Make Your Dog An Instagram Influencer in 5 Steps

I get a ton of questions from people about how I built up my Instagram account to 40,000 followers and what it’s like to be an “influencer”. I did my first sponsored post back in January 2017, and just this past February I officially went full time with Wear Wag Repeat! Now that this is my full-time gig I want to share with you what it’s like to be an Instagram dog influencer.

What's It Like to Be an Instagram Dog Influencer

What’s It Like to Be an Instagram Dog Influencer

I asked my followers what they wanted to know, and I got some really great questions! In this post, I’ll give you an honest behind the scenes look at how I grew my account, how I handle the attention (both good and bad) and my best advice for you to grow your own following on Instagram. Instagram is all about followers and likes. These can come with time, however, to grow your following immediately, you might want to consider purchasing some likes to help you begin your new influencing account. To purchase likes, you might want to visit BuzzVoice to purchase some likes for your pictures. This can help your pictures do well on Instagram. However, this is just one tip. There are many ways to grow your likes and following.

I wanted to be as honest and authentic as I could in this post, so it ended up being a little long! If there are any points that you’re curious about and want to know more, just comment below with your pupfluencer question.

Oh, and if you love anything the dogs and I are wearing in these photos, head over to the Wear Wag Repeat Shop where you an find everything.

Step 1: Get Your Dog a Ton of Followers!

The first follower question comes from @Zoey_May_The_Dane. And boy is it a doozy!

“How did you grow such a large Instagram following?”

Growing an Instagram account is a lot of work whether you’re trying to hit 1,000 or 50,000 followers. As I grew my account over the past few years I relied on personal relationships that I built with other accounts. You may have heard the term “comment pods” thrown around. A pod is basically a group DM on Instagram where everyone in the group likes and comments on everyone else’s posts. Some of the people in the group suggested that I read more about the auto like and follow bots which they found to be effective in growing their follower base; I’m yet to try it but it came recommended by more than one group member so they must be finding some success with it I guess!

This can be done so right and so wrong! Luckily, in the early days of growing my account, I found a really great pod! They were all dog accounts run by women and we were just so in sync (and still are). Our group has been much more than just commenting and liking, we’ve become real friends. We spellcheck each other’s posts, link to each other’s blogs and even do Google Hangouts together from time to time.

It’s through the support of these other dog moms that I owe most of my success. We created a safe space to discuss our goals and the latest hashtag tricks. But we also offer advice about our dogs and comfort each other when a dog crosses the rainbow bridge. It’s all about community and finding your pack!

Since those early days, Instagram has cracked down on “comment pods” so I recommend finding your pack and moving the conversation over to a text thread, Facebook group or Slack channel.

Spend Less Time Working, and More Time with Your Dog

The Wear Wag Repeat Resource Guide has over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by my podcast guests that will help you run an efficient and successful pet industry business!

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Step 2: Create Images That Capture Your Dog’s Personality

This question comes from @jonathan_hodgson. He actually asked, “What’s the benefit of having 2 dogs over 1?” Well… for starters, it’s twice the fun, twice the love, and twice the dog hair! But how this related to making your dog famous on Instagram is…

“How do you handle posting about two dogs on 1 account?”

I’ve almost always had two dogs. You can meet my sweet girl Lola in some of my older posts like this one. I know that some people struggle with how to represent two (or more) dogs on one Instagram account.

Personally, I think it’s more fun to have everyone on one account rather than having separate ones. I try to balance out how many solo posts Burt and Lucy get. I don’t want anyone to think I prefer one over the other!

Burt and Lucy are also different dogs and will put up with various amounts of dog momaging from me. Lucy is definitely better trained, so if I need a photo with a difficult “stay” then I’ll use her. It’s pretty challenging to get the exact poses I want with both of them together.

So the key is to be flexible and super patient and see what kinds of poses the dogs will give me on their own. Capturing your dog’s unique personality is what will make your account stand out and draw followers into your authenticity.

What's It Like to Be an Instagram Dog Influencer

Step 3: Ignore the Haters and Be Yourself on Instagram

Thie next excellent question comes from @settermariephoto. Being an influencer is definitely an acquired skillset! If you’re an extremely private person I think it will limit what you’re able to do with your platform.

“Is it hard having your life out there for people to pass judgment on?”

I’ve found that the key to building such a devoted following for me and my dogs is to be as authentic as I can be. That often means sharing when I’m having a bad day, being silly or taking my followers behind the scenes of my real life.

However, there’s a limit to what I share. I do my best to keep my account really focused on “dog momming” because that’s what my followers love. Placing that limit on what types of things I share enables me to have some privacy.

I know you might be curious if I’ve had to deal with any “haters” and thankfully they have been few and far between! I think having a dog-focused account makes it harder to criticize or bully me. The only negative comments I can remember getting were about a mainstream treat I gave the dogs that one commenter felt was garbage and practically poisonous!

Another commenter had a lot to say when I first adopted Burt and he was wearing a prong collar. I’m very upfront about the fact that I do my best as a dog mom. I’m happy that I’m able to share my “imperfect” moments because maybe it can help teach another person.

At the end of the day, I try not to take any negative comments personally. As they say… hurt people hurt people. I just hope the haters can find some peace by venting at me.

Step 4: Seek Out Other Pupfluencers

Another great question from @nicole_thebarksquad!

“What is your number one tip to grow your pet Instagram?”

Boiled down, my number one tip is to authentically engage with new accounts as much as you can! If you really want to get more followers, you need to get your account in front of new faces. The best way to do that is to leave friendly, honest and curious comments on accounts that aren’t following you yet.

I recommend spending 20 minutes a few times a week and working your way through the Discover feed or some of your favorite hashtags and going deep on a handful of accounts that you find.

Like a few of their posts, leave a couple of comments that spark discussion and even tap into their stories or highlights and see if there’s anything there that you can react to.

By showing a real, honest interest in other accounts that energy will come back to you 10-fold!

Spend Less Time Working, and More Time with Your Dog

The Wear Wag Repeat Resource Guide has over 160 apps, tools and resources recommended by my podcast guests that will help you run an efficient and successful pet industry business!

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Step 5: Share the Love!

I love this question from @oh_henry_the_lab. You can tell they’re always their best authentic selves!

What’s the best way to increase followers without looking like a schmuck?”

Ha! First off, take the advice that I shared right above this. Alos, you should never feel like a schmuck as long as you’re being honest and authentic on Instagram (which I’m sure you are!).

I recommend avoiding posts that ask people to follow you. Instead, use a little reverse psychology! Try doing a “Follow Friday” or “Woman Crush Wednesday” series on your stories where you share other accounts that you love and admire.

If you shine a light on them and what they’re doing it will bring those positive vibes right back to you and your account.

Now you’re ready to make your dog Instagram famous!

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some great advice out of it! I did my best to tell it like it is!

If you’d like to learn even more about Instagram and how your pet could become an influencer too, I have the perfect online course for you. Instagram Strategy for the Pet Obsessed (InSPO) is a course I created specifically for you – dog momagers, pet brands and fur baby mamas!

Want to learn more about being a dog influencer? Check out these posts:
Making It As A Dog Mom Lifestyle Blogger
The Human Side of Being a Dog Influencer
What’s It Like to Be A Dog Influencer?
How This Petpreneur Built a Community of Dog Moms

Instagram Famous Dog

Photos: Victoria Miller Photography


  1. Becky

    My issue is who I follow. I can’t possibly keep up with thousands of accounts (not that IG lets you follow unlimited numbers). How do decide who you follow and who you don’t? I feel like I probably really interact with less than 100 of the accounts I follow.

    • Tori

      Great question! It’s so hard to keep up! I think that’s why I’ve been seeing some people wiping out their following list and starting from scratch. While I don’t do that, I do actively unfollow accounts that no longer interest me. Sometimes people change what they post about and it might no longer appeal to me, so when I see a post like that pop up in my feed I unfollow.

      I also recommend following hashtags, that helps you see content that you’re most interested in. I also save some accounts I really love to “collections” and then I can go in there and catch up with them periodically.

  2. Lisa

    Thanks for answering Henry’s question about not being a schmuck or perceived as one! Authenticity is becoming more and more important in the accounts I follow. As much as I enjoy a beautiful shot on instagram I am drawn to the real life pictures accounts I follow post 90% of the time! It’s a lot of work engaging with followers making sure you reach all those who comment. Cheers to you for balancing it all in a great instagram feed and blog!

    • Tori

      I agree! It’s so important to be “real”. Ugh… there was some fashion/lifestyle influencer I was following years ago who presented herself as so sweet and nice, then I shared one of her posts and she sent me an invoice for $400! It just came across as so shortsighted, defensive and negative. I’ve found that life’s a lot easier when you expect the best rather than the worst!


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Tori Mistick is a blogger, podcaster and certified Canine Enrichment Specialist. You might call her a professional dog mom! Tori has a soft spot for senior dogs and loves the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.


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