Making Dog Science Accessible to Give Good Dogs a Great Life | Petminded

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Animal Innovations Show - Episode 62 - Petminded

Making Dog Science Accessible to Give Good Dogs a Great Life | Petminded

Are you a curious pet parent seeking to give your pups a better life using dog science?

Petminded is a community of dog lovers like you!

Using the latest science-based insights, Petminded helps dog lovers provide a great life to their four-legged companions by helping pet parents understand their Fidos much better.

In fact, in the words of Sonali Nigam, who serves as the founder of Petminded,

“…(We are) a community for dog parents seeking scientific ways to provide the best possible care for their dogs. There’s a lot of pseudoscience out there, a lot of misinformation. And we are a group of nerdy dog parents who really want to know true, evidence-based information to make sure that our dogs have really great lives.”

Becoming Petminded

Petminded Makes Dog Science Accessible to Give Dogs a Great Life

Although the community is founded on scientific interests relevant to pooches, not everyone in Petminded is a scientist.

However, Sonali was motivated to contribute to the improvement of animal lives by giving their people access to science-based information.

“…When you think about it, there are so many great research studies being done about our dogs, their brains, their health. And we want to make sure that people can access that in a very actionable way. (But because) the average dog parent is not going to go to a journal of animal behavior, my mission is really to translate that information and make sure that people can use that and apply to their dog’s life,”

she elaborated.

For Petminded, this means sifting through the noise of dog-related information and only sharing advice that’s proven to work. They do this by offering events, courses, and a membership community where pet parents can learn from scientists and evidence-based pet experts.

Petminded Makes Dog Science Accessible to Give Dogs a Great Life

Busting Myths With Petminded

In the course of the podcast, Sonali adds,

“I really think of our role as sort of myth-busting in a way, but also helping people come along and get excited about science, get excited about what they can discover about their dogs. I think a lot of our relationship with them is built on the dog’s curiosity about us, and hopefully, we can help return the favor.”

By “myth-busting”, Sonali means always fact-checking any new piece of information she comes across. So, whether it’s in a popular science journal, blog, or podcast, she makes it a point to go back to the content’s source and try to find the scientists who worked on the piece of research.

Petminded Makes Dog Science Accessible to Give Dogs a Great Life

She shared,

“What’s really great is that scientists actually want to talk about their research. So, if I reach out and say, ‘Hey, I didn’t understand this aspect of your paper’, or ‘I’m really curious about what the next question is that you’re looking to answer about dogs’. More often than not, they will write me back or they’ll be on me back on Twitter…”

This interaction has resulted in Petminded being able to talk to some of the best scientists in the canine research world.

Sonali and her team also play a role in that they help explain in layperson’s terms what the scientists are working on and how these can affect dogs’ lives.

This is actually beneficial for pet parents who don’t have much love for science but want to know science-based insights for their canines’ health.

“I think what has been a really interesting development, which has probably accelerated due to Covid, is that a lot of dog research labs are now doing experiments that you can do with your dog at home. All you need to do is take a video of your dog, and you can submit it, or they’ll have you take a survey about your dog’s behaviors… And so, it’s actually a really cool sort of collaborative effort between scientists and regular people, like the rest of us. And in that process, I think that interaction can really help because you can go back and ask the researcher questions.”

 

 

Learn more about Petminded:

Visit their website at https://www.petminded.co/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Sonali: Hi, I’m Sonali Nigam, and this is The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Awesome, Sonali. Welcome So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Sonali: I’m the founder of Petminded, which is a community for dog parents, speaking scientific ways to provide the best possible care for their dogs.

There’s a lot of pseudosciences out there, a lot of misinformation, and we are a group of nerdy dog parents who really want to know true evidence-based information, to make sure that our dogs have really great lives.

We want to give people access to science-based information, that’s really the goal. Because there is so much great research going on in the dog world. I think if people who are really obsessed with our dogs, who love our dogs, it can sometimes come as a shock to learn that— You know, your dog doesn’t really want you to be the alpha, for example. But a lot of dog trainers still use that terminology, or they’ll apply dominance theory to their training methods.

And so I really think of our role as— sort of myth-busting in a way. But also then, helping people come along and get excited about science, get excited about what they can discover about their dogs. Because I think a lot of our relationship with them—is built on the dog’s curiosity about us, and hopefully, we can help return the favor.

Chris: Take us back to the point where you came up for the idea that, “Hey, look, there needs to be a community where we can do this.”

Sonali: I actually gave up my job in health care two years ago. Because I was burnt out and I’ve always loved animals. I’ve always felt a very deep connection with animals. And I felt that sort of earned my stripes from the corporate world. And now I wanted to work in the pet world.

So, originally I worked on a concept in travel for pet parents. But then the pandemic hit, and I had to really quickly make a decision— whether I wanted to continue down this path of being in the pet industry, working with animals, or should I just go back to my old life?

What I was realizing was that there was a significant— behavior change happening in those first few months of the pandemic. People were more open to connecting with others online, and actually making genuine connections.

I feel that dogs are kind of like a common denominator, and people all over the world care about their dogs in very similar ways. But not everyone has access to the same information. 

So, frankly, I ran my own experiment. I started hosting chats with dog scientists, and I would pay attention to who was in the room—the Zoom room, and how busy the chat was. Were people asking a lot of questions? Were they getting into many arguments?

And I thought that— people really cared about this type of stuff.

Chris: Yeah. So, I’m curious, where do you see this going? Where is Petminded going? What’s your vision for the future?

Sonali: I really want Petminded to be a global community. So, right now, we have members in South America, in Asia, and the UK, and— it’s so lovely to see all those different perspectives.

So, one really big aspect of the mission is that it should be global, and accessible to people no matter where they live.

I would say number two is—  wanting to expand into questions about other types of animals. So, that’s why it’s Petminded, not dogminded. The goal has always been any type of animal— intelligent animal that we are studying.

I would say the last one is down the road— I envision Petminded to become a place, where people discover science-based products, services, and other people to connect with.

Chris: This is super interesting. I’m excited to see where you’re going to go with this. Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up today?

Sonali: Check out our website. So, we are at WWW.PETMINDED.CO

And you can also find us on Instagram and there our handle is— @PETMINDED, so P-E-T-M-I-N-D-E-D.

And if you have questions about your dogs, I would love to hear them. So, feel free to DM us or drop it on the website— request form. I love learning what people are curious about when it comes to their dogs, and I would love to help you find out the answers if they’re available.

Chris: Very cool. Well, Sonali this is really neat. I’m excited to look into it more myself and for people to learn about it.

And as we close things out, I’ll just remind people, that if they’ve got an innovative idea like you did, and want to tell people about it, they can just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and we’ll get them on the show and talk about it.

So, thank you again for coming on. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Sonali: Thanks so much.

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