Momma Told Me: #Ad Rewarding Beyond Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#Ad Rewarding Beyond Positive Reinforcement Dog Training

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. 
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Momma Told Me: The best rewards are the ones you didn't even know you earned.

I still remember that first ride home. It was a long one, six hours long to be exact. We'd waited months to find Nora, and as I tucked my new ball of fluff safely into her 'car seat,' I distinctly remember the classic wave of 'new parent' fear washing over me. I worried about pet safety, if I'd be able to keep her happy in our second story condo, if I'd have the patience to potty train her, how we'd both deal with separation anxiety when I'd inevitably have to leave home to run errands. I was nervous, I was excited; but most of all I was in love. She was an adorable puppy, yes, but she was also the newest member of our growing family. That long ride 'home' Nora didn't whine once, and not a single accident was made; and you can bet I pulled my new dogher out of the car beaming with pride.
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As a child we never had a dog in the household. We spent the first 10 years of my life in a condominium with a very tiny patio, and no grass. Momma was adamant that she always 'wanted' a dog, but that a dog simply wouldn't be happy living there. So I understandably had a bit of anxiety when Nora came into our lives, my own life stage very similar to those of my parents during my childhood. I worried if Truffles, our cat, would learn to accept her new sibling. I pondered adding a 1' fencing border around our patio railing. And I avoided the temptation of allowing Nora to sleep in our bed for fear one of us would roll onto her in the middle of the night. There was plenty of puppy-proofing; and as a toy breed dog, there are still many things we do today to ensure Nora's safety.
Take time to paws for family. #NudgesMoments #Shop
Nora picked up on training really fast; I often look back on how well she did with her basic commands and wonder why I never attempted to teach her tricks. I suppose I was too busy thinking of her as  family member more than a pet. Until she grew too long, she'd sleep on my shoulder while I blogged through the afternoon. When she'd become too big she'd sleep stretched alongside. And there were definitely some anxiety issues on both our parts whenever I'd have to leave the house. Much like a crying baby, we'd often have to practice on leaving Nora in  separate room while home, or leaving a radio on, to soothe her when her humans couldn't be around.
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One of the behaviors we taught Nora shortly after crate training was 'homing' or 'spot training.' As a Morkie (Maltese + Yorkie,) Nora tends to be a very energetic breed that loves people more than any plaything. Seriously folks, this dog has no judgement when it comes to strangers; if you are a human you must be there to love her, period. This is where spot training came in especially handy. It's a technique Nora executes without fail, and to the amazement of 22 strange relatives huddled around her last Thanksgiving. When placed on one of her beds or play mats Nora will not move off the surface, for anything. The exception is that she is allowed to retrieve a wayward toy so long as she returns to her bed or mat immediately. We also permit Nora to be 'in good behavior' while technically off her spot, so long as she is still touching (IE a leg on the mat her head resting on her bed), and she is intelligent enough to comprehend this.
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Find a place that makes your tail wag. #NudgesMoments #Shop
I will have to share a video of this sometime, it really is quite astounding. The only detriment is that you must remove the dog from her 'spot' if you wish her to roam freely or even come on command. Nora knows full well when she has free reign to roam, and will take advantage of it quite fully when there is no bed or mat around! During our training process there was a decent amount of patience, relocating the dog back to her 'spot' when she moved, and positive reinforcement in the form of treats. I distinctly remember feeling guilty every time I handed over a treat- most of the ingredients on the back of the generic pouch has an excessive amount of syllables and didn't sound very natural.
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For a long time, since her behavioral training, Nora has forgone treats for that very reason. Occasionally I'd find a gluten free or handmade biscuits and chews I trusted and Nora would simply turn her nose up at them. I recently discovered Nudges premium jerky dog treats on a shopping trip at Walmart. I immediately recognized the American brand behind Nudges for their raised in the U.S.A. proteins and a quick once-over of the pouch told me I was right to trust my instincts. There were absolutely no fillers, and four delicious varieties to choose from; Health and Wellness, Bacon, Duck, and Beef. Even more exciting to me, as a pet parent, was the discovery that these FDA dog treats were made with human grade ingredients.
Nudges dog treats come in 4 delicious varieties of filler-free, made in the U.S.A protein that's FDA approved. Yes, you could even eat them! Create some #NudgesMoments today and pick up a package at a Walmart near you. #Shop
For a long time we've gone without 'treating' in our family because I felt there was no need for rewards if I wasn't actively training Nora- and she also never approved of the treats I approved of. When I recently opened a bag of Nudges dog treats for the first time our tiny dog nearly fell off the bed in excitement! Let' just say Nora is less than lady like when Nudges are involved. And it turns out she's not the only canine wagging their tail for these treats- check out the brand's Pinterest board for some adorably wholesome moments.

While my little girl is still quite 'little,' I still look back on those fluff ball days with pride. But I am always sure to stop and live in the little moments of today as well. We've made it two years together, and all of us still have our limbs (okay, I might be lacking a tail); that's an accomplishment in itself! Nora is always there will a silly grin and a wagging tail no matter what the universe has thrown at me, and sometimes I forget that all those little things are #NudgesMoments in themselves. I don't need my dog to do back flips or retrieve the paper to indulge in a little extra happiness; after all, she never asks me for anything before sharing her love....

What Daughter Says: Nora is a reward in herself. Doesn't she deserve a Nudge now and then?

18 comments:

  1. I found myself mesmerized by the photos, then I went back and read the post TEEHEE. Quite possibly your best since the M&M ones!

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  2. What a little sweetheart! I need to spot train my dog. I've never heard of such a thing. She's not picky with her treats, she'll eat anything that she deems food, but I want her to have good-quality food and treats.

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  3. Love this one. Believe me I've seen Nora go crazy over Nudges!

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  4. How adorable. Your photos are stunning and kudos for the patience to train her so well. I had one experience with a dog and it was a #fail. Nora is precious and it's good you found her some healthy treats.

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  5. So adorable - I love the tongue remark. Yu should talk to my dog about the tongue thing for sure

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  6. Very cute puppy! Love the photos, too.

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  7. Another amazing and creative post! I need to find out more about how you create those special effects. My dog loves Nudges too. I need to learn that "homing" trick. She could use a little better behavior from time to time. The Nudges treats certainly help for rewards.

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  8. Awww, how cute!!! jeez, lol I think my pups will need some of these

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  9. Awesome post, Jenna! Sharing everyone. The photos rock!

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  10. These pics are awesome! Your pup is adorable!

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  11. You had me at Hello.. I think after looking at your pictures, I am running to buy these

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  12. Of course she does! what a cutie. :)

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  13. I am amazed you taught her to stay on her mat/bed when people are around. We tried for a long time to train our basset hound to not sleep on the couch, but we still find her there ALL THE TIME!

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  14. My dog loooooooovvvvvees Nudges. I was so excited to see some coupons for those in the past few weeks because our dog will go crazy over them! Great pics, Nora is adorable.

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  15. What a little cutie. I am pet sitting a poodle right now and I bet he'd love them.

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  16. Oh my gosh! She's the cutest little thing! I'm so glad that you found treats that are safe, and that Nora loves! Yay Nudges! #client

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  17. It's amazing how wonderfula wagging tail and freindly little face can make you feel. We had to have our beautiful lab put to sleep last summer and I still miss her every day.

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  18. I love Nora, she is a cute dog. I have 3 kitties, one dog and one bun. Sorcha is a husky/German Shepherd and she is most happy when she is outside. There is a small dog that comes and see her when she is outside.

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