What My Dogs Taught Me About Professional Networking

by Harry Ross on Sep 16, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Professional networkingI have two mini schnauzers, named Casper and Boris. Casper is six and Boris is two and a half, so they both have a lot of puppy in them. In observing them on our many walks, Ive been able to pick up a few tricks on how to network more effectively.


Use All Forms of Social Media

Schnauzers are big on social media and networking. In fact, we can’t walk for a block without them tweeting on a pole or blogging on a bush. Theyre experts on pee-mail, and never miss an opportunity to communicate with a peer. 


Be Passionate About What You Want to Pursue

Casper and Boris believe in pursuing what they want with passion and gusto. Nothing stands in the way of Casper and a squirrel, and when Boris wants his breakfast, hes relentless about me getting up to feed him — even if it’s only 6:00 a.m. Theyve taught me to be fearless, just as they are, and not to be afraid of putting myself out there. I just might catch that squirrel.


Maintain Work-Life Balance

The schnauzers are masters at keeping a balance between how hard they work (someone has to keep an eye out for the mailman), play, and rest. They definitely have the rest part down!

Ive learned from them that networking on the computer is great, but theres only so much time I can spend in front of the screen before I need a walk and some fresh air. Again, the only difference between me and the schnauzers is that I wait to get home to use the bathroom.


Don’t Be Afraid to Run With the Big Dogs

dog handshakeSOURCE: giphy.com

Schnauzers have the cute looks of Justin Beiber combined with the swagger of Kanye West. Nothing intimidates them. Theyve taught me to aim high and not be afraid of putting myself in uncomfortable situations, such as meet and greets. The key is to stand up straight, hold out your paw, er, hand, and shake.  


Good Behavior Deserves a Treat

I have trained Casper and Boris so that when they exhibit good behavior, they get a treat. This has been a great learning experience for me, and I practice it on myself often. If Ive spent the afternoon writing or catching up on LinkedIn, I deserve a treat. Starbucks here I come!

As you can see, we can learn a lot from our four-legged friends if we just pay attention. I think of networking as a chore and don’t always love putting on my game face meeting and chatting with strangers. Casper and Boris have taught me to stop over analyzing and just jump right in and do it. Pretty soon I’ll be trained well enough that I’ll be allowed to go off leash and not get into trouble.



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This post was written by Harry Ross

Harry Ross is the HR Director at Brenthaven and runs his own HR consulting business focusing on helping companies get better results through more engaged employees. He is a runner who loves to spend time in the garden and playing with his two Miniature Schnauzers, Casper and Boris. He lives in Seattle, and no, he doesn’t mind the rain.

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