Updated April 18, 2014

6 Life and Money Lessons Learned from a Dog

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Watch him lounging on the couch, snoozing in the sun, taking a leisurely stroll. This is not a vacation. It's your dog's enviable existence. There's more to learn from the canine life than the value of a good nap. In fact, you can improve your own life – both personally and financially – with a few tips from Fido.

1. Don’t procrastinate about getting fit.

Ask your dog if he wants to go for a walk, and you’ll never get a “maybe later.” He’s right there, right now, no excuses. A recent study found that procrastination among Americans (the humans) is on the rise, especially when it comes to exercise.

It’s time to take a play from your retriever’s playbook, and get moving. He won’t bump you down the priority list behind social media or the football game. Let him lead the way.

2. Use your nose.

A dog’s nose is his keenest sense, and he uses it to investigate – everything. In business, we call this “due diligence” - the research and analysis necessary before making a transaction. While you might already be in the habit of doing Google searches and asking smart questions before making a commitment to a friend, an employer, or a new appliance, you may overlook your natural instincts.

However, sometimes that intangible feeling in your gut is what will lead you in the right direction. Your dog is telling you to sniff out what the numbers can’t tell you.

3. Don’t be afraid to jump in.

You’ll rarely see a dog hesitate to go barreling into a messy situation if the need arises, say when the tennis ball lands in a mud puddle.

This willingness to go all in can be a reward in itself, but in many jobs (particularly commission-based ones), it can be the difference between success and failure.

4. Focus.

Anyone who has played fetch with a dog has a good example of laser focus. In our culture of distraction, where we believe it’s actually possible to multitask effectively, focus is a rare beast. A recent study found that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40 percent and, even worse, undermines our ability to tune out distractions.

Turning your complete attention to the task at hand not only gets the job done, but your brain will thank you for the break.

5. Save for a rainy day.

We’ve all yelled at the dog for digging indiscriminately in the garden, but guess what? It’s not indiscriminate. Your dog is using a primal instinct judiciously telling him to store food. Yes, even your dog knows it is wise to put aside some scratch for hard times ahead. He doesn’t even worry about earning interest or making a wise investment - he’s just making sure there’s a bone to dig up when the gravy train runs dry.

Take a lesson from your canine friend and sock away some dough.

6. Be a team player.

Your dog is showing you how to get rich. Know how? She’s flat-out thrilled when you walk in the room. She’s always in a good mood and never criticizes you. She cheers you up when you’re down and sticks by you no matter what. She’s showing you how to succeed in your career.

When you’re a positive force, someone who is always supportive of your coworkers and is pleasant to be around, you will get rewarded. And that reward will likely be much better than a doggie bone.

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