4 pm: Well, the plan was to do some research on muzzle punches (and pokes, and jabs), tooth clacking and air snaps, and then write another post about them . . . but then, the sun came out after days and days of cold, windy rain. Right now it’s gorgeous and breezy and 4 o’clock and if I don’t go out now and work sheep and walk the dogs it’ll be dark before I know it. I just can’t stop myself, it’ll be cold and dark most of the day soon enough.
4:50 pm: I just got back from outside, Will and I had a ball. My ewe flock was a riot to work; one of them was on a tear (Truffles). For reasons unknown to me, she ran around bashing into other ewes as if out of a National Geographic Special on fighting mountain goats in rutting season. That sent the entire flock tearing around the pasture like deer, and Willie and I had a ball trying to keep up with them. (Is this about the ewes going into heat? The ram comes back home on November 3rd, and this time of year the ewes are definitely cycling. I can hardly wait for Redford to return, because I love watching the ewes interact with a new ram (they practically simper). Could Truffles be feeling a bit, uh, tropical and thus combative re who’s who in the ovine hierarchy?
I suspect this question will never be answered, but here’s a question you can a help me with. We’ve been tweaking the website, adding tabs to each product description to clarify things (see Family Friendly Dog Training for example) but we’re also going to change the home page. I’d be truly grateful if any of you could take a minute to look at the home page as it is now and tell us what you like, what you think would be more helpful. Right now, there are things I like about the page, and things I don’t, but I’m not saying til you do!
Just for fun, here are a few photos that I took this morning, trying to get a photo of Will and the Wubba Toy. Not easy to toss a toy in one hand and photograph it and Willie in the other! (Did I mention how fun it is to have the testing of dog toys as part of one’s job?!)
this is only somewhat related… but are you going to have a multi-tone clicker on the new site? I’ve been training my girls on some group commands, and we’re going to attempt to learn leapfrog this winter while we are stuck indoors, and two tones would be really useful.
I like the layout it’s very user friendly. I love the events box (wish you’d come to Colorado!). I’d really like it if there were a Q&A section, where you would respond to readers questions. Love your blog!
I have to say I really like the home page. It’s very easy to navigate and find what you are looking for.
It would be great to have a video section with both the videos of your dogs all in one place and maybe even a possibility of people uploading examples of dog behavior. My dog does a very clear and excellent forward commissure barking that I would be happy to tape so people could see an example. Or just a section with links to youtube videos to save server space.
Any word on the podcast?
Generally I like the site. I wish the blog info was closer to the top or side, so I wouldn’t have to scroll down to see if you have a new one posted, but that is being nit picky!
I agree with Sheryl – wish there was a Q & A section. Or somewhere that we could post topic ideas. I know a while back you asked for topics for you podcast, why not your blog?
Wish my dogs were toy testers! Sorry to say, but I’ve wasted TONS of money on toys that don’t hold up, or don’t hold their interest. But I keep on spending money, hoping one day I will hit paydirt 😉
The Homepage is easy to navigate with a nice layout. I agree with Sheryl and Keli: a Q & A section would be great, as would a place to for blog topic suggestions.
Love the “action” photos of Willie and his Snugga Wubba. Guess what Sophie (lab) will be getting for Christmas? The original Wubba is still going strong after almost a year, and that’s rare for any dog toy around here.
Liz F. says
Overall, I really like the simplicity of the homepage… too many pages out there have a million things crammed in that make my eyes explode. Lots of good choices made on your page regarding color scheme, font, content, etc. Very friendly on the eyes.
Forgive my art-geek-speak, but maybe the layout could be tweaked a bit more for visual interest. Nothing really displeasing is going on, I just notice that the first thing I look at whenever I visit is the brick red box that says ‘Join the pack.’ I think I look because it’s a big, bold block of color and may be a little visually heavy. After visiting the site many times, I know this box never changes, yet I always look at it! Maybe the colors of the ‘Events’ box and the ‘Join the Pack’ box could be switched… The calm blue could be at the top of the page and then below, the red ‘Events’ section would pop out AND anchor the bottom (also highlighting something that does get updated; btw, I like the events section’s recent move). Can be a hair-pulling experience to switch these little things around as one thing changes so much when you put it next to something new.
Content-wise, “Welcome to the Source of Dog Training Books and Dog Training Tips most respected by Professional Dog Trainers and Veterinarians,” is kind of long-winded for a greeting. But it is a perfectly accurate description so… really and truly, it’s a far better page than many as it is. Thanks for asking for our opinions.
I just love that first picture of Will!! He is certainly having a blast with his Wubba. Excellent tossing/photographing skills, Tricia. 😉
The website and the home page is perfect.
I was quietly hoping that you might be contemplating writing a new book instead. I realize this requires a teanzy bit more time and effort than rearranging the home page!
Jennifer Hamilton says
I love the idea of adding a blog topics suggestion area on the homepage of your blog. I realize that you may not want or be able to respond to most of the suggestions, but sometimes us readers just need a place to throw out an idea, whether it’s responded to or not…and posting a new idea as a reply to a specific blog on another topic always seems so inappropriate.
With respect to your publising website, it might be I interesting to consider a reader forum or chat area where readers/followers could share their thoughts/experiences with other like minded readers/followers. I belong to another site of upscale pet boutique owners and I find the exchange of experiences and ideas very useful with this very specific group of people with similar interests. Your books have created a community of like-minded individuals and it might be interesting to see what would happen if they could chat online…it could also be a big disaster so you would want to be ready to pull the plug quickly or have someone you trust moderate it to ensure it doesn’t spiral downward.
Great photos. Will is so funny!
Lisa R. says
I hate to be the one to have to say this, but I think a picture of you in a Wonder Woman outfit on your homepage would be very fitting. One second thought, you don’t need the outfit – you already fill those boot and then some! : ) I enjoyyour site; your pictures posted in your blog are great. It would be nice if we could view old pictures via a photo section instead of having to scroll thru older blogs. I still crack up when I think of the picture of Sushi when you tried to edit out the ‘red eye.’
Liza Lundell says
I like your website, and will soon be printing out the puppy info (still waiting for the bitch to come in, though, so it will be a while!) Will is very cute with his wubba. Wish you had some mid-Atlantic sites on your upcoming events, though!
I like the home page, especially the tabs along the top. Easy to get around on it. It looks like your main objective is to sell stuff, based on how things are placed on the page.
As for toys, I would LOVE a tough but chewable squeaker toy or noise-making toy. My pup loves to chew on soft, squeaky toys, but they all last only about 5 minutes at the most. Toys that don’t squeak or make noise don’t hold any appeal. I think what she really loves is the squeaky destruction, but that gets awfully expensive. If you get to test any toy that, I hope you mention it.
I really like the site, but am always thrown by the item on side that asks if vet etc – I’m not any of those, so feel sometimes “unwelcome”! I would love a topic list or Q/A section esp on some of the topics older books indicate that you don’t cover on your blog. I would also love it if you allowed some comments from others on toys since folks have so much personal experience and like others, I’ve wasted $ on toys that have been flops (I will be donating those still in good shape). Agree having an area for the videos and pics would be nice. I have to say I absolutely love the blog – I have that as a favorite so I often bypass the site.
I really like the recording you have at the top of your home page. Putting a voice to your name really sets a good tone for the site.
Getting comments from you and other readers about toys would be useful…perhaps could even evolve into a discussion board, but there would likely be administration/overhead/moderation required.
I find the web page is generally very easy to navigate; if you change it, please don’t make it a “portal” that is too cluttered and overwhelming.
I agree with comments about making new blog entries more noticeable on the home page. Bookmarking your blog page was easier for me – I love the calendar feature in the top right corner. Possible to work this into the home page?
(I agree with previous comment about waiting for web site updates if it means you’d be able to put out a book sooner 🙂 )
Thanks to all of you who have responded with ideas, they are much appreciated. We will take them all to heart as we tweak away. By the way, Lisa R, my Wonder Woman outfit seems to be in disrepair, but I’ll work on seeing what I can do. Can I hire a stand in with some gorgeous, buff body and young, unlined face–and then pretend it’s me? (And you would so laugh your socks off if you saw how totally average and non-wonder-woman-y I am! But thanks for the thought!)
And thanks for the encouragement about writing. Actually, I’m writing my socks off right now, spending part of every morning rewriting the Puppy Primer (it is SO ready for an update!) and part of every afternoon working on a chapter for a new book by Aubrey Fine about Assistance Dogs. And then, of course, there’s the blog, and oh whoops, my column for Bark is coming due. After that there’s a chapter for NIH about keeping children and dogs safe around one another. And then I start teaching at UW. BUT, or AND . . . there IS another book, a different book that I have started that is close to my heart. I keep trying to get to it but other priorities get in the way. What’s it about? Sorry…. truly don’t mean to be coy, but it’s too early to say much about it yet, beyond it being about people and dogs. I did, however, want you to know that I’m writing away, and that someday, sometime, another “big” book will appear on the scene!
Lisa R. says
re: Wonder Woman – please read 2nd paragraph of your post above! I beg to differ with your 1st paragraph. Anyway, you are amazing and I appreciate you sharing all your gifts with us. Thank you.
Susannah Charleson says
I’m late coming to this thread–equal parts goneness and dinkdom on my part– but wanted to say I like the site, find the colors and layout appealing and intuitive. I never have trouble getting to where I want to go here, and quickly too. The site is informative and personable at the same time, which is HARD to do.
I had an initial moment of pause as “S” did, above, with the question box about are you a vet, a dog trainer &tc. Easy to answer not a vet, but here in the strange nether that is SAR and now working with other up-and-coming puppies, I wasn’t sure how to answer that, or if I should at all. But I’m not a trainer by profession, so I figured I’d sidestep that question until a larger percentage of my time involves dog training. 🙂
Love the shots of Will and his toy in this post. Will’s got some serious Wubba-samba going on in that first one. 😀
Sirius Scientist says
I actually really enjoy your website, though I often go straight to the blog, but I also agree with most of the comments above. A topic suggestion or “Ask Trisha” section would be nice, even if you put a disclaimer about not having the time to answer each and every message you get. Aesthetically I think it’s very easy to read, I like the color choices and the pictures of you with Willie are wonderful. To be honest, I was a little in awe when I realized you actually respond to the comments left on your blog, but as others mentioned, your homepage really sets the tone of your interaction with your readers (a great thing).
Something not mentioned that I would love to see is a source for researching different topics that may or may not be covered in a previous post. Being somewhat of a . . . okay, okay, a huge nerd, I like to read primary sources and am unsure which peer-reviewed journals are best for this field. There is a section where you explain different credentials and offer links, but I would like to see current literature if possible (I might be a minority in this regard, but haven’t been able to find it elsewhere).
An “in the news” section could be interesting as well. You could post your take on current topics related to training and behavior, i.e. how much is fact versus fiction. This could be a monthly or couple times a month event, since it could eat up even more of your free time (and I can’t wait for this book you keep talking about!!!!). For the nerds in your audience you could have a feed regarding new literature in the field too (just a link to a major journal’s newest publication’s list). Having followed your blog for a short amount of time, I know many of these things do come up occasionally, but it wold be nice to keep up on where information comes from and what misinformation those who are in this field need to be aware of.
All of this being said, I keep up with a select number of blogs and this one is by far my favorite. Yes, testing dog toys with my big dog on a fabulously beautiful day IS my dream job. I’m working on finishing up my thesis and have been doing some writing from home and those days are by far my favorite! I like that you include toy reviews, and have even become frustrated myself and included a few on my humble little blog. It is easy to get fed up with a toy isn’t actually as advertised, or that I wasted what little money I have on a toy Sirius refuses to play with. You can’t predict what other dogs will think of a toy, but giving any sort of feedback is great! (I plan on purchasing one of the new toys I saw on here for my boyfriend’s BC for her birthday).
Thank you for sharing and the picture of Will and his toy! He’s such a handsome boy and is obviously having a great time with his toy 🙂
Chapel Taylor says
I really like the home page of your site. I think the colors are really appealing and there some appealing pictures as well as good verbage. One thought I might have is that the amount of text is quite a bit more than the amount of images right now. I personally am rather drawn to that because I’m a reader, but I think more people are drawn in to photos. Just a thought.
By the way, how can I get “testing dog toys” as a part of my job? 🙂
Ellen Pepin says
Even though my comments are late, I have to say that I love your site, especially the blog. You always have lots of good information based on experience and scientific research. I would like to see more photos to illustrate your points and of Will. I would also love to see a Q&A section. I realize that it would generate many more questions than you can answer, but I think that certain “themes” would emerge, and there could be answers to those broad topics.
Keep up the writing; I am waiting for the next “big book”.
Liz F. says
Interested in hearing what Trisha likes/dislikes about her site sometime. Also, I appreciate all of these ideas and observations on the site. So interesting!
From a designer’s standpoint, the homepage would be very hard to build without talking goals and objectives first, so it’s curious when an open question is posed like, “What do you think about the homepage?” It was a challenge to critically answer the question without knowing WHY the page was going to be changed, though I enjoyed thinking about it nonetheless. Thanks again for extending your time and life with all of us, and making this site/blog all that it is today.
It would be amazing for all of these great suggestions to come true, but I will also admit to being happier with the idea of Trisha playing hookey or working on the next wonderful read than spending time on website stuff. Have to say that the new ‘invitation’ (come. sit., etc) and lovely picture where the play dvd info used to be is clever and time well spent. More praise for SuperTrisha!
p.s. Aren’t capes and spandex totally impractical? How was wonder woman honestly to accomplish anything with that outfit?!