How to Make Your Office Dog-Friendly
Tomorrow is my favorite holiday of the year! Friday, June 24, is “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” and if the thought of having bringing your pup to work delights you, you’re not alone. Research has shown that dogs in the workplace improve employee morale. They heighten productivity, and they even make people feel better if they’re asked to work late. If your office is dog-friendly, there are a few aspects you should consider before having your dog put on his Sunday best for the office.
Below are seven tips to make your dog love your office — and vice versa:
- Touch Base Beforehand
Although you may love your dog, remember that not everyone else will — love dogs, that is. If your office mate or boss is allergic to dogs, the trip to your office could be a disaster.
It’s not just allergies, either. Some people have phobias and fear dogs. Irrational? Maybe. But you can’t fight their feeling.
So, check with your supervisor and colleagues before putting a “Take Your Dog to Work Day” plan into action. You’ll be glad you did.
- Assess Your Dog’s Workplace Readiness
You suit up for work every day, but your dog doesn’t. Dogs can get stressed in unfamiliar environments (especially indoor ones) and around large groups of strangers.
Only you can assess your dog’s social personality. Does your canine get hyperactive or territorial when lots of people are around, or might they go looking for the nearest closet to hide in?
Also, be sure to find out if other pooches will be on parade in your office. Think about how your your dog feels in the dog park when other dogs are around. Can they play nice?
If it doesn’t seem like previous social encounters with unfamiliar interior places, people or other pets have gone well, don’t risk it. It could have unpleasant repercussions for both you and Fido.
- Make Friends Only With Friends
Know your office well enough to know who the dog people are. You can go introduce them to Fido and vice versa. In fact, your dog-loving colleagues may come in and make friends the minute you and Fido sashay in.
Important: If there are people who don’t want to get to know your dog, though, don’t insist. Some people, crazy as it may be, simply don’t care for dogs.
Also, if co-workers have deadlines looming or are preparing for a major sales pitch, be sensitive. Shaking Fido’s paw may simply not be a priority on June 24 for them the way it is for you.
- Take Health and Safety Seriously
If your office is dog-friendly, make sure your dog is healthy in all respects. You don’t want co-workers itching after petting Fido, so treatment for fleas is a must. Your dog must be vaccinated, too.
Health and safety goes two ways, though. For instance, does Fran in Accounting keep Hershey kisses in a bowl on her desk? That’s great when discussing payroll deductions — not so much when you have your dog with you, however. Seriously, chocolate is toxic to dogs. It can make them dizzy, vomit or have diarrhea and potentially be fatal. Make sure Fido has no access to chocolate.
Another potential hazard? Electrical wires. Picture this scenario: A bored or slightly frightened Fido and you discussing monthly reports in your boss’s office — with wires all around the floor. Don’t let wires become the new shoes. If your dog starts chewing on the wires, it’s very dangerous to Fido and everyone else — not to mention the destruction to the company’s property.
- Make the Office a Safe Space
Fido-at-work needs some of the same things as Fido-at-home, such as comfortable place to rest. If you have a portable bed, bring that. It will be soothing as a home base that has a familiar smell and feeling.
It’s also a good idea to bring food and treats. It will reassure the dog that, yes, this is a safe and familiar location. Food also means you don’t have to go out to feed your dog, and treats can be used as attention-gaining devices for a dog who wants to wander.
- Keep Watch on Your Dog
Don’t ever leave your dog unattended. Dogs can be very curious — and some breeds can be very, very curious about anything they haven’t investigated in the most up close and personal way. If you walk to the water cooler for five minutes, that may be all it takes for Fido to get into the air conditioning (and not in a good way).
It’s also only fair to colleagues to keep your dog right with you or on a leash. They should not have to be responsible for a wandering dog.
You’ll also want to be alert for signs of distress in your dog. Even a calm dog who has always played well with others may feel stress at being in an unfamiliar place with strangers and foreign dogs for an eight-hour day. Panting, whining, drooling or pinning their ears back can all be signs of distress in a dog. If you see them, your dog might be in meltdown. Act accordingly and go home.
- Take Frequent Breaks
We don’t have to mention the need for bathroom breaks, do we? Don’t run the risk of an accident at work. If you need to take a break every half an hour or hour, that has to be part of the June 24th plan. If your office has some dog-friendly green space around the office, that will be perfect for the occasional game of fetch or just a quick walk to stretch the legs.
Taking your dog to work can be incredibly fun and can benefit the workplace in terms of productivity and morale. Just make sure you take calm and healthy dogs to the office and only visit co-workers who will appreciate them. Make a good environment for Fido and keep an eye out for doggy needs. Happy Take Your Dog to Work Day!