Open Thread
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Join the Conversation for a Chance to Win 3 Great Books
Special feedback request: How can we make our website better?

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. We’ve had some wonderful expert guests during the past few weeks talking about veterinary care, service dogs, rescue and behavior but today Bark readers are center stage. You set the agenda—tell us what’s on your mind.

Well, mostly. We do have our own little agenda; we’re brainstorming ways to improve TheBark.com, and we want your feedback. So while you’re here, tell us: What can we do to make our website better? Members of the Bark team will be stopping in all day with this and related questions.

Plus, we have an extra special incentive today, one open thread participant will be selected at random to receive three excellent dog books handpicked by Bark editor Claudia Kawczynska. The worthy summer-read trifecta includes:

So let your voice be heard, and be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.

Please note: We let you speak your piece on the open thread without editing but obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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Submitted by Anonymous | May 25 2011 |

keeping a dog healthy seems to be more and more costly, I am looking for economical and simple diet plans to help maintain good health.

Submitted by Daniela Lopez | May 25 2011 |

Boy, I hear you! I think we can present the nutrition section in away way that makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

Submitted by Marie Muscolino | May 25 2011 |

I hear that! It's great that you are thinking in terms of prevention. Here's a great article from the archives about cooking for your dog: http://www.thebark.com/content/save-money-homemade-dog-food .

If you get serious about cooking for your dog or feeding your dog a raw diet, a great way to save some money is to join a raw food co-ops. Searching on Yahoo Groups is a great way to find groups in your area.

Submitted by Lacey | May 25 2011 |

I like the idea of having an area to post videos of our dogs! I think it would also be great to have a section for videos that are training specific.

Submitted by Daniela Lopez | May 25 2011 |

Hi Lacey,

We've done a couple training videos in the past and we'd like to do more! Are you looking for videos on basic training or more advanced/trick training?

Submitted by Lacey | May 25 2011 |

I'm more interested in advanced training and trick training. Stuff that is more complicated and harder to conceptualize from reading about it. Like BAT training, or complicated tricks. But, I think it'd be great to have more basic training covered, too, for people who are just getting into positive training :)

Submitted by Marie Muscolino | May 25 2011 |

Hi all! I'm Bark staffer, Marie. Daniela and I are here to chat through the end of the day.

Submitted by Claudia Kawczynska | May 25 2011 |

Hi, wondering if any of you read any of the books we are giving away today? I really loved all of them, learned a lot from them as well. So they come highly recommended by me.

Submitted by Carolyn | May 25 2011 |

Not yet! I always have a running list of dog books to read with BARk as my source. I'm looking forward to all 3 of these. A reading/discussion group on the Open Thread might be fun? Possibly with the author hosting?

Submitted by Marie Muscolino | May 25 2011 |

What an interesting idea... Like a virtual book club. I like it!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 25 2011 |

Would it be possible to have some links on the site that reference industry events and educational opportunities around positive based training talks, workshops and seminars across the US and in Canada?

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | May 25 2011 |

Interesting suggestion. We definitely like to promote positive training. We'll look into this.

Submitted by Mari | May 25 2011 |

I have not yet read the books, but would like to!

Bark is a terrific magazine. The articles, the information, the photos -- the complete package. And the website is a valuable resource. No complaints or suggestions for improvement. Just a big thank you!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 25 2011 |

Hi, how about advertising adoption days at local pet stores?

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | May 25 2011 |

That's an interesting idea—although maybe beyond our manpower—but we'll look into it. Would you like to see more information about specific adoptable pets on our site?

Submitted by Mari | May 25 2011 |

Links to Petfinder and similar sites might be helpful. Having such links available in one location -- Bark.com -- would save time searching.

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | May 25 2011 |

Thanks everyone for your great ideas and awesome support. Feel free to keep chiming in, even though we'll be closing the open thread for the day. We do check back. Also, in the next day or two, we'll select our books winner and be in touch.

Remember to return next week, when we will have special guest Christie Keith. She's managing the social media for the giant Maddie's Matchmaker Adoptathon. A long-time dog-centric journalist, she'll be chatting about this specific adoptathon and other strategies for rescues and shelters—among other topics. See you there.

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | June 2 2011 |

We announced the winner for this (May 25) Off Leash open thread in our June 1 open thread. Visit us there if you want to know more.


Submitted by kleen | August 7 2011 |

I love your Smiling Dogs contest....the only thing I would like to see is that you go back to one picture per page. Its hard to tell which name goes to what picture when you have 4 or 5 dogs together.

Submitted by Shelley Sheets | December 14 2011 |

I love the magazine and have been a follower for many years. I would love to see a calendar of upcoming educational events by state. Also more about nutrition since there are so many health issues that come back to diet with so little accurate information. You all do a great job!! Thank you.


More in Open Thread:
Special Guest: Lee Harrington
We’re Talking Dogs ... About Dogs, That Is
We’re Talking Rescue and More
Special Guest: Behaviorist Sophia Yin
Special Guest: Veterinarian Nancy Kay
Julia Kamysz Lane Joins the Conversation
Special Guest: Beth Finke
It’s Your Turn, Again
Let’s Talk