Should Your Dog Be an Office Dog?

As you may know, Take Your Dog to Work Day is coming up at the end of this week. To help you decide whether or not you should bring your pooch into the office (after you've gotten consent from your employer, of course!) we've invited expert trainer Kat Stevens-Stanley to share her insight with us.

As you may know, Take Your Dog to Work Day is coming up at the end of this week. To help you decide whether or not you should bring your pooch into the office (after you've gotten consent from your employer, of course!) we've invited expert trainer Kat Stevens-Stanley to share her insight with us.

With the recent surge in popularity among many companies to become dog friendly, and in the spirit of National Take Your Dog to Work Day, it’s a good time to think about if your dog can be an office dog, should you be given the option. Use the following tips and guidelines to help you decide:

Sheena @ Work @ Jacaaps

Who is your dog and what is your workplace like?

Begin by asking these questions:

  • Is your dog outgoing or shy?
  • Is your dog fearless or fearful of unfamiliar humans?
  • Do you have your own office or do you share a space with someone else?
  • Will there be other dogs in the office?
  • Will your dog like them?
  • Does your dog bark a lot?
  • Will this disrupt you or other workers?

If you work in an office among other people, it's kind and considerate to make sure none of your co-workers have allergies or other issues with being in close proximity to dogs. This is especially important if you share a direct work space with another person. If you have a co-worker who is allergic or fearful of dogs, consider whether leaving your dog at home is a better option. If your job involves you traveling to multiple locations within a building or work site, think about what your dog will do when you are on the go. Will they come with you or will they need to be on leash?

I see several clients who have the joy of taking their dog to work with them. For many, it’s a great experience that improves company morale and encourages long-term employment. Some advantages include:

  • Opportunity for socialization with a variety of humans and other in-office dogs.
  • Less opportunity for toilet training errors (assuming you are able to take your dog outdoors during your shift).
  • Encouragement to stay healthy by getting up and moving during work breaks.
  • Depending on your job, your dog may have a “less boring” day than if he stayed home alone for several hours.
  • Dogs who need medication or are going through training as part of a separation anxiety treatment plan are able to be with their trusted humans.

If your dog enjoys the company of other humans and potentially other dogs, your dog might be a good candidate for office dog.

If your dog is not comfortable with unfamiliar humans or other dogs and has a difficult time being comfortable sharing a space with others, your dog may be better off at home. If your dog has a tendency to bark a lot and your job requires you to be on phone or web calls, your dog may become a distraction and prevent you and others from being able to complete your jobs.

Hoodu @ Work @ WB Parks and Rec

Is your dog healthy?

Before you take your dog anywhere in public you should be certain that your dog is healthy. Make sure your dog stays up-to-date on vaccines and other preventative measures to keep your workplace a disease-free zone for dogs.

Where will your dog use the toilet?

If your office is ready to allow dogs regularly, find out if your office has a policy or request as to where they would like dogs to use the toilet. Make sure to always clean up after your dog so that other dogs and humans can use the outdoor areas. This is another reason it is extremely important to make sure your dog is healthy. Some diseases and intestinal parasites can spread more easily when dogs share the same toilet area.

Will your dog be in an area/storefront where he/she will have access to customers?

If your answer to this question is "yes," be sure to consider what sort of greeter your dog is and if your dog has a tendency to jump and/or bark -- especially if you have a large dog. It’s important to make sure your dog will not knock down or accidentally injure another employee or customer.

Also, think about how you will handle clients/shoppers who are uncomfortable with dogs. Think about if there is a space where your dog should be confined to ensure they do not disturb people who may be uncomfortable or afraid of greeting a dog.

George & Gidget @ Wokr @ EA Schensky & Associates

Puppy-proofing your office

Is your office “pooch proof?” Take a look at your space and see if there is anything that would need to be changed or modified before bringing your dog to work. Is there a trash can with food packaging or scraps accessible? Is there a large potted plant your dog may be tempted to urinate on? What about large groupings of electrical cords your dog may chew? Would your dog prefer a crate or dog bed to retreat to in your working space? Would a gate in your office doorway be helpful? Spend some time considering how comfortable your dog will be while you are working and what steps you may need to take to help your dog stay safe and happy.

Do you have an escape plan?

Say you’ve brought your dog to work and she is stressed, distracting, or sick. Make sure you have a plan in place should you need to get your dog out of the office. Establishing a relationship with a pet sitting company that offers pet taxi service may be beneficial. If your dog enjoys a dog daycare type setting, that may be a solution. If you have a short commute, maybe your dog would most enjoy a half day at work, then a trip home during lunch to rest for the remainder of the day. Plan ahead just to be safe!

More and more companies are allowing dogs in the workplace. You will find dogs “at work” at places like Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon, and Etsy. Will your dog be the next office dog?

About the Author

Kat Stevens-Stanley is an Animal Behavior College certified dog trainer, licensed Family Paws Parent Education presenter, Association of Professional Dog Trainers & Pet Professional Guild member, and mother to a toddler-aged daughter and multi-dog household. Kat sees clients for a wide spectrum of dog training and behavioral needs. One of her favorite topics is supporting families with dogs and children. Kat assists individuals and families throughout the Metro Detroit area and northern Oakland County. She can be reached at: www.KatStevensDogTraining.com

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