By Sarah Jeanne Terry
According to a 2015 study, approximately 8 percent of workplaces allow dogs at work, and that’s a steep increase from 5 percent in 2013. With high profile companies like Google and Amazon opening their doors to pups, we can only imagine the trend growing.
Of course, none of us want to leave our pups at home all day. So if you’re lucky enough to work for a dog-friendly company, then you should consider taking advantage. But bringing your dog to work can have it’s challenges, so there are a few things that you need to know. Here are the do’s and don’ts of bringing your dog to the workplace.
Do: consider your dog’s personality before you bring them into the office.
While we all love our dogs, not all dogs are really suited for an office environment. First of all, some breeds are more suited to an office situation. Larger breeds with calm temperaments like Labs and golden retrievers can be a good choice. Smaller, low energy dogs like pugs and daschunds can be great too. However, you know your dog best and know if they can be quiet and calm at the office.
Think about whether your dog can handle being around your coworkers and their dogs. Will your dog stay quiet or are they vocal? How will your dog handle things if you nee to leave it for a few minutes? Take all of these things into consideration.
Do: Choose the days that you bring your dog to work carefully.
Particularly when your dog is new to the office, try to set yourself up for success. If you have a busy day of meetings or you know the office might be busy, then you should possibly pick different day. Your dog is most likely to feel comfortable if you can be around them and in one place.
Do: Bring treats, chews, and toys to keep your pup occupied.
Your dog will have more fun at work if they have some work to do of their own. Bring along some treats to reward them for good behavior at the office, particularly as they meet coworkers and get to know some of the scary office equipment.
Keep their minds occupied with toys and chews. Try to bring something they love, particularly the first day, so they feel more at home. You’ll both have a much more relaxed day if your dog has something to do while you work.
Do: Help your dog to get to know your coworkers.
It’s hard to resist a dog that gets excited whenever he or she sees you. My dog becomes a small little squiggle of happiness when she sees someone she knows, and she’s very endearing. Use treats and encouragement to help you dog come to like your coworkers, so that they like your dog right back.
Do: Bring a bed or something familiar to make your dog comfortable.
Our dogs are all about smell, so make sure to bring something that smells like home like their bed or a favorite blanket. This will help to make your office feel more like home. You’ll also want to have a bed for your dog to snooze away the afternoons while you answer emails.
Don’t: Leave coworkers to take care of your dog, unless they want to.
One of the quickest ways to get anyone annoyed with your pet is to make them take care of it when they don’t want to. This breeds resentment, and you don’t want that. Make sure you plan to watch over and care for your dog the entire work day. Then later, if your coworkers come to love your dog, then they might be happy to help. But it’s important for you to wait for them to offer.
Don’t: Wait too long between potty breaks.
Another great way to make a bad impression is to have your dog “go” somewhere in the office. Obviously, you can’t prevent all accidents, but you can try. Your dog needs time to adapt to a new potty and indoor situation.The best plan is to take your dog out much more frequently than usual to get them acclimated. Try making a trip every 2-3 hours, so that your pup gets used to their new potty spot.
Don’t: Let your coworkers make you feel bad about following your office’s policy.
One of the problems with an office dog policy is that not everyone likes dogs. Don’t worry, it’s not your job to make everyone like dogs. If you’re being considerate and your dog isn’t making a disturbance, then you’re doing things right. Don’t let a petulant coworker make you feel guilty for bringing your dog, because there are plenty of people who will never be happy about animals.
Don’t: Bring your dog if he or she can’t handle it.
Not all dogs are cut out for office life. Some dogs are too hyper and loud, while other dogs don’t like machines or strangers entering their space.
Give your dog a trial run before you commit to live that sweet office dog lifestyle. But if it doesn’t work out, if it’s not the right thing for your dog, then you have to be willing to recognize that.
Some other tips for a happy dog and a happy workplace:
Keep your dog’s vaccinations current. Yours won’t be the only dog at the office, and it’s important to prevent disease.
Be vigilant in your flea treatments.
Get your dog groomed regularly. Nobody wants a smelly dog at work.
Get some exercise before work. Spending time on a good, long walk in the morning means you’ll probably have a calmer dog while you work.
Buy or make a treat puzzle toy to engage your pup’s brain. If your dog is working as hard as you are, they’re less likely to get into trouble.
If a coworker is annoyed with your dog, try to talk it out before it escalates. Try to manage any conflict early, so that things don’t have to end up getting out of hand.