but also to facilitate the canine/human bonding experience.  We do this because it is healthy for the puppies but also because we adore our puppies and it is healthy for us.

Enrichment is a term that has come to mean the positive sum of experiences that have a cumulative effect upon the canine.  Enrichment experiences typically involve exposure to a wide variety of interesting, novel, and exciting experiences with regular opportunities to freely investigate, manipulate, and interact with them.  Canines that are raised in an enriched environment, later in life tend to freely investigate, have more confidence, and are less reactive.  

Regular trips to the park, shopping centers,  and obedience and agility classes serve as examples of enrichment activities.  Enrichment activities should provide many opportunities for interaction and investigations. 

In Summary, genetics account for approximately 35% of performance, and the remaining 65%  which consists of management, training, and nutrition can make the difference in the performance of a dog. 

After employing the Super Dog program, we have found that our puppies tend to be more outgoing and adapt to situations more readily.  They have greater confidence and are less reactive than the previous litters when we did not employ the Super Dog program in our breeding program.

It is up to the families that get a puppy from us, to continue the work that has gone into the puppy.  We formed the pup's foundation and now it is up to the families to create the necessary time to enjoy their puppy, give the puppy outings and stimulation.  

Reference: Carmen L Battaglia, Building Better Breeders, Early Neurological Stimulation

For a link to the article:

Solace Shilohs.jpg
bottom of page