Tapping Technology to Teach – Part II

The Rise of Online Video

Apryl and I started Pawsitive Vybe in 2005. And right after Christmas of that year I found Blip.tv. I ran across Blip.tv via the videoblogging list. The videoblogging list was an amazing collection of technical and creative New Media trailblazers, innovators and early adopters. Much of what we all experience in online video today sprung from the people on that distribution list in 2005-2006.

I dove headfirst into video again, feeling for the first time that the idea of K9Athlete.com, as I saw it 7 years earlier was finally possible. Apryl and I shot a ton of video and cut some good instructional video. We posted it online and shared it on the Pawsitive Vybe site, k9disc.com, and even created a feed on iTunes. All of this was pre-YouTube. It was cutting edge stuff.

Driving traffic to k9disc.com and our Pawsitive Vybe website (based on Joomla) and building a name for ourselves and marketing our Disc Dog training and our retail business was the focus here.

After a while it became apparent that it was not sustainable – it wasn’t going to fly. Money became more of an issue, as is always the case. Managing a business, a pack of 15 dogs and trying to keep the lights on and the dogs fed took precedence over the k9disc.com project. I could no longer dedicate the amount of time required to run the community. I backed off a bit to let the community take over and it started to wither on the vine.

Give In or Sell Out

Realizing that the Disc Dog Market was too small – too niche – to make any money via advertising and writing off the subscription based model of funding, I dabbled in a few CMS applications – WordPress, Drupal, and created the Discdogopedia on MediaWiki – still looking for that technological silver bullet that would enable us to help people build a better relationship with their dogs and to streamline their training. After a year or two of this, it became obvious that the focused, Disc Dog angle was not financially viable and absent serious investment we were not going to be able to deliver an online teaching solution for disc dog enthusiasts.

It was at this point in time that I started looking into advertising driven, media based concepts. We broadcast some live disc dog contest footage back in 2007 via Mogulus (now Livestream). We did Disc Dog Radio for a while, long enough to know that it was a great idea, but after moving out into the country and suffering a dial up speed connection the streaming media concept was not really a possibility. Right when things were starting to pop we were shut down due do bandwidth constraints. Ugh!

We continued to upload video, rather sporadically, and developed the PVybe site, pushing our seminars and I kept trying to wrap my head around “the Book”. Which is now available by the way, it’s not quite a book though – it’s much better!

Return of K9Athlete

In 2008, I shifted focus from the niche, Disc Dog only k9disc.com, back to k9athlete.com, thinking that the multi-dog sport magazine kind of thing could fly given the mass of crossover dog sport handlers. Getting our message, our names and our training and retail offerings out and allowing other trainers and retailers to do the same was the idea here.

K9Athlete.com was intended to be a multi-dog sport discipline site that pulled in all of the dog sports and gave dog sport and small mom and pop businesses the opportunity to advertise in a cost effective and highly focused manner. Ads were to be $10-20/month, something that even us poor dog trainers and passionate small business folk could afford. I contacted Clean Run, Dogwise, and a ton of dog sport trainers and dog sport retailers.

It became obvious to me that the multi-dog sport site just wasn’t quite viable absent massive corporate investment. Movers and shakers in the dog sport world don’t share well – the market is too small and volatile. Sharing and cross sport collaboration requires support from on high with money and marketing. Purina might be able to do it…

I worked 1 solid year, 18+ hours a day on that site only to be kneecapped by Facebook. It was a huge bummer at the time, but it wound up being a huge benefit. So in 2010, I closed up K9Athlete, scaled it back and ported it to k9disc.com, and started to focus on building Pawsitive Vybe training in meat space instead of cyberspace.

I put together a Training Tour, a series of Disc Dog camps and seminars. This is when we started to work with some really cool technology that we are using today.

Tune in later this week for a follow up on distance learning, social media and other technology that we are currently using to run our business and teach people how to jam with their dogs.

In the meantime, please share your thoughts about the technology of training in the comments below.


  1. Marion

    Hey Ron & Apryl,

    I know that if it wasn’t for the internet, PVyb and youtube I would still be clueless as far as disc goes. Your Distance Learning Classes and Awesome Disc Dog Camp really hyped up our game.
    I can’t wait for another opportunity to attend a PVybe (advanced *g*) disc dog camp. I keep hoping for one here in Calgary 🙂

    Thanks so much Ron & Apryl for putting it all out on the line for disc and making it possible for those us who do not have access to learn it locally to be able have other avenues to turn to and learn more disc then we thought imaginable!!!! You two rock!

    1. Ron Watson Post author

      Thanks Marion! It’s been awesome working with you and the Girls…

  2. Dave Olsson

    Ron, I’m so amazed by what an early adopter of tech you are. Seems impossible given the amount of “fur and paws” responsibility you have. But the result is that, by the time the rest of us discover something, e.g. G+ Huddles, you’re already there with a Pvybe presence. Truth is, for me, your work is often what draws me into a new tech. I might never have become a Youtube user without you (and Kimo).

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Ron Watson Post author

      I’ve been working on this stuff for over a decade and have built some really nice connections in the social media/tech areas. I’ve been cramming square pegs into round holes the whole time trying to leverage tech towards teaching. Tried lots of things, some work, some not so much, but cool new applications and services cross my desk all the time.

      I spend too much time online and writing and really should be doing more dog training.

      Alright… now to wrap up the rewrite on installment #3.

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