Monthly Archives: December 2014

Harley’s Seven Resolutions for the New Year

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This is the first time I am making New Year resolutions. We dogs live in the moment. Planning for an entire year is a challenge, especially when you consider that for me, this is like seven years. The conversion of human years to dog years inspired me to propose seven resolutions for the New Year. (If I only have one seventh the time on this planet, I have to work seven times faster!)

So here are my seven resolutions for 2015.

1. Remember life is short, especially for us dogs. Roll around on the floor with someone you love. Do this often.

2. Bark less, listen more. Looking back on my life, I cannot recall a single instance when I learned anything of value while my jowls were flapping. How about you?

3. I resolve to whine only when I am actually experiencing physical pain. How difficult can this be?

4. Be gentle with someone who is having a difficult time. Resist the urge to go in for the kill. Trust me, I know how tempting this can be.

5. Say “please” and “thank you”. Courtesy is free yet it can pay huge dividends. We dogs are pros at communicating our appreciation. It strengthens the bond with our human partners and often leads to a warm caress or a tasty treat. Life’s simplest pleasures are the best!

And now a few favorites from Obedience School.

6. Sit. Stay. Set aside a little time every day for quiet reflection. This is your time. You could ponder a situation in your personal life or a professional challenge. Here is a photo of me sitting at my favorite window taking a moment to collect my thoughts and plan my day.
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7. Heal. This is not a typo. I mean “heal” not “heel” . Resolve to heal one injured relationship in your life this year.

Please leave a comment with your resolutions for the New Year. In my next Boxer Briefing, it’s back to work with candid advice for the workplace.

Your best friend,


P.S. Alcohol is toxic for dogs so Harley is celebrating the New Year with a bit of the kibbly. If you are human, please do not drink and drive. Someone is waiting at home for you!
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The Passing of a Gentle Person Inspires a Boxer Briefing

This Boxer Briefing was inspired by the death of a dearly loved member of my human family.  She was the 92-year-old mother of my writing partner.  My brief bereavement leave allowed me time to reflect on my relationship with this gentle person.

We had a very special bond.  I visited her often.  She lived with other humans of advanced age.  My visits made them happy.  When they saw me, many called to me and wanted to touch me.  Maybe I reminded them of a time in their lives when they were independent and could take care of themselves and a dog too.  I sensed they had very little strength and energy, and I found myself being as gentle and patient as possible.  My low key approach made everyone comfortable and often these older humans became more engaged and communicative in my presence.

I learned something new about myself.  I am a big, powerful and athletic dog.  My Bullenbeisser ancestors were bred to hunt wild boar.  We Boxers served in war and are accomplished watch dogs.  Every day I stand ready to take down unwanted intruders or member of an invasive species, like a squirrel or an opossum.   Yet, with all this dog power at my disposal, I learned that sometimes restraining my own power takes more strength and can lead to a better outcome than applying it full throttle.  This led me to reflect on how the use of power affects the workplace.

If you are the big dog[1] in the workplace, you have a lot of power.  How do you use it?

Bullies flaunt power.  A bully gets the desired response because his subordinates are afraid to do something other than exactly what is demanded by the boss. Maybe he gets short term results.  But long term results suffer because people are afraid to open up and share different ideas.  If you work for a bully, you might be looking for another job.  When good people leave, the bully reports he is getting rid of problem employees.  Yet the bully is afraid for his future too.    He has created a dog-eat-dog[2] climate and his survival is questionable.  He is obsessed with self-preservation.

Strong leaders know there is a time to be a big dog, and a time to lie low.  This opens doors to new ideas and encourages the members of the team to think outside the box and share their ideas without fear of getting bitten.[3]  The strong leader rewards performance and results, not obedience.  Talent and creativity are fostered.  Developing the next generation of leadership is a goal, not a threat.  Yet this leader’s status is not diminished.  This big dog will strike when needed and when that happens, the team knows the action was warranted.

These are my personal reflections on the strategic use of power.  I hope you will join me next week for a special holiday Boxer Briefing.  Please consider leaving me a treat of a comment.

Your best friend,



[1] I know that I am violating my own rule against dog puns.

[2] I can’t help myself!

[3] There I go again!

A few words of Introduction

My name is Harley and I am a Boxer.  With a little help from my human partner, I am writing this blog to share my innate canine wisdom with the business world and to provide candid insights on the human workplace from a dog’s point of view.

You may wonder about my qualifications to write such a blog.

First, the Boxer is universally recognized as a working breed of dog.  You can say work is in my DNA.  Additionally, I have a Level One Certificate in Obedience from Camp Bow Wow.  I am licensed by the City of Grosse Pointe Park and I am a dog in good standing.  Lastly, I am up-to-date on all of my shots.

Keep in mind that we Boxers were bred to be watch dogs.  We can sense things that you humans may miss.  I want to share my keen observations about human behavior in this blog.

I have accumulated considerable experience in different positions in my eight years (human calendar years – you can do the math for dog years).   I was dismissed after six years in my first assignment (more about that in a later blog) and found my current position where I am a highly valued member of the team.   I consider myself a very successful lateral transfer.

In the interest of full transparency and to head off any scandal, I want to be make some candid disclosures about myself:  I am not a perfect dog.  In moments of profound personal weakness and temptation, I have eaten food on the kitchen counter and I have been caught napping on  human beds and sofas, contrary to current house rules. I am a repeat offender.   Perhaps my most embarrassing shortcoming is that I am leash aggressive and cannot be near other dogs. No way.  No how.  Never.

But I love humans and I want to be near you all the time.  My genuine love of humans inspires me to write this blog and help each of you to be the best human you can be.

I must warn all dog lovers:  This is not a cute dog blog full of “pawsitively” adorable puns and expressions with doggie double entendre.  If you are looking for a smoochie poochie dog blog, you will be disappointed.  But if you are open to thinking about relationships in the workplace from a different  point of view, come back next Monday for my first Boxer Briefing.

Your best friend,