Interview: Creator of #WeRateDogs

Interview: Creator of #WeRateDogs

If you’re not following WeRateDogs on Twitter, go ahead and do so now because you’re missing out.

I’ve been following the account for awhile, but I started loving WeRateDogs after I saw this interaction:

WeRateDogs now has more than 4.46 million Twitter followers and creator Matt Nelson recently released a book where he “rates” the most “hilarious and adorable pups you’ve ever seen.”

Book by creator of #WeRateDogs

The book #WeRateDogs is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other places where books are sold.

I had the chance to interview Matt for this week’s “5 Question Friday.”

Here were my 5 questions for Matt Nelson, creator of #WeRateDogs:

Creator of #WeRateDogs

That Mutt: What do you say when someone asks, “So what do you do?”

Matt: When people ask what I do, I try to stay as ambiguous as possible.

I usually keep the conversation from going anywhere beyond that I work for myself and it’s social media related. If they ask further questions I just say that it’s dog related.

Occasionally, I’ll ask if they’ve heard of WeRateDogs. Probably 50% of people who I’ve asked are familiar with it and can connect the dots from there.

From there, my only option is to have a very lengthy conversation about all the nuances involved in the business.

TM: Why does your rating system suck? I mean, you give them all 11s and 12s, it doesn’t even make sense!

Matt: That was the turning point for my account.

That interaction shot us into a whole new level of internet fame. I’m still selling products with “they’re good dogs, Brent” on them. (See the shop page.)

They're good dogs Brent tshirt

TM: Are they really ALL such good dogs?

Matt: They all are definitely good dogs.

TM: Will you rate this dog?

Matt: This is Ace. He is an elder doggo. Knows things about fetch younger puppos could only dream of. 13/10 wise af

TM: Is there anything you would like to say to That Mutt’s readers?

I hope they enjoy the book! Get it here.

Thank you, Matt!

If anyone has any questions for Matt about #WeRateDogs, please leave them in the comments.

For more from Matt and WeRateDogs:

Book by creator of #WeRateDogs

Get the book: #WeRateDogs

WeRateDogs on Twitter: @dog_rates

WeRateDogs shop:

“5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview authors, trainers, veterinarians, bloggers and others who work with dogs. It’s a way to share different opinions and experiences. If you would like to be featured, please email

Recent “5 Question Friday” interviews:

Author and trainer Marc Goldberg

Author Laura Koerber

5 Questions With A German Shepherd Owner

5 Questions With A German Shepherd Owner

“5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview authors, trainers, veterinarians, bloggers and others who work with dogs. It’s a way to share different opinions and experiences. If you would like to be featured, please email

KL is a longtime reader of That Mutt who owns a German shepherd dog. KL trains her dog in obedience and nose work for fun, and she is also a volunteer with a German Shepherd rescue.

Here were my 5 questions for KL:

KL and her German shepherd

That Mutt: What are some of the reasons why you decided to get a German shepherd?

KL: The usual reasons, brains, loyalty, beauty. My husband traveled for work, and I wanted a large dog with me. GSDs are rugged and athletic and able to withstand climate extremes and an active lifestyle.

But the biggest reason is the part of the breed standard that calls for the dog to possess “a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.”

They’re reserved and discerning; you will work for a deep relationship with your German Shepherd, and I really respect that.

To paraphrase Jane Austen, their good opinion is rarely bestowed and therefore more worth the earning. Once you do, you have a friend for life. There is just no other dog quite like them.

TM: What tips would you give to a first-time shepherd owner?

KL: I could go into several posts’ worth of advice, but my big ones would be:

a) Do your research. Learn as much about the breed as you can. Try to reach out to local breed clubs or IPO (schutzhund) clubs if possible, get to know some owners and breeders and observe some dogs. Learn the pros and cons of the different line types and of the breed in general. This will take time, but it’s well worth it.

b) Decide why you want the dog. The German Shepherd is a highly versatile breed, and the result is different breeders concentrating on different things.

The most obvious example would be show lines vs working lines. Within a given line type, you will find breeders specializing in areas like IPO or herding or showing or search and rescue.

If you can articulate what you want from your dog and communicate that to your breeder or rescue, you stand a much better chance of getting the dog that’s right for you.

c) Find a good, resourceful trainer who has experience with the breed. These are highly intelligent, thinking dogs, and that is both the best thing and the most challenging thing about them!

A smart trainer who is willing to open up the toolbox and help you tailor your approach to your dog is worth her weight in gold.

TM: What advice would you give for anyone interested in starting nose work training with their puppy or dog?

KL: There are several different governing bodies for nose work/scent work, but start with the National Association of Canine Scent Work ( NACSW is an excellent resource for info on the sport and how to find an instructor in your area.

I encourage anyone who is interested to look into it. It is a fantastic way to bond with your dog, and you will learn a lot about them.

And have fun!

My instructor reminds everyone before every trial or odor recognition test to have a good time because today is another day to have fun with your dog.

German shepherd

TM: Does your dog sleep in your bed?

KL: She’s allowed, but she has staked her claim on my big leather chair, and most nights she can be found snoozing in that!

TM: Is there anything you’d like to say to That Mutt’s readers?

KL: Have a great weekend and happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy some time with your dogs!

Thank you, KL!

If anyone has any questions for her about German shepherds, please leave them in the comments.

Posts KL has written for That Mutt:

What do good breeders and good rescues have in common?

Do you have a breed people tend to be afraid of?

If you would like to be featured in an upcoming “5 Question Friday” post, email

Recent interviews:

Trainer and author Marc Goldberg

Blogger Puppy in Training

Interview: Marc Goldberg, Author of ‘Let Dogs Be Dogs’

Interview: Marc Goldberg, Author of ‘Let Dogs Be Dogs’

Note: “5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview authors, trainers, veterinarians, bloggers and others who work with dogs. It’s a way to share different opinions and experiences. If you would like to be featured, please email

Dog Trainer Marc Goldberg is the author of the new book “Let Dogs Be Dogs: Canine Nature and Mastering the Art of Living with Your Dog.”

He co-authored the book with Brother Christopher from the “Monks of New Skete.”

The “Monks of New Skete” have supported themselves for four decades by breeding and training dogs from their monastery in Cambridge, N.Y. The monks sold over 1.5 million copies of their past books including “The Art of Raising A Puppy.”

Marc owns a dog training company in Chicago and is the former president of the International Association of Canine Professionals, a group dedicated to the education and support of dog training professionals worldwide.

“Let Dogs Be Dogs” is available on Amazon in hardcover and for the Kindle. Order here.

Here were my five questions for Marc:

Marc Goldberg co-author of Let Dogs Be Dogs

Marc Goldberg and Brother Christopher

That Mutt: What can people expect to learn from your new book?

Marc Goldberg: Pack Leader is a term coined decades ago by the Monks of New Skete.

In the last few years it has become a popular way to describe how people should relate to their dogs. The big problem is that nobody has adequately defined how to be a good pack leader in a compassionate, sensible way.

In “Let Dogs Be Dogs,” we lay out a roadmap … a very thorough and detailed pathway to a happy relationship with your dog.

You’ll learn what your dog really wants from you, why, and exactly how to provide it. In short, you’ll learn how to have the relationship of your dreams.

TM: What is something you believe in that other people think is crazy?

Marc: I believe dogs have souls. And I believe we will be reunited with our beloved companions on the other side.

In a real sense we are their guardians on earth. We are responsible for creating their physical and emotional well-being through good and kind leadership and appropriate forms of love with the right balance of exercise and affection and authority.

But, once gone, I believe they wait for us to guide us and make us feel safe on the other side of life. So basically, I believe that one day I will go to the company of my loved ones and dogs.

TM: What does “Pack Leader” mean to you in dog training?

Marc: A good pack leader is very much like the most inspiring teacher you will remember from school.

The “inspiring teacher” was never the impatient or unpredictable one. In fact she or he set high standards for you yet believed in your potential to accomplish great things. She may not have gushed constant praise, but when you got a word of encouragement you took it to heart because it was deeply meaningful.

Similarly, a good pack leader meets all her dog’s physical and psychological needs while inspiring the dog to comply with the rules of safety and good behavior. This actually grants the dog a great deal of physical liberty and freedom from emotional conflict.

A great Pack Leader knows everything a dog wants and needs, and then trades those resources to the dog in return for the basic elements we humans need.

TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?

Marc: At night my dogs own the couch and I sleep with a cat who hogs the covers a lot less than my dogs.

TM: Is there anything you’d like to say to That Mutt’s readers?

Marc: Don’t believe the malarkey that being a Pack Leader to your dog has anything to do with trying to dominate or scare him. It has everything to do with granting him the grace of liberty, safety in this confusing human world into which we have brought him and it also allows for the greatest level of relationship.

A dog who actually wants to please you – – and knows how to do it – – is a dog you can take everywhere with you. And after all, isn’t that what dogs really want?

Thank you, Marc!

If any of you have any questions for Marc, please leave them in the comments.

For more from Marc Goldberg:

Marc Goldberg Let Dogs Be Dogs

More about the book:

Marc’s training site:

More about the monks:

If you would like to be featured in an upcoming “5 Question Friday” post, email

Related posts:

5 questions with author Laura Koerber

Is Pack Leader a naughty word in dog training?

Common dog training advice I’m glad I ignored

Putting in the work: Any dog can be a good dog


5 Question Friday: Author Laura Koerber

5 Question Friday: Author Laura Koerber

Laura Koerber is the author of a new book about the rescue of 124 dogs from the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks, Wash.

The rescue mission was carried out in 2013 by activists with no support from local authorities.

Laura sent me a copy of her book, and wow, this was a story that needed to be told!

It is about a failed rescue “sanctuary,” small town politics, a consumer fraud investigation and small town corruption. I highly recommend reading it.

The book “I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue” is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

ALL PROCEEDS go to the rescues that helped save these dogs.

Here are my five questions with Laura Koerber:

That Mutt: How can dog lovers be sure the shelter or rescue they support is legitimate?

Laura: First, be empathetic to the animals there.

What is the place like from their point of view? Would you be happy if you had to share living conditions with the animals? Do the animals have room to exercise, good food, attention from humans, vet care, and a comfortable place to sleep?

Author Laura Koerber

Do not accept excuses or make rationalizations.

If the management is justifying their treatment by saying things like, “If not for me the animals would be dead,” as an excuse for crowded conditions, then it is not a legitimate rescue.

TM: What should a rescue or shelter do if it’s wrongly accused of animal neglect or cruelty?

Laura: Be open. Let the public see the facility. Invite the critics to see the place. Do a video tour.

TM: What’s something you believe in that other people think is crazy?

Laura: I’m not sure about this one. I’m a pretty level-headed person.

My sister, who is a psychologist, says I’m one of the sanest people she knows.

I suppose some people might think I’m crazy since I am vegan, don’t buy anything made of leather, bone or other animal parts, and check labels to avoid buying things that were tested on animals.

TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?

Laura: No room for our German shepherd mix, and our new dog (an elderly Shih tzu) has not thought about getting up in the bed with us. I suppose we will let him, when he does think of it.

TM: Is there anything you’d like to share with That Mutt’s readers?

Laura: Thank you for everything you do that is kind to animals.

Thank you, Laura!

If you have questions for Laura about her book or about the dogs rescued from OAS, let her know in the comments!

For more about Laura and her book:

Laura’s book: “I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue”

Laura’s publisher: Who Chains You Publishing

Publisher on Facebook: WhoChainsYou

“5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview people who work with dogs. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming 5 Question Friday, email

Five Questions With Barbara From the Blog K9s Over Coffee

Five Questions With Barbara From the Blog K9s Over Coffee

“5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview people who work with dogs.

Today we have Barbara Rivers from K9s Over Coffee, a dog blog about raw food, recipes, exercise and more. She is also writing about raw dog food regularly here on That Mutt!

Barbara owns her own dog walking and pet sitting business in North Carolina and feeds her two boxer mixes a raw diet.

She wrote an ebook called “20 raw meals for dogs.” It is a great resource for raw dog food recipes and learning how to feed a homemade raw diet.

Here were my 5 questions for Barbara: 

That Mutt: What’s the worst raw feeding advice you’ve heard?

Barbara Rivers: That it makes the dogs’ human family sick. It’s really no different handling raw meat for doggie meal prep than it is handling raw meat for my own meals.

As long as common sense hygiene is practiced, no one should get sick. I wash my hands with hot, soapy water right after handling the pups’ raw meals and wash down any kitchen counter surface the meal prep was done on.

TM: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever encountered on a dog walk?

Barbara: That would be a shopping cart in the middle of a stroll through our rural neighborhood. We snapped a picture, of course, and posted it on social media 😉

TM: What’s something you’re doing that you’re most proud of?

Barbara: This one is only indirectly dog related – I’m learning to stand on my own two feet, financially. It does involve working in the pet service industry though – by running my own dog walking/pet sitting business and starting to work part time at a pet resort.

TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?

Barbara: You betcha!

I will say though that I was very strict about the pups not sleeping on my bed for the first 4 years of their lives. They did sleep in my bedroom, but on their own doggie beds next to my bed.

After experiencing some trouble in my relationship, the pups were allowed on my bed which I found to be, and still do, very comforting.

They’re sleeping on a doggie blanket that gets washed about once a week.

TM: Is there anything you want to say to That Mutt’s readers?

Barbara: Keep being the awesome audience you are! It’s always inspiring to read through the many comments Lindsay’s posts receive from you all.

Thank you, Barbara!

If you have any questions for Barbara on feeding raw dog food or on owning a pet sitting business, leave them in the comments below!

For more from Barbara and K9s Over Coffee:


Ebook: 20 Raw Meals for Dogs

20 raw meals for dogs ebook

Facebook: K9sOverCoffee

Instagram: K9sOverCoffee

Twitter: K9sOverCoffee

YouTube: K9s Over Coffee

Barbara from K9s Over Coffee

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in a future “5 Question Friday” interview, please email

Related posts:

5 Questions with Kimberly from Keep the Tail Wagging

5 Questions with a guide dog puppy raiser

Primal Patties raw dog food review

5 Question Friday: Puppy in Training

5 Question Friday: Puppy in Training

Five Questions with a service dog puppy raiser

Hi everybody, “5 Question Friday” is a new feature I’m planning on That Mutt where I feature people who work with dogs in different ways.

Today we have Colby Morita, the blogger from the site Puppy In Training. Colby has been raising and training service dog puppies since October 2006.

I had five questions for Colby:

That Mutt: What’s the worst puppy raising advice you’ve heard?

Colby Morita: Back in the 90s, several of my college roommates brought home puppies. I’m not sure what they were thinking because raising and training a puppy should not be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, they did not do much to get their puppies acclimated to their new home.

Back then I knew nothing about raising a puppy, but I took it upon myself to get these two little pups, affectionately known as Stinky and Pepper, used to their new lives. I was able to teach them some basic obedience like “sit” and “down,” but potty training them was a beast!

Looking back, I know why potty training was so difficult. I was advised to rub our puppys’ noses in their accidents. Needless to say, this archaic method of training never worked for either Stinky or Pepper. This advice has sat with me for so long I even included it as advice to avoid when potty training your puppy.

Colby and dogs Stetson, Linus, Archer and Raven

TM: What’s something you do regularly that other people think is crazy?

Colby: Most people think raising a puppy for 18 months then giving him away is crazy.

In fact, anytime I try to recruit new puppy raisers the #1 reason they say they would not puppy raise is because they think giving the puppy back would be too difficult.

Yes, I admit it’s difficult to give a puppy back, but watching the puppy you raised give someone back their independence is life changing:

– Watching Dublin swiftly navigate through a crowd with his blind partner.

– Seeing Archer’s 4-year-old partner with a TBI who was considered non-verbal call him by name and give commands “sit,” “down,” and “stay.”

– Observing the bond between Apache and his partner suffering from PTSD.

Experiencing these moments and watching the puppy you raised change a person’s life is priceless. 

TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?

Colby: I allow my personal dogs to sleep in the bed, but not until they have learned the rules of the house.

Basically, my personal dogs are not allowed on the bed until they are potty trained, crate trained and understand basic obedience.

Puppies In Training sleep in the crate beside my bed. I basically have two crates on both sides of my bed that act as my night stands. We actually tackled this question in detail on the blog.

TM: What’s one of your top puppy-raising tips?

Colby: Two of the most important things you need to practice when raising a puppy are patience and consistency.

Be patient. Puppies don’t get trained overnight. It can take weeks, months, years, to accomplish your training goals.

Guide Dog puppies aren’t fully trained until they are about 2 to 2 1/2 years old. Be consistent, stick to routines. Your puppy will learn new behaviors, good and bad, much quicker if you’re consistent and stick to routines.


TM: Is there anything you want to say to That Mutt’s readers?

Colby: In the near future we plan on starting our own Puppy In Training Puppy Raiser Program to help individuals with disabilities regain their independence.

If any That Mutt readers are interested in raising a service dog puppy, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send us a message through the contact form on the Puppy In Training blog.

Thank you, Colby!

If anyone has any questions about raising or training a service dog puppy, leave them in the comments!

Stetson and Adelle

For more from Puppy in Training:


Facebook: PuppyInTraining

Instagram: PuppyInTraining

YouTube: PuppyInTraining

If you would like to be featured in a future “5 Question Friday” interview, please email

Related posts:

“5 Question Friday” with Kimberly, a raw dog food blogger

How to be a guide dog puppy raiser

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