How to Be Dog-Friendly and Productive at the Same Time

Established in 1996, Take Your Dog to Work Day has been a fun, and celebrated event for Americans in the workplace.  In fact, over 10,000 companies will be participating in Take Your Dog to Work Day this year, and the number of pet-friendly offices around the nation is growing. Studies have found a variety of advantages to having an animal present during the office day, including increased productivity, stress reduction, and mobility.

It is for that reason that many companies use the June 22nd Take Your Dog to Work Day to test-drive the potential of becoming a permanently “dog-friendly” work place.

Sounds simple enough, right? Dog comes to work.  Coworkers “ahh” over well-adapted dog.  Lunchtime walk. Then dog goes home.  But if the right steps are not taken, your “pet”, can become a “pet peeve.” Here are some tips for bringing your dog to work, while maintaining your co-workers’ sanity.

1. If anyone in your office is allergic or afraid of dogs, bringing a dog to work is inconsiderate, period. Discomfort set aside, a coughing and sneezing co-worker is distracting. Consideration of people with allergens and fears should not be limited to just your coworkers, but also clients and service providers that frequent the office.

2. Second, realize that dogs don’t always behave the same inside and outside of the home.  Any dog, even the best-behaved ones, can become accident prone in a new environment.  When introducing a dog to the workplace for the first time, choose a day when there are limited distractions, office meetings, and people present.  Take your dog out to relieve itself more often than normal to prevent it from “marking new territory” and limit dog temptations such as food atop desks, indoor plants, and chewable goods.

3. Before letting your dog plant itself under your desk, wrap up computer and phone cords which make irresistible chewing gum for bored dogs. If your dog does happen to gnaw its way through company equipment, don’t hesitate to replace it at your own expense (the “your dog chews it, you buy it” rule).

4. Rethink bringing ill-trained dogs, young dogs, high-energy dogs, or dogs in heat.  They are more prone to bark, jump up on your desk, and have accidents from the excitement of a new location.  Ill-trained or overly-excited dogs are not just a hassle, they are a liability.

5. Generally, one dog per day at an office is plenty. But if your office allows more than one dog, introduce the dogs prior to the work day to ensure they get along, and have a backup plan of how to separate the dogs if there is conflict.

6. Bring the comforts of home with you to help the dog remain as calm and collected as possible.  This may mean bringing their favorite chew toy, a crate, a dog bed, or their favorite food and water bowls–whatever your dog needs to create their own space.

With the right combination of planning, training, and practices, your dog has the potential to move from “temporary employee” to “permanent employee.” Keeping these tips in mind will help you be more productive while reaping the benefits of having your best friend at work with you.

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