Digging up the truth about dogs at work

dogsatworkHaving dogs at work can have a positive impact on a workplace’s culture. If a dog-friendly office is a good fit, it can be a great way to bring people together, reduce stress and add some fun to the everyday routine.

Check out this recent article from the Huffington Post, which highlights some research on the benefits of having pooches in the office.

As a fan of dog-friendly offices, I’ve been fortunate enough to bring my Jack Russell, Junior, to work with me on Fridays for the past few years.

If you’re a dog owner who’s thinking of bringing your pet to work with you, here are a few things to consider first, which I’ve learned in my experience as an owner of an office pooch:

  • Schedule some time to care for your pup – It’s great to go for walks throughout the day and to chat with others about your dog. Just make sure you plan ahead to fit these things into your day. Try scheduling walks in your calendar so your team knows when you’re unavailable, bring your smartphone with you on walks so that you can be reached, prepare water and treats ahead of time and be conscious of how much time you spend with colleagues gushing over how adorable your pet is.
  • If you’re under the gun, dogs are no fun – Have a busy day planned, with a lot of meetings, projects and deadlines? It may not be best to bring your dog with you, since your focus should be 100 per cent on your work. Even well-behaved dogs can be somewhat distracting.
  • Keep Fido on a leash – Not everyone is a fan of dogs at work. Some people are afraid of dogs – even small dogs. Offices are also exciting places for dogs to explore, with lots of nooks and crannies and new smells to investigate. Therefore, I always try to keep Junior under my control when he’s at work with me. I keep him on a leash, and even if I need to run down to the printer for a minute, I like to have him fastened to something so he can’t wander off on his own adventure.
  • Find a dog-sitter – You may have a slow day planned, but that can all change and then having your dog with you may not be very convenient. For example, if a client ask for a last-minute conference call and it may not be appropriate to have your pup barking in the background. Therefore, It’s super helpful to have one or two coworkers who can watch your dog for an hour. It’s usually best if this person is familiar with taking care of dogs, and who your pet knows and trusts. You’ll probably find that people volunteer to dog-sit, which always helps!

  • Silence is golden – Your dog should be calm and quiet throughout the day so as not to disturb you and your coworkers. You may not know how your dog reacts to being in your office until he or she is there a few times. Over time, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep Junior calm, quiet and ideally asleep.  He has a nice pillow to lie on, wears a dog sweater and often chews on a bone. He also tends to be calm and tired if the weather’s nice and he’s had several walks throughout the day. It make take some trial-and-error, but you’ll learn what works for your pup too.
  • Use your judgment – Depending on the workplace or industry, it may not always be appropriate to bring your four-legged friend to work with you. Also, if a client or someone on the company’s leadership team is visiting your office, it’s probably best if you leave your dog at home that day.

Have you brought your dog to work with you?

What tips do you have for helping your pooch get used to the office environment?

Image credits: Laine Jaremey.


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