What is your “why”? What is your dog’s?

What is your "why"? What is your dog's?

This post meanders, y’all. Feel free to come back another day if you don’t want a string of thoughts about Google, AI, dog training, and blogging. 🙂

Unless you’re someone who works online, you might have missed this big piece of news from Google: Google is going to begin using AI to change how it presents search engine results. You can read the whole story here. It’s interesting, to say the least.

If you’re someone who uses the internet for research, shopping, connection, and so on, these changes will make all that easier for you. Instead of having to click into websites to read the full details on your search, Google’s AI will aggregate the results into a couple short paragraphs that answer your question pulling from several sources. Easy!

As for content creators, this introduces a whole new set of challenges. If Google’s AI aggregates the best info to answer your question and presents it in a seamless way, well, people won’t be clicking on your site to read the post anymore. Clicks create views. Views create ad or affiliate revenue. No clicks, no money.

There are questions as to whether this generative AI can be considered plagiarism, among other concerns, but the collective head-exploding sound you heard was from content creators who predict massive drops in pageviews.

And that stinks. I believe anyone who creates valuable, useful, entertaining content deserves to earn a living from that hard, painstaking, time-consuming work. (On the flip side, it WILL penalize all those junky affiliate sites that are nothing but keyword stuffing, so that’s good.)

I don’t believe this is the death toll for blogs, though many seem to think so.

To me, it circles back to one question: Why are you blogging in the first place?

But doesn’t that question underpin just about everything we do? Why are you blogging / writing / dog training / scrolling social media / working extra shifts / etc.?

The reasons why we do things matters more than the individual tasks, no?

This has a lot of overlap with those of us who are devout dog (and cat) lovers.

Stick with me here.

Let’s pivot to dogs for a sec.

A close-up photograph of the face of a small brindle dog, possibly a Boston terrier mix. He is lying on a blue and peach geometrical print rug with a blue sofa blurry in the background. His brown eyes are gazing at the photographer, but he is clearly a very sleepy pup as his eyes are drooping!

Why do you train your dog?

You and I probably have a lot of overlapping reasons, and I suspect you have some unique to you. Maybe you train your dog for basic safety (yours, his/hers, other people and pets, etc.) or for the fun of doing tricks or doggy dancing together. Maybe you train your dog to perform tasks for you. Maybe you train your dog as a hobby to keep yourself busy or to strengthen your bond. Maybe you compete or show or hunt.

When Cooper was a puppy, my “why” for training with him was to help him learn to manage his fears and to stimulate his incredibly brilliant imagination… or else he found ways to keep himself entertained, ways that often resulted in property damage. When he was an adolescent, I trained Cooper to run safely by my side and to return when called. Now that he’s almost 13, we train for fun and to keep his brain and body active.

With Emmett, we trained hard so he could be a working dog in animal-assisted therapy settings, and with Lucas, we trained so he wouldn’t eat anyone. For both those big boys, and for Cooper, training also helped them navigate the human world safely and to build our bond.

My “why” for dog training can be distilled down to those three basic things: safety, security, and comfort (theirs and mine on all three counts).

What are your “whys” for training with your dog?

Why does your dog do things with you?

The cynical might say because of the treats. And, yeah, that’s part of it. You wouldn’t go to work every day if you weren’t getting paid, would you? I’d wager, though, that your paycheck isn’t the only reason you work. You might love what you do or love the people you work with. Maybe you work a job that affords you the schedule or money to do the things you love outside of work. Regardless of what the reason is, the point is you have one.

I believe our dogs are the same. Their “why” for doing all this silly stuff with us is because they enjoy it, they enjoy our company, and they rely on our bond to feel safe and secure. Of course they like being paid in treats, but I really believe my dogs have trained with me for the same three reasons I train with them: safety, security, and comfort.

Why do people look up dog info on the internet?

We want to do better by our dogs. And I don’t just mean in training tools and techniques, but also veterinary procedures, health and wellness, feeding and grooming, even spoiling. (Y’all know my spoiling preference for Coopsie: a squeaky toy subscription!)

So, we turn to the internet.

I talk to my vet and pro trainers, too, but a Google search is always the first place I go. I imagine that’s the same for most of you, too.

When we’re training, I often use YouTube or Google to find tips and tricks. I follow Instagram accounts of fun and funny dogs to feel inspired and connected.

Why do people write dog info on the internet?

It’s all the same, isn’t it?

As someone who writes about dogs and cats for a living, the better the information I can provide, the more often I’ll connect with readers. Sure, I want to pay my bills, buy those squeaky toys for Coop, and put gas in my car, but I write to connect.

I’ve been doing this for many years now, and I’ll be doing it for many more despite the challenges. And there are a LOT of challenges. Not just Google-related ones, either. There’s all the techy stuff behind the scenes. There are angry internet trolls who love to post mean, aggressive, and–recently–threatening comments. There are hosting fees and hacking attempts and content scraping. But, just like teaching Lucas not to eat people, the less-fun aspects are important, too.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with my stream-of-consciousness processing. Sometimes I have these thought puzzle pieces in my head–like changes in Google’s search engine results, the persistence of blogs, and (always) dog training–and need to write them out so they fit together.

There is worth in the work.

Yours and your dog’s.

That’s the point I was driving toward, I think. Whether you blog for fun or for a living, whether you train your dog for basic manners or for competition, whether you love your job or do your job to pay for the other things you love, whether you’re clear on your “why” for it all or still searching: There is worth in the work. And worth in you and your dog and the bond you have with your dog.

And nothing can change that. Not even Google. 🙂

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