As parents to four fur kids, my husband and I take both a great joy and a great sense of responsibility as we make sure they are healthy, happy and safe. This includes feeding them healthy food and healthy dog treats. It also means training them to understand boundaries and that we are in charge. The pack leader, if you will.
We prefer the “positive reinforcement” approach to training and this includes high praise, gentle correction and healthy dog treats like Nudges Wholesome Dog Treats (great coupon alert!). We wanted to take special care to keep them healthy and safe with the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Keep reading to find out not only what we did, but how you can keep your fur kids safe and sane during Independence Day!
With the Fourth of July coming up in a few days, I wanted to pay special attention to their health and safety because we were not sure what to expect. This is our second Independence Day in our new home, but last year there was a burn ban so there were no fireworks. At our apartment in Bentonville, it was mostly elderly people so not many fireworks were in the area. Where we live now has lots of families so we expect lots of fireworks fun!
The only problem with that is, we don’t know how our animals will react. Did you know that July 5 is one of the busiest times for animal shelters because so many dogs (and I’m sure cats) freak out from all the firecracker noise and run away the night before? We’re pretty sure how our cats will react based on previous years but this will be our first (loud) Fourth of July with the dogs.
We wanted to make sure that we were prepared for multiple possibilities and so I was glad to learn about Nudges dog treats to make the preparation a little easier (and a lot more tasty for our black-mouth cur mix Jazzy and our shepherd mix Flower!). You can read more about my shopping experience in my Google Plus album (including finding your own dog treats!).
Our dogs are both tagged and microchipped, which is a vital first step to ensuring their safe return if a problem does happen. But we wanted to try and prevent that from even happening!
Training with treats
While many animals get scared of the sudden loud noises from fireworks, I was guessing our dogs might have the opposite reaction. After all, they are the ones that try to play games with the lawn equipment and beg to be allowed to check out the machinery baling hay behind our fence. My guess is that they will either ignore the firecrackers or want to join in the fun. Sooo not a good idea! A fly away firecracker could injure them or they could get so fascinated by the glow that they walk into the path of an oncoming car.
They are already trained well but with the new distractions I wanted to make sure that they remembered those lessons. I felt like the best way to do this was to remind them that they can get better things by staying with us rather than trying to get out in the street to investigate the firecrackers. What better way to do this than with dog treats? Bribery? You betcha.
When we choose treats, we try to get ones without fillers and we prefer ones made in the USA because we know what the laws are for manufacturing, etc. Our dogs are medium-sized but I like to have smaller treats so they don’t fill up on non-regular food. That’s what makes Nudges so great. They fit all that criteria, even the “small treat” preference. They come in long strips but they are very easy to tear apart. That gives me more control over deciding if the behavior deserves a tiny treat or a big treat. We never want to overfeed our dogs so the serving guide on the back of the package is helpful.
I first went through basic commands with the new treats just to see how the dogs like them. Um, only problem with that? They love the new treats! Every time they think I’m opening the bag now they come running and beg for some. They even start sit/stay/lay down behaviors hoping it will win them a tasty morsel. I used this affection for the Nudges to my advantage for sure.
We did some door dash reminder training after the basic command review. I picked a time when there was a lot of activity (although no fireworks at that point, thank goodness) that I knew they would find distracting. I let them come to the wide open front door and they started to try and peek outside. I set the Nudges bag down in the door way and they both sat then laid down! As you can see in the first picture, they watched with interest but didn’t budge. Yes, they got a treat!
Dog treats a healthy alternative to table scraps
Table scraps are really never a good idea for your pets. There is people food and there is pet food. I can’t really preach that too hard because I have been known to sneak them a bite or two after I’m done! During the holidays I feel like it’s especially important to be careful, though. We all tend to make special recipes that adds extra flair to our usual food. This includes different spices and other ingredients. Ingredients that could be toxic or at the very least, not suitable for pets. The ASCPA offers a good list of what to definitely not feed your pet, but we all know the pets will beg for the food anyway, right?
Nudges to the rescue! We will keep the dog treats handy and give them bites of that instead of people food. Think it will smell gross? Nope. We once had dog treats that were bacon and peanut butter flavored and they stunk to high heaven. Nudges smell like regular people-quality jerky.
Showing your dog some love by learning more
I’ve mostly talked about my concerns for keeping my dogs healthy and happy during the Fourth of July. There are many other considerations such as making sure they have plenty of shelter and water; and helping them stay calm if they are the anxious type around loud noises.
Check out more tips on keeping your pets safe in Live So Fab:
Want a chance to show off your woof baby pictures? Go like the Nudges Facebook page and participate in their photo contest. You can win all kinds of prizes including free product and a new phone from Samsung! How cool is that? And you’ll get to share your adorable fur kids on Facebook for everyone to enjoy.
You can also join in a Twitter party from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST July 3 where you can learn more about keeping your pet safe during the holidays and about Nudges. Please RSVP and join us.
Finally, follow the hashtag #NudgesMoments on both Twitter and Instagram in the next few days to see some really, really cute dogs!