What Do You Get From a Dog Blog?

What do you get from a dog blog?

Dog blogs don’t tell you everything. Let me spit this toy out and I’ll tell you all about it.

Why are we here? No, not on this planet.

What are we doing reading dog blogs? What do we get from a dog blog that we don’t get in a book or regular website? And why do we keep coming back for more?

Why Dog Blogs are Awesome

If you love dogs, there are no shortage of ways to learn about them.

  • television shows
  • YouTube
  • books
  • websites

But dog blogs bring something unique.

Timeliness

A production company takes weeks to film a television show and air it. A writer can spend more than a year researching, writing, and editing a book. Even a video on You Tube takes time to edit and post.

But a blogger can respond to situations and discussions in the time it takes to write an email.

Isn’t this also a weakness? Because people publish quickly without having all the facts? Yes. But remember 60 Minutes has done the same thing with far more lead time. The burden is always on the reader to judge the truth of what they’re reading.

Learning from dog blogs.

Dog blogs don’t tell you how to avoid baths.

Personal Touch

Some viewers feel drawn to Victoria Stilwell or Cesar Millan as people. They feel they “know” them and that makes watching their shows meaningful.

But tv watchers will never know just what Stillwell goes through when she has a training failure. Or how a celebrity really feels after losing a beloved dog.

Bloggers open their hearts. They let you inside. And not just their feelings but sometimes their finances. And why do bloggers share such personal information?

Helpfulness

Most bloggers want to help. Very few bloggers make any money at all. Some cover their hosting costs.

They hope that by being honest and sharing that someone else will get help they could have used.

When I was fostering an extremely fearful foster dog, Cherie, I turned to two blogs: No Dog About It and Bringing Up Bella. Both bloggers honestly share what it’s really like living with a fearful dog. And happily, share their dogs’ success and progress.

If not for their helpfulness, I would have felt alone dealing with a dog so terrified she’d lie down in the middle of the street rather than take one more step.

Some things you can't get from a dog blog.

Dog blogs don’t tell you how to keep a sunspot from moving when you don’t want it to.

Community

There are some wonderful dog training websites out there. But information is put out there for us to consume. If you have a question, there’s no easy way to get it answered.

But blogs cultivate community. If I say something dumb, someone will correct it in the comments. Readers comment to other readers. S’Waggers will post something on Facebook along with their own commentary, inviting a new community to talk back.

As an extrovert, I’d love to gather a bunch of S’Waggers around the fireplace with a few bottles of wine and some really good bread and cheese so we could talk about dogs and other things for hours. But sharing comments on a blog and social media is the next best thing.

And speaking of the next best thing…

Puppy Pictures!!

Okay, Something Wagging is not where people come for beautiful photographs. Luckily we have The Daily Dog Tag and Tales and Tails for that.

But why visit a static website when a nice blog updates its pictures every day?

What do you get from dog blogs?

Dog blogs don’t tell you how to be a lap dog when you don’t fit on a lap.

Why You are Awesome

When a blogger first starts out, the only people who read her work are her mom (maybe) and other bloggers. It gets lonely.

But as time goes one, people who don’t even know what blogs are find you and start following. They become friends.

Coming up to my fourth anniversary, more and more S’Waggers are normal people. Not bloggers.

And since you’re smart and love dogs (I can tell by your comments and emails), you must have found something worthwhile in dog blogs too. Something that amuses you or maybe even helps you have a stronger relationship with your dog.

Do blogs do something special that’s worth sharing with people who don’t know what blogs are?

Honey the golden retriever thinks about dog blogs.

There is so much great information missing from dog blogs I should probably start one myself.

Taking Dog Blogs to the Masses

A few people have used the “e” word lately—y’know, e-book. Frankly I don’t imagine anything I’ve written here would fare too well in large doses.

But I was already wondering if it would be worth gathering the collective wisdom of dog blogs to share with people who don’t read blogs.

Sure, it’s helpful to read in a training book or website that you should stop walking every time your dog pulls on leash. What if it doesn’t work? How have other dog people dealt with dogs who haven’t read the training manuals and don’t know they’re supposed to stop pulling?

What are the best training rewards when your dog has a sensitive stomach, allergies, or isn’t food motivated?

How did other people decide if their dog would be helped by anxiety medicine? How do you introduce a cat to a multi-dog household when each dog responds differently?

I’ve read about all these things in dog blogs. There’s a lot of hard-won wisdom and experience here. Is it worth sharing with a wider audience?

I have a shelf filled with dog training books. I bookmark my favorite websites. But reading dog blogs is like a master’s course in dog behavior and the human canine bond.

Plus they’re filled with beautiful dogs and funny stories. Just like life.

Is it just me? Or do you feel it too?

Your Turn: What do you get from a dog blog that you don’t get anywhere else? Have you ever found the answer to a problem you were having reading a blog?

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the link to our $$ post. It’s incredibly weird to share such private money insights, but I think it’s important for people to know that *if* you get into a major medical situation with your dog that it can balloon into something that’s financially absurd.

  2. Love the reference to 60 Minutes, it made Mom laugh. We love reading dog blogs! There is so much we have learned in the past two years that we would most likely never have known about had we not read dog blogs. The community is awesome, I mean we are good friends with folks we have never met and everyone is so very helpful if any problems come up with pets or blogs. Dog blogs are also quick to read, not like a heavy novel…most of the time ;)

  3. I like the way you differentiate dog bloggers from “normal” people. Even one knows dog bloggers are “normal”. ;-)

  4. We’ve got so much advice from fellow bloggers, from food recommendations to training tips, or sometimes it’s just suggestions of places to visit.

  5. COMPLETELY PAWESOME POST!!
    I know you focused on Dog Blogs because this is a dog blog, but I think the fabulous points you made can also apply to “Pet” blogs as a whole.
    For me it is the personal connection behind the words. I am drawn to warmth and personality when I read blogs, that is my “hook” I can look up factual info anywhere, but it is the “personal” touch for me that makes reading dog blogs (and pet blogs) so enjoyable for me. As you mentioned “the you are not alone” aspect and finding kindred spirits for things we may be too embarrassed to admit. There is A LOT of comforting and kindness that comes from bloggers that you will never get using any of the traditional information gathering modes.

  6. I am writing a book but not from blog excerpts; however, in the pet space.

    This is a wonderful piece. I have always loved writing and a blog is a natural place for me to embrace that. Dog blogs/pet blogs in general allow me daily access and not having to wait for a magazine to arrive in the mail to address a topic. I am finding that most pet magazines I do get these days feature topics I already read about on a pet blogger’s posts long before the magazine came.

    I love the real-life experiences and images/videos from pet bloggers I read. Fact finding is so crucial, so I tend to read the blogs with data to back it up OR those who I know it is an opinion and they don’t try to pass it off as gospel fact.

    Speaking of community, I count my lucky stars for BlogPaws every day. My career is where it is today because I took my passion and learned from BlogPaws. The community is a several-times-a-day stopping point for me.

  7. What a great post! I love reading blogs because I always learn new things, and I’m a sponge for knowledge. Plus, I want to know what’s going on with my friends! After a while following someone, you start to get hooked and want to keep up with their daily doings.

  8. Apart from an amazing online community I’ve also been lucky enough to make some real ‘live’ friends through Alfie’s blog. Moving from one continent to another felt much better knowing that my dog has already made us some friends online :-)

  9. I think you covered every reason why we blog. And why it’s not just about the writing, but about the reading, and above all the community. I learn a lot about different products…treats, training tools, toys, that I never would have found out about just surfing the internet looking for something. Maybe I would have skipped over that agility tunnel if I hadn’t seen Emma and her siblings trying it out and having a blast. My dogs have benefitted greatly from my blogging, because I have become far more active with them than I was before too.

  10. Thanks for a great post. Pet bloggers are influencers, rock stars, and we embrace them.

  11. I think what I love about the pet blogs that I visit, and the ones that visit mine in return, is the sense that we are all in this together. We love our dogs and we love sharing them with like minded people who get it, who don’t roll their eyes, who know exactly what we mean even if we don’t express ourselves well. I know I get emotionally involved in the lives of these people/dogs I have never met (and probably never will) and I hope they feel the same way. I cry genuine tears when someone loses their dog to cancer. I know their pain and I feel it.

    And like you said, I know I am not alone. I would so love to sit around you fireplace with a bunch of bloggers and a few bottles of wine. It would be my idea of paradise! I still rue that I didn’t realize you were in Ithaca! Such an opportunity missed!

  12. Wonderful post! You always bring a unique insight about our lives with our dogs to your posts. I love how everyone in the dog blog community has a different way of seeing and doing things. I’ve learned different methods to handle Pierson’s dog aggression, how to take better photos of my dogs, about different health concerns for dogs, about different things people do with their dogs such as hunting, therapy dogs, agility, etc. I’ve also found some great books about dogs to read.

  13. LOVE this post, great job! Bloggers are a very special group of on line friends. And when you finally get to meet one it would be even more special ( I haven’t met any of my friends yet but just imagine it would be special). I enjoy the day to day happenings seeing what the animals are up to.

  14. Great post – and I could pretty much write “ditto” under Taryn’s comment. I also love the sense of community. I remember when the internet was just getting going, a friend was in an online forum for folks trying to get pregnant. She became such close friends with some of them that they met up. At the time I remembered thinking that was so odd, that you could get so close to folks you never met. But now I totally get it. You really become attached and invested in your blogging friends.

    I’ve also learned lots from the various blogs I read, or from comments folks leave on my blog.

  15. Great post, I’m fairly new to the whole blogging community, and already I can see how friendly it can be. Mostly there is no commercial gain and it is as you say, a little bit about sitting around talking with friends and sharing information. I love that everyone has their own personality and experiences to bring to their blog and the writing is so personal. I am always fascinated by the many different ways people interact with their pets. Some treat them like children, some really see the world from a doggy perspective and for some people a dog is a dog is a dog.

    I also think we can learn to look at some things our pets do that may on occasion be challenging (like you mention with fearful dogs), from a new perspective when you read other blogs and perhaps it helps to inject some humor into a situation. And there are no rights and wrongs, just what is right in your situation, and the more you read I think the more you realise that a one size fits all approach to dog care and training doesn’t work.

  16. For me, it’s all about connection. I’ve been blogging (and reading blogs) for 11 years, and I can tell you that I’ve never found connections like the ones I have with other pet bloggers. They are real, and they write about real stuff. It’s the best reason in the world to read pet blogs!

  17. I do believe that this is one of your best posts!

    There are so many reasons why I read dog/pet blogs … the spirit of community, the stories people share about their pets, the way we pet parents/guardians/owners share insights into ourselves, the online friendships that develop and grow, the sharing of an “ah-ha moment” which might help someone else dealing with a similar situation … And you touched on all of them.

    I, too, got a good chuckle from your reference to 60 Minutes. For the most part, I can’t stand “news talk” shows because they’re usually so absurdly biased in one direction or another, especially when politics is involved. Give me a dog blog post to read and I’m happy.

    So, when is the wine and cheese party?

  18. This topic has been on my mind a lot in the past few days as the result of other conversations and I am so glad you chose to write about it. In fact, I was just setting down to write a very different post this morning when I stopped by here first, now I am re-thinking everything!

    I have been a blog reader since blogs were first a thing in the world. Way back in 2001, I believe. For me they were like on-going book sagas, only I could get a much deeper idea of the characters and didn’t have to wait a few years for the next one to come out. I have always enjoyed observing other people and blogs were a way I could lurk in people’s lives without having to interact. Creepy? Maybe. But people are endlessly fascinating. I would also seek out blogs on subjects that interested me at the time or things I wanted to know more about. The Opinion pages of the newspaper have always been my favourite. I love to know what other people are thinking about current events. Other than a myriad of online journals, I didn’t have my own blog and never commented or connected with any of these pople.

    I started reading dog blogs about a year after I adopted Shiva, around the same time I started writing one. I don’t know why it took me so long to find them as they would have been a huge help during those twelve months! It was so reassuring to know I wasn’t alone with my problems, my dog wasn’t a monster, and it was okay that I wasn’t the perfect owner.

    So, I guess that’s what I get out of dog blogs. Commiseration, humour, new perspectives and opinions, and a fascinating look into the lives of strangers. And puppy pictures, of course.

  19. I think I just invented a new word! Pople = people you have read online but with whom you have never interacted. Woo hoo!

    Or something. :-P

  20. I read and write dog blogs to better my understanding of my dogs, of the world of rescue, fostering, and adoption, and to help clarify the tension I constantly feel between my need to know and train dogs (and horses) better and my need to spend time in study and practice for my career as an RN. Both facets (we won’t get into books) let me teach, heal, and support, I hope.

    Most of the dog blogs I read are in the moment: they haven’t undergone rigorous editing like a published book (though I have more than my share of training manuals, too), yet editing is careful; comments support not only the blogger but we readers, too. I read bloggers who have fearful dogs, loving dogs, hound dogs, and dogs of breeds I rarely work with, affording me information, hilarity, sorrow, and heart felt knowledge I would otherwise miss.

    Most dog bloggers publish more consistently than I – sigh – which means I get to read them more and more, like you, Pamela!

  21. I’m in it for the dogs. ;)

    This is a great post (thanks for the shout-out but that’s not why the post is great.) Every reason you mention here is also a reason why I write and why I read. Anyone who has met me knows that I am more comfortable with dogs than people. Still, the fellowship aspect of reading blogs had been something I was missing for many years until I found again the ‘house of dog’. As an introvert, socializing through blogs allows me to make connections on my own terms, at my own times. And best of all, walk away from it for a while if I get overwhelmed.

    But honestly, for me, it really is mostly about the dogs and now I’m only being partially facetious. I love dogs. I love to learn what they’re learning, what new stuff they’re doing, how they’re feeling… I love to look at them, learn about them, laugh at them and ooh and ahhh over them. I cry with every loss. If I could, I’d have a house full of dogs all the time. I would never get tired of them. Since I can’t, I supplement my dog habit with blogs.

  22. Exactly what I was thinking! ;)

    I have never been able to read a dog training book all the way through, but blogs give me a real life aspect that I can’t get from a book. Every day moving and shifting with life together makes me feel like part of something real and alive with other dog lovers. Something I’ve only had once in my life. Never have I met so many people who really, truly love their dogs and love talking about them. Most of the time it is my only connection to the real world and what a better world to be in.

    Skip the wine, but the bread and cheese and friendship sounds fabulous!! :)

  23. I think for me it is the community and the fact I can talk directly to you and say ‘wise person what the hell do I do!’ :0)

  24. Love this blog about what you can get from blogs. Blogs take one subject further with more detail. More than you can get from a book. Bloggers have shown a human side which draws you in. I find them very heartwarming when they show their own personalities. I know they do their research. I started out loving and reading Dogster. Now, thanks to Twitter I am following several others. Some funny, some serious. All very good.

  25. I love that dog bloggers are so much more real and accurate. Books and tv shows are edited. Dog bloggers aren’t constricted by time slots and word counts, so they can go into details. They don’t edit out struggles and shortcomings – they write posts about them! They’re falliable – they have flaws. And they have an unabashed honesty that allows us to post our realities on the internet for all to read and comment on. It’s brave, if you ask me. I love reading other blogs for the personal experiences -sociological anecdotes from the world of dog ownership. Every dog and owner is different, and each experience has its own unique circumstance and parties involved, but there are always shared common threads that allow us to identify with the writers.

    As a blogger, I blog so that I don’t bore my non-pet-owning friends with my stories. It’s an outlet to a welcoming audience. I mean, they’ll still get some stories because I can’t help myself, but I try to keep it to the best ones that will be universally enjoyable.

  26. Thanks for sharing my blog in your post Pamela. I never really thought about why I read blogs, but you captured all the good reasons why I do. I feel like I learn so much from other bloggers (dog and otherwise) and I feel like that community is our lifeline and support at times when we most need it. You’re making me remember why I started writing.

  27. Dog Blogs are just awesome, must there be a question as to why? They’re cute. They’re not so professional and intimidating. They’re not scolding you or putting you down or making you feel guilty for doing things your own way. And they’re so darn cute and really real. They’re personal. They are at your own level. That’s why! Well, according to my mama anyway.

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