Happy New Year from The Science Dog! (The 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge)

Happy New Year from The Science Dog!

To start the year off, I am participating for the first time in The Pet Blogger Challenge that is organized by the travel site, Go Pet Friendly. Many thanks to my friend Eileen Anderson for alerting me to this annual event. Below are this year’s queries and my responses. I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about The Science Dog!

  1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience? Answer: I created The Science Dog in September of 2013, shortly before the publication of my fifth book, “Dog Food Logic“. The purpose of The Science Dog is to provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to dog folks and pet professionals about dog training, behavior and nutrition. My focus is primarily on original scientific research that has been published in peer-reviewed journals. I try to find studies whose results are relevant to trainers and dog owners and then summarize these in what I hope is a “user-friendly” style. Oh, and yeah, sometimes I editorialize a bit.



  2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016? Answer: I published the second Science Dog book in July of 2016, entitled “Only Have Eyes for You“. Both writing and promoting it has been a lot of fun! My husband Mike designed the cover for the book (as he did for “Beware the Straw Man“), and I was especially tickled that he used a photo of four of our dogs, posed in our garden. The oldest girl, Cadie, has since passed away, so this photo is very near and dear to my heart.

    Cadie Chip Vinny Cooper May 2013


  3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.) Answer: I enjoyed writing all of the posts, especially the nutrition essays, as I had focused the first two years of the blog on topics related to behavior and training. In 2015, I started to include more essays about nutrition and feeding practices. However, my personal favorite of 2016 has to be “The Perfect Dog“, because it reviews two recent papers that provide some insight into the gap between what people think a dog should be versus who dogs actually are (and also, to some degree, places the responsibility for this exactly where it lies).       Unrealistic Expectations
  4. Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog? Answer: I use FaceBook quite a bit, and have a FB Science Dog page that gives dog folks access to the blog and allows readers to chat and to contact me directly. I love to hear from readers, especially when they have ideas for new science-based topics for the blog! (hint-hint).
  5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts? Answer: The essay that received the largest number of hits (~ 18,000) was “When Sit Doesn’t Mean S*it“. Catchy  little title aside, I think that it resonated with shelter professionals because it presents a set of research studies conducted by Alexandra Protopopova’s team that both challenged a prevailing belief about training and adoption rates and presented some unique solutions that may be more effective as predictors of dogs’ chances for adoption.   Sit Ubu
  6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.) Answer: There are a number of dog-related blogs that I follow regularly and enjoy. Two that are among the best are Eileen Anderson’s not-to-be-missed essays about dog training at EileenandDogs and Julie Hecht’s excellent research summaries at Dog Spies.
  7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them? Answer: What my readers may not know (but all of my friends do) is that while I hold a Masters Degree in Canine/Feline Nutrition, I cannot cook a human food meal to save my life. I started volunteering two years ago at our local soup kitchen, The Daily Bread, and the other volunteers quickly learned this little secret. I am now a designated dish-washer and happily report that I excel at that particular task, keeping everyone safe (and well fed).



  8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers? Answer: Not to point any political fingers (interpret this as you like), but my advice to other writers (and citizens) is: Don’t lie and stick to the facts that have evidence to support them.    just-the-facts-maam-2
  9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017? Answer: The biggest challenge that I may have in 2017 is finding enough time to work on all of the writing and dog training projects that I am excited about. I am currently writing a new dog training book that presents evidence-based training and the applications that we use at our training school, AutumnGold, plus developing a few new training courses with several of AutumnGold’s instructors and writing essays for The Science Dog (many of which will appear, in some form, in the new book). Add in training and enjoying time with my own dogs, and it looks like it will be a busy and fun year!

    Cooper and Alice Standing Platforms


  10. Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Answer: Thanks to GoPetFriendly for sponsoring this blog challenge and hop! This is a Blog Hop!

12 thoughts on “Happy New Year from The Science Dog! (The 2017 Pet Blogger Challenge)

  1. Happy to have discovered your blog! Nice to see some science in the blog world as it is often more opinion than fact. I can definitely see why “When sit doesn’t mean sh*t” has done well for you. That title made me laugh out loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so excited to have found your blog through the Pet Blogger Challenge this year! I’m ready to dig in and read many of your posts. I love scientific-based articles, especially about nutrition and that’s an area that I want to learn more about.

    I’ll be coming back and watching for wonderful new posts in 2017!


    • Hi Elaine, and Welcome to The Science Dog! I am happy to hear that you are interested in nutrition. I will be posting a new essay about protein meals within the next few days and look forward to your thoughts and comments. Happy New Year! Best, Linda


    • Thanks Jodi! The Challenge was fun! I am so appreciative of Amy Burkert, owner of GoPetFriendly for organizing it and encourage all dog folks to use her helpful and fun website! Best, Linda


  3. I’m so glad that you mentioned the Perfect Dog because that’s one post that really resonated with me this year. It’s such a simple concept in theory, but the ways in which we think about what we want in our dogs versus our own reality (or in many cases the effort we’re willing to put in ourselves to get a well trained dog) are quite different. And I have to say the bit about being the designated dish-washer is funny because my dog is the only one who will even dare try the food I make.


  4. This is my first visit to your blog. Thanks! I agree that we should stick with the facts. This is one reason that in my writing about dog nutrition, I only write about my four dogs. I have a certificate in pet food nutrition, but nothing like your level of education and experience. It makes me uncomfortable when I see people sharing information as if it’s fact when they should be saying “in my experience with my dogs.” Too many people use social media and blogs to diagnose and treat and I’m trying NOT to be part of that trend.


  5. This was my first time participating in a blog hop and so glad I did as I’m discovering new blogs that are so great. Looking forward to checking our your posts.


  6. Nice to meet you. Being a scientist myself, I love that you incorporate so much research into your blog posts. I know sometimes people just want to read opinions of others’ who have gone through something but websites that can provide real, useful facts are indispensable. Thank you.


  7. Nice to meet you! I am so excited to discover your blog. I really have to read more blogs this year. A blog that focuses on the science behind some of my favorite subjects is a must-read. Congrats on your books and good luck to you in 2017!


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