Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Linda Case and I am a dog trainer, canine nutritionist and science writer who specializes in topics about dog training, behavior and nutrition. My academic training is in animal sciences, specifically in canine/feline nutrition and companion animal behavior and training. I have a B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University and an M.S. in Canine/Feline Nutrition earned at the University of Illinois. Following graduate school, I taught the undergraduate program in companion animal science in the Animal Sciences Department at the University of Illinois for 15 years and also taught companion animal behavior/training at the College of Veterinary Medicine for 5 years. I left academia a few years ago to concentrate more on writing and training and am the owner of AutumnGold Consulting and Dog Training Center in Central Illinois (http://www.autumngoldconsulting.com ). I am the author of 8 books and also of “The Science Dog” blog (https://thesciencedog.com)
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
My writing and my books are inspired by a strong interest in and love of science, nature and dogs. I have written books about canine behavior, training, nutrition and health and for all of these books, my goals have been to find and report science-based evidence for various dog-related issues. Dogs are an incredibly important part of our lives and many people care deeply about the dogs with whom they share their lives. However, there exist many myths and misconceptions regarding dogs’ care, behavior, and feeding. With both The Science Dog blog and with my books, my inspiration is to study new scientific findings about dogs and to summarize and present it to pet professionals and dog owners in a way that they find interesting and can apply the new information to the way in which they care for their dogs.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
If the feedback is through the blog or social media and is respectful, I will respond. If it is a review on Amazon or another book selling site, I consider that my books will not please everyone and all readers are entitled to their opinions. I generally do not allow poor reviews to bother me, as that is a negativity trap that I would rather not become caught up in.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I think that I have become more in tune with the types of topics and issues that my niche of readers is interested in learning about. My earlier books were more general-purpose dog care books while my essays and books during the last 5 to 7-year period have focused more on controversial and timely topics.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Without question, the best things that I have encountered have been to learn about all of the interesting and innovative research about canine behavior, social cognition, training, nutrition and pet foods that has been taking place during the last 10 to 15 years. The process of writing about this research and bringing its results to pet owners and pet professionals has also allowed me to meet and get to know a wide range of scientists and researchers who are not only excellent scientists and teachers, but, without exception are dog lovers as well.
One of the most surprising findings, for me, has been the results of the many social cognition studies of dogs that are taking place in the many academic “dog labs” around the world and that study pet dogs who live with their owners in homes. These studies are showing us, again and again, that the dog’s mind is much more complex and cognitively aware and socially flexible than we had ever imagined. I review this research in my newest book “Dog Smart” and continue to write about it in “The Science Dog”.
Perhaps the worst issue, and I imagine most writers have this problem, is that I continually underestimate the period of time that it is going to take me to complete a writing or teaching project. I planned on completing “Dog Smart” within a 12-month period, but it was closer to 2 years to publication! Similarly, I am currently working on a series of on-line courses in dog nutrition and feeding and am already behind schedule for the launch. Sigh. Too much (fun) work and too little time!
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I do try to balance these two areas of interest and satisfaction – certainly, sometimes I am more successful than at other times! I have found, especially with the blog, that sometimes a topic that puts me on the edge of my seat with excitement may be received by my readers with a more blasé’ response! Similarly, I have had some essays that I thought were moderately interesting, but for various reasons, struct a chord with my readers and were suddenly viral! I think like all writers, I try to anticipate what my readership is interested in, and I sometimes hit it and sometime miss!
What are your plans for future books?
I am currently working on a series of three on-line courses in canine nutrition through The Science Dog and also have a working outline for a new book. Its working title is: “Feeding Smart with The Science Dog” (that may change). Once the courses are up and going, I will start to focus more on the new book project.