Pet Blogger Challenge 2012 – Get to Know Us Better

Hello friends. We are first-timers to the Pet Blogger Challenge.

We were in existence when the last time it happened but we were too busy learning how this bloggy thing worked to look into what the challenge hubbub was all about.

Our world has expanded a lot over this last year.

Will My Dog Hate me and Go Pet Friendly are the homes of some of our favorite people and dogs.

My fingers perked up right away when we heard the challenge was coming again this year.

To take the challenge, each blogger answers questions about their blog and how they got started. We then share our post with all of the other bloggers at the blog link up.

I took the liberty of leaving out a couple of questions and combining a few of them so that they would make more sense for us.

Here are our answers to the questions:

1) When did you begin your blog?

We shared our first post with the world on November 29th, 2010, right after we adopted Gretel.

2) What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

My original purpose for starting the blog was to share the adventures of Chester and Gretel with our friends, family and the world.

We hike and showshoe with our two miniature dachshunds all of the time.

Every time we are out, we encounter at least a couple people that are surprised to see two small Dachshunds coming up the trail at them.

Many of them question whether the hike is too hard on them or whether they “actually made it up here my themselves”.

We wanted to show the world how tough Dachshunds are and what great little outdoor companions they can make.

3) Is your current purpose the same?

The answer to this question is both yes and no.

Our primary purpose remains the same but as our blog audience has grown, so has the scope of what we cover.

4) If not, what’s different and how do you feel you have met your goals?

We have expanded to be the voice for small, active dogs everywhere and to be THE resource for hiking with your small dog.

Our main focus is still Dachshunds but we realized that there are other small dog that like to hike too. There is no resource out there aimed specifically at them.

Underlying all if this is the mission of breaking the stereotype about small dogs – that they are capable of so much more than most people give them credit for.

We provide aim to inspire our readers with our own stories, talk about other small active dogs in the news, share hiking and snowshoeing tips, review products and dog-friendly places and share any other tidbits that we think our readers would be interested in.

It is clear that we have met our goals by the number of fans that support us.

They leave comments all the time about how much they love reading about our adventures, how much they appreciate us giving active, small dogs and voice and the value they get from our reviews and tips.

5) Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

I primarily blog on a schedule but allow for some flexibility.

I may post on an off day or twice in one day if I have too much to share or am too excited to wait.

I take breaks in the schedule occasionally too.

I may take a break for the holidays, if we are out on some crazy adventure that keeps us too busy or if life just gets too overwhelming.

6) If the former, how often — and what techniques do you use to stick to it?

We are a high-tech family.

I run our blog, a Facebook page and Twitter profile for the blog, a personal Facebook Page and another blog so my family and friends can follow my wedding planning adventure.

Together my Fiancé and I own two smart phones, two flat screen TVs, two laptop computers, a Samsung Galaxy tablet, an iPod and a Zune.

However, the method I use to schedule blog posts is about as low tech as you get.

First, I print out a blank calendar for each month. I write a topic at the top of the column for each day of the week I post. I then pencil in what I plan to post for each day for the next month or so…or however many months my ideas fill 🙂

I write it in pencil because I am always changing and rearranging the posts.

I have this funny system where I pencil in ideas. Then when I finish typing up the post I put a small circle in the top right corner of the day on the calendar.

Then after I process the photos and schedule the post on the blog, I put a check mark in the circle. That is how I can see at a glance where I am at with everything.

7) If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about?

We don’t do the “latter” and solely post whenever the spirit moves us but I think this question is still relevant. I think everyone worries about something at least a little.

I started the blog for fun. I am still in it for the fun but now I run the blog more like a business.

The goal is to become a widely known and popular blog so traffic does matter.

Blog traffic has been on an increasing trend but it can be hard to not let a slow traffic week get you down. I try to keep an eye on the future and try not to panic.

I approach the whole thing as a learning experience. I aim to find out what works, what doesn’t and the natural times of year that people read and comment on blogs less.

Seeing a drop or sharp increase in numbers helps you sort that out.

8) Are you generating income from your blog?

I intend to but am not at this time.

The offers have started rolling in but I haven’t found anything yet that we use, believe in or can stand behind that I want to advertise.

I take pride in our blog and what we stand for.

I would rather be selective about who I promote than worry about the all-mighty dollar….although I admit the dollar can be tempting sometimes.

9) If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

We are open to all opportunities.

We dream of being paid to be spokespeople for popular outdoor brands like Zuke’s Performance Nutrition or Ruff Wear but don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

We are open to affiliate opportunities as long as we can control the ads that appear on our blog.

What we are really interested at the moment is sponsor ads.

Since we have never advertised on our blog, we need to learn how to manage ads.

Our initial plan is to create a few banner ad spots and then offer a free month of advertising to our favorite brands.

Our “payment” will be learning from the experience.

Over that month we will watch the numbers to see which ads are most popular, which posts generate the most ad clicks and the like.

We will also offer a free summary report at the end of the month to our advertisers.

Like I said, we are open to offers so (warning: shameless promotion ahead) if this is something you might be interested in please contact us.

10) What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular?

Well, I would say the thing I like most about our blog is that I MUST get outdoors and have fun to have stories to share!

Having fun is my job. It’s tough but someone has to do it.

Basically, I get to write about what I love – Chester and Gretel, having fun with my dogs and gear and products I have researched and tried.

With blogging in general, I love connecting with other people with similar interests…or expanding your mind and learning about different perspectives.

I like that a blog can be used to share your unique view of the world with others.

11) What do you like least?

Like I said, we are primarily in this for the fun but also run it like a business. We try to go heavy on the fun and less heavy on the business part.

However, it is really annoying when something goes wrong with our site and I don’t have the knowledge to fix it myself or the money to pay someone else to do it.

I have to roll up my sleeves and hope to learn what will get me by in the shortest time possible.

12) How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

I hope to grow our traffic and autience so I can start making some money from the blog.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Very good first time post! We are first timers too with the Challenge. I love that you have found your specific niche- to be THE resource for hiking with your small dog. Three years later and I am still working on what mine is. 🙂

    1. I have tried the whole niche exercise with other things and it can be really hard to pin down. This one was kind of a no-brainer . Ha, ha.

  2. Great post, Jess! One of the things I like best about your blog are the fantastic photos, and you’ve got some great ones in this post. We’re looking forward to seeing the changes you have planned for 2012 and following along on Gretel and Chester’s adventures. Thanks for participating in the challenge!

    1. Thanks on the photos. Prior to photographing dogs I was into landscape photography. That is why a lot of my pictures are landscape photos that happen to contain two adventurous doggies. I aim to capture the great scenery too.

  3. Dear Gretel & Chester,

    I am taking part in the Pet Blogger Challenge because of your note on Facebook that it was happening, so thank you so much to you & your humans for letting us know!

    I’m a great big fan of your blog, as are my humans. As a fellow long and short fur-adventure creature, I love reading about your plans. Great post here and photos, too!

    Adventure on, Gretel and Chester!

    Keep on wagging!

    1. How great! We are excited that you are participating in the blog hop because you heard about it from little ol’ us. Thanks for reading and loving our adventures. We wouldn’t be as good without people and doggies like you.

  4. Great post!! Little dogs are amazing and love adventure! Thanks for getting that our there for others to see. Just because they are tiny does not mean they can’t hike with the best of the big dogs!! HA! I will say I got a laugh out of your no-so-high-tech`blogging calendar!! We too, can be a little gadget friendy and to see that you schedule the old fashion way was fun!!

    1. Gadgets don’t usually allow me to see the details of a whole month in advance…and rearranging things is faster with an eraser and a pencil 🙂

  5. Great post, of course I know first hand the small dog mightiness. Small dogs DO rock. Here’s to a great year ahead.

  6. Hi Y’all,

    Y’all are sure more organized than I am, but then I’m a dog. If I get an idea, I post it in One Note until I need an idea. But y’all have “fun” in common with me! Love “fun”. Spice of life!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  7. I love the photos you’ve included. I am also very impressed by your level of organisation and commitment… I am a fan of paper and pencil myself… 🙂 Maybe if I got a calendar going I’d at least know what day of the week we’re on!

  8. I’m losing my mind — I could have sworn I commented on your blog last night and thanked you for all the great things you do to enhance the reputation of small dogs. Your pictures, as Amy said, are amazing.

    Maybe I forgot to press “submit comment” 😉

    It was terrific getting to know you this year and I thank you for the great guest post you wrote for me.

    1. Thanks Edie! That happened to me too in the challenge – swore I commented on someone’s blog bout couldn’t find my comment 🙂 You are not crazy…..or at least not alone. ha, ha. It has been great getting to know you this last year too.

  9. Great answers! My whole family loves reading your blog now! Your photos are always so great and your posts are really well written. Gretal and Chester are so adorable and good pups! Funny how all that technology doesn’t compare to pen and paper eh? Congratulations on your engagement and I look forward to all your future posts!

  10. So great to meet you! When Amy and I were on the phone last, she mentioned your blog ( she’s a big fan) and I’ve been meaning to drop by. How I resisted the name so long is beyond me.

    Your plans sound wonderful, and I have to laugh at your circle/check mark. Isn’t that so satisfying? I’m totally a fan. And then there are those gorgeous and adventuresome pooches. I’m going to like it here.

    1. Thanks for stopping by to enjoy our blog! We are good bloggy friends with Amy and hope to meet them when they are up this way next summer. We have seen your blog here and there for a while but haven’t gotten around to checking it out either. We look forward to getting to know you better.

      Yes, the circle check marks are satisfying 🙂

  11. Great post! Your blog is just fab – I’m impressed to learn just how organized and high-tech you are! No wonder things on this blog look so darn good. 🙂

    I always adore your photos and love reading about your adventures. Can’t wait to see more in 2012!

  12. Hey, there. Always a pleasure to see those little dogs being more athletic than most people I know. 🙂

    I love a person who has vision and is relentless (if you’re not, you have me fooled) in realizing it. It is especially refreshing to see in this area of the Web.

    I truly can’t wait to see your movement in the next few months. It’s inspiring. 🙂

    1. Relentless = obsessive = stubborn = tomato = tomato….Ha, ha. We have come so far in this last year and the first few weeks of the year have been a whirlwind. I have high hopes for 2012.

  13. Love your blog and have been looking back over your posts – stunning photos. Love your aim to be the voice for small hiking dogs. My parents had a papillon who accompanied them on most of the peaks in the Lake District in his day – he didn’t think he was a “toy” dog and nor did they! Great to publicise what smaller dogs can and do do.

  14. What a cute blog! I love idea that small dogs can be just as hearty as a big dog. Kolchak is 27 lbs of solid muscle and we often say he is a big dog trapped in a small dog’s body. We’re adding you to our blog reader to drop by on a more regular basis.

    I must say I admire your calendar system. I need something like that. It must feel so…satisfying to check that day off!

    Also, if you are interested in an affiliate opportunity with Ruffwear, I do know how to go about that. We are a Ruffwear Affiliate as well. Feel free to e-mail me at kolchakpuggle (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan all the time. I think you could revolutionize the way people see small dogs.

    I see people adopting small dogs because they want a pet they can carry or have on their lap. But they have no understanding of dogs. Small dogs also have adventurous spirits and I think they thrive when they have work and excitement just like big dogs do.

    You’re doing such a great job with your blog and you’re inspiring me.

  16. i really enjoyed reading this post. truth be told, this is the first time i am visiting your blog, but i know i will be back for more. i’m very interested in hiking with my dog, and even though he is not small, i think i can learn from you guys.

    by the way, i love your editorial calendar method. i may steal it!

    1. I find new blogs every day (or finally get to ones I have heard of a few times before). I am glad you stopped by. Yes, my tips are aimed at people with small dogs but most of the stuff is transferable.

  17. This is my first time visiting, and it’s nice to see another Challenger with a similar blog age. That is, we started at about the same time! And I, too, watched the last blog challenge, feeling like I had other things to concentrate on and was too fresh to join the challenge. 🙂
    That being said, our blogs are very different, but I’m really interested in your topics and I’m about to go to a sticky beak now.
    Happy blogging.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Sometimes it is refreshing to read a blog that has totally different subject matter than yours does. I am going to hop over and check yours out now.

  18. Those are some awesome pictures in your post and I love the name of your blog it kind of makes me think of the movie There’s Something About Mary.

    It looks like you’re on WordPress and I’m not sure if you already researched this, but there are plugins available to manage your banner ads. If you’ve already tested a few I’d love to hear your feedback on which one you like best. We’re currently using OIOPublisher based on another bloggers recommendation.

    Best of luck with your 2012 goals and I can’t wait to see what else you do with your weiner!

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