There is a Pet's Bloggers Challenge on, and you must answer the following questions to enter, so here it goes:
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?
I began in March 2016, wanting to connect with those who are passionate about continuously learning to enrich their dog's life through enhanced care and training. My blog focuses on myth-busting behaviour issues, providing resources and answering common questions with up-to-date, modern insights. We connect the dots to force-free, positive reinforcements and behavior issues.
2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?
Receiving a total of 115 Likes for "My Trainer Told Me My Dog is Dominating Me" - it showed I hit the mark with many and hopefully helped redirect efforts to be force-free and providing positive reinforcement to Dogs.
3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
Dealing with the Loss of Your Best Friend (http://www.executivepetservices.ca/blog/dealing-with-loss-of-your-best-friend) because it helped many people facing the holidays with a sadness and despair. Sometimes just knowing that it is 'okay' to grieve deeply for a dog is cathartic. I had several notes written to me privately thanking me. It was extremely difficult to write and I was touched by how much it helped others deal with their loss.
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?
It was an action, specifically overcoming the fear that no one wants to hear my voice.
This time last year I was a recognized Executive Consultant working with Global Companies to introduce complex change programs, moving organizations through the maze of new strategies. It was a high-stress, high-paced career and it was impacting me physically, emotionally and personally. My voice back then was authoritative and confident.
I turned my life upside down when my medical team recommended I change professions, and find more joy, a more active lifestyle, and regain my health. We sold our home and moved to a property in the middle of a forest in Muskoka, Ontario (the most beautiful place on earth in my opinion). We opened Executive Pet Services & Resort, and I earned my diploma in Canine Behavior. But there was an identity crisis in all of this and to gain a foothold in blogging it had to be overcome. I had to answer definitively why anyone would want to hear from me? I was new in the field and humbled by what had brought me to this point in my life. So many experienced professional dog behaviourist before me, and I have so much to learn (still).
During my studies I learned that the bridge between humans and dogs is closing. My previous career dealt primarily in Human Dynamics and helping people deal with change. Canine neuroscience and cognitive science were bridging human emotion and cognitive abilities with dogs going through change. They were remarkably similar and I was able to come up with original thinking and connections between the two bodies of knowledge: Human & Canine Behaviour Modification. It was hard a first, to connect the dots in a new way that hadn't been done before, but I had original thoughts and hoped people wanted to learn and hear more, Once I saw interest, well you couldn't stop me writing.
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?
5 Observations to Tell If Your Dog is Bored (http://www.executivepetservices.ca/blog/enriching-your-dogs-world)
People like the myth-busting and new insights into Dog Behavior. They adore learning how to enhance their dog's life. Our readers are made up of dog care advocates and passionate dog owners,/dog enthusiasts.
6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)
Theo Stewart's The Dog Lady, whose Blog is called, "Paws for Thought" (http://www.dogidog.co.uk/paws-for-thought). Theo is one of most admired Dog Behaviourist that I follow. Her blog teaches me a lot.
7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?
I don't have a dog. We do foster from time to time but not too often. I fall in love with every dog I meet. Saying I need dogs in my life is an understatement, and when people allow me to care for their dog or help their dog it fills my hungry heart. By staying hungry for dog kisses, dog hugs (where a dog leans into you), and earning the sweet look from soft, loving eyes of a dog, it allows me to put all my heart into their care. My business also provides new innovative "Human-Dog Sleeping Zones" where myself or a professional caregiver monitors the dogs all night to ensure restorative sleep occurs. Having my loyalty be with a four-legged family member while managing group care would be problematic.
8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?
Write emotionally and passionately while keeping your readers in mind. Visualize their faces when writing, as if they were right in front of you. Speak to them in a respectful and honest manner. Be gentle and kind with your words. Keep your message simple. Oh, and for me, keep working on your proof-reading - LOL!
9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?
To change the way people think. To deliver more informed articles to help them make better decisions. To challenge old beliefs and introduce new ones.
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?
I would love to hear from other bloggers about their best marketing campaigns because in small business every advertising dollar counts.
'Sparky' Smith is a Canine Behaviorist and Practioner, educated through the International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour, earning her ISCP.DIP.CANINE.PRAC.