From small start-ups to huge corporations, more and more workplaces are going “dog friendly”, allowing employees to bring pets to work. If your company allows pets to tag along, have you thought about working side-by-side with your pup?
There are many benefits to a pet-friendly workplace, including more workplace interactions and communication, lower stress levels, better morale, and less urgency to rush home to see our favorite furry family members. Some of the drawbacks may be that caring for a dog is an added responsibility (and distraction) from a busy workday. Or maybe your dog is a little too energetic to be expected to behave inside an office all day. Your dog’s temperament, as well as the amount of attention and care they require during the day, is important to consider as you weigh the pros and cons of an office mate.
When you’re ready to give it a try, we’ve come up with a few tips to make your trips to the office with your pup enjoyable for you both.
- Talk to your nearby colleagues and make sure they are comfortable with you bringing your pup to the office. If you want to be a good “neighbor”, it’s always best to communicate. (Remember, some people are allergic to pets.)
- Work on friendly greetings with strangers. This means training your pup to say hello to co-workers when you say it’s okay, and not jumping on every person. Remember that everyone in the office may not love dogs as much as you (and we!) do.
- Teach a cue to go to bed on a mat or in a bed and to relax there. This will help your pup feel comfortable at work by having their own area – as well as keeping them out of everyone else’s area.
- Reward their good behavior. Pack some treats for your pup and, of course, a bowl for water too. If they’re going to be with you for the whole day, don’t forget to pack their lunch too.
- Provide your dog with some mental stimulation before work to help him/her relax and calm down at the office. A quick session with your iDig digging toy or iFetch ball launcher before leaving for work will do the trick!
- Before bringing your dog with you, scout out some good potty break areas near the office and a safe route to get there. When it’s time for a break, consider inviting another co-worker with you to get some fresh air… it’s a great way to meet someone new.
- Remember: You – not your coworkers – are responsible for your pet, so make sure your dog doesn’t distract your co-workers while you’re in a meeting or in the restroom. Come up with a plan beforehand, such as leaving him or her with a dog-loving co-worker, or having him/her wait in a pen or crate while you’re away.
- Consider packing a mentally stimulating toy that they can play quietly in your office while you work. We, of course, love the Frenzy brain game if you have a smaller dog, but items like Kong are great too. Pro tip: Fill your Kong with peanut butter and freeze it the night before. It will keep your pup busy for so much longer.
- Safety first! Watch out for workplace dangers – power cords, plants, etc. and make sure your dog has their “leave it” command down before embarking (pun intended) upon the journey to the office.
- Keep a special backpack or bag packed for all of the items you’ll need to take with you to the office – leash, harness, treats, food, bowls, poop bags, toys, etc. Having a dog is kind of like having a baby… so keep the “diaper bag” stocked.
Happy co-working! Remember the good training habits you establish at home will translate to the office. Just be attentive and read the cues from your dog. If they’re panting and anxious, they may not be up for the task just yet. But, keep trying! With patience and training, all things are possible. Cheers to many more adventures with your best furry friend!