The Writer’s Process Blog Tour is a series of blog posts that provide insight into the blogs you read: how ideas turn into posts, why those ideas are even written about, and what’s in store for the site. You may have seen posts like these on some of your favorite pet blogs lately, as the invites have been fanning out to more and more sites in our network. I have particularly enjoyed reading these posts to learn about the process of other bloggers, and it truly highlights the amount of work that is poured into all of our blogs.

So is the writing process more than grabbing a glass of wine and opening the WordPress admin? Well, that’s the easy answer, and perhaps a little bit more goes into DOGthusiast. Let’s find out.

My invitation to the tour

SlimKitty LogoSlimDoggy LogoI was invited to the tour by SlimDoggy. SlimDoggy, and sister website SlimKitty, regularly post about how to achieve a healthy lifestyle for, and with, your pet. Not only do they write about health and fitness for pets and their humans, but regularly highlight important information about ingredients commonly found in commercial pet foods, or used in homemade versions in their Dog Food Database.

Two of the SlimDoggy dogs, Jack and Maggie, resemble the DOGthusiast dogs Mort and Tig in so many ways when it comes to their behavioral characteristics and personalities. SlimDoggy has always been a favorite blog of mine, given our similar dogs and a shared interest around dog health and exercise.

Now let’s answer some questions.

What am I working on

I don’t have a shortage of ideas for posts to write about on the blog. In fact, I now have 90 drafts for blog posts in various stages of development. Some of them are close to finished, and others are not much more than a title with a couple notes. This is in addition to lists in other locations. But because I’m running a couple of businesses (Stylish Canine and FoundPixel), time often gets in the way and I don’t post quite as regularly as I would like to.

My biggest projects on the blogs are my new Flyball series on Training Tips Tuesday, and the Mort Report. The Flyball series is an introduction to the dog sport, in seven parts – and takes a bit of time to produce because it includes quite a bit of detail in addition to photos and videos. But I think it’s worth the additional work to help people learn about this fantastic activity that so many dogs love.

Why do I write what I do

I believe that we write better posts when we experience, and are interested in and passionate about, the topics we cover. I’m sure that I could potentially write something that has better visibility in search results or a larger potential audience, but it wouldn’t be true to me or be the blog I’d want to read regularly. So because of this I write about living with an active dog, who is Mort through and through. And Tig gives me a great point of contrast being a somewhat normal-activity-level dog, verging on lazy.

I cover quite a few dog training topics after having taken some courses on it in 2011 and 2012. I took a month long intensive course on dog training from John Rogerson, a long time and published behaviorist and trainer who lives in the UK. I also took “Canine Behavior Academy” courses from Trish King, another published dog behaviorist and trainer who lives here in the Bay Area that each took a couple months to complete. I wanted to actually use this knowledge somehow, and given that I don’t run any training classes at the moment the blog is one way to utilize what I learned in a way that helps others. In other words, do a bit more than training Mort to jump off my back and hop around on his back two feet.

How does my writing process work

The most straight forward, process wise, are the series and regular weekly features. So on Mondays I try to write a Mort Report (this week was an exception due to an illness – mine not his. Shh, I do help him type his report!) A Mort Report will detail something we’ve done, and make it useful enough to give readers an idea about something they can do with their dog. And hopefully a bit of behavioral insight into what their dog may be thinking about the activity (benefits). If their dog is as active as Mort, it could be particularly useful!

Tuesdays are for Training Tips. It may be high-level behavioral information, down to a granular “how to approach doing this trick”. I try not to get too specific about how to do something, as all dogs and their humans will take a different approach to learning. But hopefully the posts always provide enough information to get started and achieve whatever it is. No shortage of ideas for this series.

Beyond this a post will start with an idea from something I saw somewhere (a question, another post, something on Facebook, wherever), or it will start with something I wrote somewhere else. For example, you will see some of my answers originally posted on Quora fleshed out into longer blog posts. I might answer something on the Pet360 forums, and turn it into a more detailed answer on the blog. Yes, I recycle here at DOGthusiast!

Now I get to invite a few other blogs to participate in the tour!


Author Rebekah of My Rotten Dogs

Author Rebekah of My Rotten Dogs

My Rotten Dogs is a tremendous resource about raw feeding and providing a natural life to your dogs, something I personally believe in to the core. The author, Rebekah Ward, is an RN from Indiana who lives on a hobby farm with her dogs Neeko, Bruce, Faolan and also cats, chickens, and guinea fowl. As someone who hopes to have a hobby farm one day, I love following her stories about everyone living in such a setting. You also regularly find really useful tips about ingredients that you can add to your dog’s diet to improve health and well being. I recently read this post about the benefits of tumeric for dogs and immediately hauled it out of my spice bin for their meals.

I also adore the story behind the blog’s name, as Rebekah explains on her site. When she was a child, her grandmother frequently said as a term of endearment, “Oh you are just so rotten, let me hug that neck.” Not to mention, I personally think of my dogs as spoiled rotten (in a good way), and as such, rotten dogs.


Luna from Beagles and Bargains

Jessica Shipman’s Luna from Beagles and Bargains.

Beagles and Bargains is written by Jessica Shipman, and is a go-to place not only for finding out about great pet products but also learning how to DIY for your dog and find pet-friendly locations around Virginia (such as wineries!). You will also find many photos of the adorable Luna, a model and perhaps spokesbeagle for the blog.

Luna and Mort are both great toy destroyers, so we can trust Jessica and Luna’s reviews of any toy as something that will also survive Mort’s jaws of steel. But I also love the DIY projects you find on Beagles and Bargains. For example, this recent tutorial on how to make a bowtie out of duct tape. I am such a fan of duct tape now that it comes in so many different patterns, and have been known to put more than one bowtie on Mort to make him dapper. I would have never thought of putting those two things together. And not only does Jessica make the tutorial simple enough for anyone to follow, you are always rewarded with an adorable photo of the end product with Luna (one such example seen here!)


Author Lori with Zoey

Author Lori with Zoey

The Litter Sitter’s blog is written by Lori Waters, who owns and operates the dog walking at pet sitting service in Miami Beach, Florida. Lori’s blog features incredibly relevant information for pet parents, including health and wellness topics. Recently Lori wrote about a topic very near and dear to my heart about using natural alternatives to chemical pesticides.

I love to follow blogs written by pet professionals who are “exposed” to so many different dogs and cats. This gives the writer so much insight into the different personalities, behaviors, and even health issues affecting our pets. Lori also used to be a veterinary technician, and that knowledge background is another great reason to follow her blog.


So that’s it for our entry into the Writer’s Process Blog Tour. Let us know what you think about the DOGthusiast process, or any of the other blogs linked here! I hope that you’ll go visit them, follow their posts, and enjoy them as much as I do.

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • Kate Obrien

    Great post Jen – love the look behind the scenes. 90 drafts??? Wow, I though I was doing good with 5-6! And great blogs to introduce – I will be watching for their posts too.

  • Thanks for the invite, Jen! I enjoy reading about how others work, and their process. Because mine is super unorganized.

  • Lindsay Stordahl

    I’ve enjoyed reading about how other bloggers work. I am impressed by 90 drafts too! Definitely no shortage of ideas from you!

  • HuskyCrazed

    SO great to learn more about the things you do! We did our post for the tour a few weeks back, and I have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  • Hi Jen. We met at Blog Paws in Vegas earlier this year, and I’m finally getting around to checking out everyone’s blog and connecting via social media. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on writing here. I’ve struggled with regular features on my blog since I hate being on a schedule and having to do things at a particular time. I finally stepped back and decided to just write when I wanted to write. My traffic would be better if I did what you do, but we all have to be true to ourselves. I’ve started a few draft posts like you do, but I find that if I don’t write them out when the inspiration is there, I never get around to it.

  • I loved reading about your writing process. The flyball series is definitely worth it, I’m loving it. Your dedication to your dogs and all of the activities you participate in is something I admire.