Business lessons I’ve learned from dogs

(I’m writing something for one of our magazines and need your help. What business lessons have you learned from your dog(s)? Read on, and add your lesson as a comment.)

For most of my life, I’ve lived with dogs. They’ve played different roles in my life: friend, surrogate-sibling (at times, I think my parent’s favorite child was the dog), worker (as in bird-dog), surrogate child (at times, my children have felt our favorite child is the dog), and, more times than I’ve realized, teacher. Indeed, by watching and observing, I’ve learned many business lessons from the canines who have mentored me. Here are just a few:

1. Always greet customers with excitement and enthusiasm, even when you just saw them three minutes ago. They never grow tired of thinking they are the most important thing in your life.

2. Don’t confuse your tail with a goal worth chasing.

3. Sleep as many hours a day as possible but always be ready to play when the chance arises.

4. Don’t be afraid to get dirty — indeed, relish it.

5. When the big folks are feasting, if you know how to work things, you’ll be able to feast, as well.

6. Barking a lot is annoying, however, if you don’t bark a lot, when you do, people spring to attention.

7. Don’t bark at the mailman. He’s been known to have a dog-treat in his pocket.

8. The more you display how you don’t need a leash, the less you have to wear it. Conversly, if you’re always tugging on your leash, you’ll always have to wear it.

9. The joy is in digging the hole, not in having the hidden bone. But it’s also reassuring to know there are a few bones hidden.

10. Biting someone never leads to anything good.

11. Continuously learning new tricks keeps you young.

12. Don’t forget to stretch yourself throughout the day.

13. Always make your masters think it’s they who are in charge.

14. (Add lessons you’ve learned to the comments…)

By the way, pictured in the photo accompanying this post are my current business mentors, Kate and Feste.

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  • How about “Always sprinkle a little fun into each day.” No matter how routine a day can be, a game of tug-o-war or chase-the-cat can be great to relieve stress and brainstorm.

  • Here’s what I’ve learned from Neyland.

    Be forgiving when others yell at you when they are having a bad day.

    Find enjoyment and wonder in everything (except cats).

    The best way to get attention is to lie down in the middle of the walkway.

    When you figure out where the master is going, jump in front.

  • Don’t crap where you eat (or sleep).

    The size of the bark has no direct correlation to the danger of the bite.

    A good walk will always clear your head.

    Always save room for dessert. (And make room if you didn’t save room.)

    If all else fails, break out the puppy-dog eyes.

  • Shannon

    Business lessons I’ve learned from Ricky Martin:

    Be enthusiastic about the mundane.

    Carefully guard your family (or business).

    When you see a bite on the ground, waste no time going after it.

    Never give up your spot on the couch.

  • – Don’t be quick to bite. A growl is often a sufficient warning to get those around you to shape up.

    – Have faith in your dreams. Constant vigilence at the window DOES make the UPS man arrive more quickly.

    – Keep trying. You have to chase a lot of squirrels before you actually *catch* one.

    – Having an enemy can be motivating: Cats DO suck!


    Great topic, BTW! Looking forward to the article.

  • Always go out of your way to walk through mud puddles. Clean, dry paws are a sure sign of boredom and inactivity.