It's been a busy 6 months or so. And without really posting all that much here, the traffic for NaturalDogBlog has continued to grow. That encourages me, as my hope has always been to be a valuable resource for all of you out there that are looking for a different, effective approach to dog training. Still, with the exception of a workshop and continuing to give some lessons here in the Portland, Maine area, most of my time has been going into other things - children's music performances, and re-entry into the world of "day-job" - some software work that came along at just the right time. My apologies to those of you whose comments are still in moderation, or whose e-mails are awaiting an answer - the Natural Dog Training blog isn't quite paying the bills...yet - though every leash you buy certainly helps! 🙂
Where we've been, and where we're headed
I think that honestly I needed a little bit of distance from the blog after the first outpouring of information - to figure out what direction I wanted to take it, and to regenerate some inspiration. I've had on-going conversation with some of the readers of the blog, and I thought I'd share with you some of the changes that are in store as a result of our collective brainstorming. Also, I'm hoping for feedback on an item or two. OK - here goes:
- Natural Dog Training DVD on its way: There have been MANY requests for video of Natural Dog Training exercises, particularly the pushing exercise. The ball is officially in motion, and I will be filming an instructional video, which will explain pushing, using pushing for redirection - essentially it will be a condensed version of the 1st lesson that I give during one-on-one sessions. It appeared that video would be more helpful to you than an eBook, so while an eBook might still be forthcoming (or a "companion guide") the DVD is taking priority. We'll be filming in a couple of weeks - and the current goal is to have it ready by mid-November.
- Advertisements: When I started the blog, I thought that advertising was THE WAY to go as a way of keeping the content free AND generating some revenue. Any time a reader of this blog clicks on one of the ads, I make a little money. However, I think that the advertisements as a whole are pretty distracting - and I probably wouldn't personally recommend most of the products advertised anyway. So I am going to be phasing most of the advertisements off of the site. There might still be a google ad section somewhere - and I might still end up advertising for products that I can fully recommend. But you'll notice less and less of an advertising presence - which hopefully means that you'll give a little more attention to the ads that do remain.
- Re-organization: Now that there are so many articles on the site (nearly an entire book's worth, in fact), it seems like a good time to take stock of how they're being presented. I'd like to ensure that important information isn't buried, and to encourage readers to read more of what's here. I can't tell you how frequently someone reads a single article, then sends an e-mail with a question that's answered in a different article. I'm always honored to receive correspondence, of course - but for efficiency's sake I want to make sure that you all have every opportunity to answer your questions with the information that's already here and available. So, over time you'll notice a re-structuring of the site. All existing links will remain, however, for those of you who are linking to the site.
- Your questions answered - in blog articles: As I mentioned before, I have an enormous backlog of unmoderated comments and unanswered e-mail. So I will probably bulk-moderate the comments, and I will start answering e-mail publicly (don't worry - your name and any "identifying" information will be changed). My hope is that all the readers here will benefit from answers to these questions (and it'll also keep me from having to answer the same question over and over).
And now the questions:
- Would any of you be interested in having a Natural Dog Training forum on this site? The goal would simply be to have a place where those of you working on Natural Dog Training techniques can "meet" and discuss your progress. Right now there are lots of conversations scattered across the internets - so would any of you be interested in seeing them happen...here? Also, if anyone would like to step up as a moderator for such a forum, please let me know.
- Would anyone like to pre-order the DVD? In exchange for a pre-order, which would help offset the production costs, I could offer you a reduced price on the DVD. A win-win situation for all of us! I'm guessing that the discount will be about 20% off. Once I know there's enough interest, I'll create a separate paypal page to handle all the details.
Please use my contact form (or my e-mail addy, if you have it) to reply to the above questions.
If you're new to the site, thanks for finding us. There's definitely going to be a lot more action around here in the months ahead. If you're an old reader - thanks for sticking around! There's still more ground to cover, of course! All my best - Neil.