You asked in this post how providing toys and new objects helps with a puppy’s brain development. This article on Early Neurological Stimulation, describes what some breeders are implementing into their rearing practices. I have heard it described as “Super Dog” rearing and been privilaged to see how some Shiba breeders are using it in their programs with their puppies, and I plan to follow suit.
The portion on “enrichment” and future trainability speaks very loudly to me. I believe that providing varied types of toys and tactile experiences to young puppies helps them learn how to engage their world with more confidence, and sets them on the right path of learning how to learn, and learning how to play. I can tell you from personal experience and I’m sure you can relate to this as well given your extensive rescue history, that it can be very difficult to motivate a dog to engage you for training when everything around them is a new experience.
Undersocialized dogs and dogs reared in an un-enriched environment often have no clue about toys, how to play, and lack coping skills needed to be successful in new situations. Most of the training I do with my dogs involves using treats, toys and play to motivate behaviors I like, so a dog that is fearful of or disinterested in those things, makes training for even the most basic skills, difficult to say the least. And I really love a Shiba that wants to learn and play. Does that make sense?