Tuesday Spotlight – Jen DeHaan with DogThusiasts


*Who is filling out this Interview?
Jen deHaan

*Where are you from?
Sunnyvale, California (although my hometown is Sidney, BC, Canada)

*Tell me a little about yourself?
I am a small business owner of a handmade pet product website called Stylish Canine. I design and make most of the products available on the store. I have worked in the tech industry (web software) for 13 years, but left a corporate position last month to work on my own businesses full time. I am also a freelance graphic artist and web designer.

*What is your blog called?
DOGthusiast: for the dog enthusiast
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*When did you start blogging? and why?
I started blogging in 2001 on a custom system built by my husband, and later on proper blogging platforms. The blogging was to support the technical books I wrote, and was later part of my creative job in the software industry.

In 2010 I started DOGthusiast.com to blog about dogs. I started this blog to support the volunteering I did at shelters to highlight some of the issues shelter dogs face, and to also share what I learned about dogs in regards to training, behaviour, and general guardianship. And that all happened because we adopted the world’s most awesome dog (in my opinion, of course!), Mikey. He has since passed, but having him and losing him was the inspiration for a few of the most popular posts on my blog. He was a pretty amazing dog, and the 8 months I shared with him were some of my happiest memories. The process of losing him to IMHA was the most stressful, sad, and educational experience I have ever had. And I’ve experienced a good number of the apparent top “stresses” a person can face, too, in the couple of years that followed that. It still comes out on top. So I found that blogging about that process in detail was both healing, and hopefully useful to others as well so they don’t feel so alone.

*How often do you blog? Is it a set schedule or random posts?
Up until late 2013, I was writing posts randomly. Now I have a set schedule, and have specific topics planned for three months ahead of when they are posted. I plan to publish at least three times per week on this particular blog, or more when possible. I also publish content on a couple of other blogs about local animal advocacy, and dog sport teams.

*What is your blog about?
DOGthusiast is primarily about behaviour, training, dog sports, sheltering and advocacy, and dog sports. I also post on topics about living with dogs (dog guardianship), and the odd photo and video.

*Do you have any animals?
Yes, my dogs are Mort and Tigger. Mort just turned 3 and he is a Kelpie mix, and Tig is a 4 year old English Shepherd. Tig came from Grateful Dogs Rescue, and Mort was found at Merced County Animal Control. They are both herding type dogs, but their behaviour couldn’t be any more different.

*Fill In Your Social Media Contact Info:
Website: http://dogthusiast.com
Email: : http://dogthusiast.com/contact
Facebook: http://facebook.com/dogthusiastcom
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dogthusiast
Others:
Feed: http://dogthusiast.com/feed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Dogthusiast/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/StylishCanine
Instagram: http://instagram.com/StylishCanine
YouTube: http://youtube.com/dogthusiast

*What do you hope to achieve with your blog in 2014?
I hope to post quality content on dog training and behaviour that is useful to pet guardians on a regular, consistent basis. I also hope to post more videos than I have in the past. I detailed some additional goals on this recent article that was part of the Pet Blogger Challenge.

*Have you ever attended any Blog Conferences?, If so what ones and how was it:
I have only attended technical conferences so far, and that sometimes include relevant content to blogging. The closest so far was the OSCON conference (open source technology), where I focused on attending presentations in the “community” track. It was a fantastic conference that I can certainly recommend attending, but it is heavily weighed on the technical side of things. For a completely random story regarding OSCON, the other conference at the convention center that year was Sock Summit. There was a wonderful mixture of geeks and knitters at the hotel while I was there.

I look forward to attending my first blogging conference this year in Las Vegas. I’m headed to BlogPaws 2014 in May!

*What do you get inspiration from?
All of the wonderful dog rescuers, trainers, and enthusiasts I “meet” both online and in person inspires me to write about dogs. I am motivated most by the advocate and rescue community, and also by the sport dog community. Advocates and rescuers spend so much of their time and money supporting disadvantaged dogs, and often rehabilitate highly stressed or desperately ill dogs who have no one else looking out for them. The sport doggers will drive many, many miles to attend tournaments that last the entire weekend – just for enjoyment, benefit to, and love of their dogs. The dedication these communities show their beloved canines is absolutely heart warming.

And of course, I’m inspired to write by my own dogs. Working with them on training and behaviour modification, partly due to their fearful and sensitive personalities, provides all sorts of ideas for blog posts. And now that I’m working at home, I spend a lot of time in their presence!

*What are some of your favorite pet blogs to read?
A few of my favourites include The Other End of the Leash, Dogtipper, Fidose of Reality, and Keep the Tail Wagging. The DogStarDaily blog is a great although less active resource. And of course, Confessions of a Rescue Mom!  I also follow some really excellent trainers, behaviourists, rescuers, and dog guardians on Facebook and Twitter, who link quality articles and share training tips and inspiration on a regular basis.

*Anything else you would like to add?
If anyone has questions about their dog’s behaviour, or something they want their dog to learn, I’d love to hear from them! My goal is to write about useful tricks, or answer questions people have. I won’t be able to answer every question, but I’ll help provide answers whenever I can. There are often many ways to tackle training or resolving a behaviour problem, and I hope to add one perspective that helps someone achieve what they’re after.

*Do I have permission to copy this to my blog?
Yes! And thank you for the great questions

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