Win a Book on Creating Success the Canine Way

Dogsters, today we bring you something special: A guest post from a boxer. Bella the Boxer is author of Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash...


Dogsters, today we bring you something special: A guest post from a boxer. Bella the Boxer is author of Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash Your Potential and Create Success. The book teaches people how to live successful and well-balanced lives by adopting the techniques that come naturally to dogs of all shapes, sizes, and pedigrees.

This book is for anyone who seeks straightforward and simple advice on how to balance the responsibilities and challenges of modern life and still have fun. Publishers Weekly says: Delightful and insightful, Bella’s pearls of wisdom will entertain while imparting more than a few valuable lessons.

Her human, Ellen Galvin, has kindly consented to give away three books to Dogsters. How do you win? Leave a comment about something you read in Bella’s article below. Agree, disagree, question, sit, stay, roll over — do whatever you like, just leave it in comment form below. Only one entry per household, please. We’ll do a random drawing from the qualified contestants (via This will be a quick contest, though! You need to submit your entry by 5 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday, September 17. We’ll announce the winner on Monday. So start reading and commenting!

— Maria Goodavage, Dogster dog blog editor

Creating Success, the Canine Way
By Bella the Boxer (with help from Ellen Galvin)

“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesnt merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.” — Edward Hoagland

I like to think that I have an instinctive and evolutionary advantage when it comes to living a well-balanced life. I build relationships by wagging my tail more than my tongue. Im excited to give new things a try, and resilient enough to bounce back if they dont work out. I blend work with fun and have a zest for living that doesnt revolve around shiny gadgets and beeping gizmos.

Keep in mind that Im not a know-it-all. Im anything but the perfect Zen dog Id like to be. Plenty of things throw me off-kilter and make me feel less than a success. Things like the sudden arrival of a new two-legged little sister. I admit that I was a handful when I was a puppy, but I had no idea that such a little human could be the source of so much chaos and confusion. Whether its sharing the previously undivided attention of my humans or being herded around the house by a tyrannical toddler, there are days when I feel anything but well adjusted.

And yet, every night I curl up on my dog bed and drift off to sleep knowing that my day was a success and that I was a success. Humans like to say that every dog has her day, hinting that everyone has a chance at success at some point in their lives. But once again, humans have their dog idioms all mixed up. Success isnt a one-shot deal. Success is something that every dog makes happen every day.

You see, chasing success for its own sake is a lot like chasing your own tail — even if you manage to catch it (not an easy feat for a stub-tailed dog like me), you cant hold on to it for very long. Worse, if your eyes are always fixated on something else, youll miss the small victories of life that are right under your nose. The only true path to success is living an honest, authentic life, where the things you do and the decisions you make are in sync with who you are and what you value. I like to think of success as a good game of tug-of-war: Sometimes you pull the rope toy closer toward you and sometimes you watch it slip away. The rope toy never stays balanced for very long, and thats okay — as long as you play the game with focus, determination, strength, balance, teamwork, and a sense of fun.

My hope is that humans slow down and tune in to the four-legged teachers (dogs!) who have so much to share about living successful, well-balanced lives. Dachshunds, beagles, and greyhounds do things differently, but they do it the way it works best for them. All you can do is be the best dog (or human) that you can be. Start by asking the questions that a smart dog would ask herself:

Do I know what makes my life zoom?

Do I do whats best for my body and mind?

Do I search for the positive side of things?

Do I focus my attention on what matters?

Do I listen carefully and communicate clearly?

Do I follow my instincts and go after my goals?

Do I build relationships with the people around me?

Do I show appreciation for what I have?

Do I make time to laugh and to play?

Do I try to be present in my own life and in the lives of others?

Sure, these are deep questions. Do they all have to be answered yes to have a successful life? Of course not. My answers change every day, because life is messy and unpredictable. Its also spontaneous, joyful, and exciting. Asking the questions puts me back on track so that every night I curl up on my pillow and sleep soundly, knowing I did the best I could do and was the best boxer I could be.

Heres to you wonderful humans being the best people you can be. My parting advice? Be real. Be authentic. If you cant be a dog, be human.

Visit Bellas website, where you can order her book, connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, and watch the video trailer.

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