Do you work in a dog friendly environment? We have all heard the phrase “working like a dog” but on June 26 it’s actually Take Your Dog to Work Day, an event sponsored by Pet Sitters International for more than 18 years. Why?
First, it raises awareness for the adoption of homeless animals. Additionally, research has shown that pets in the workplace bring many benefits including a reduction in stress and blood pressure, improvement in employee morale and motivation, lower absenteeism rates, improved relationships among co-workers, and a dose of comic release. More and more companies are allowing dogs in the workplace – in fact, about 1.4 million owners take some 2.3 million dogs to work every day, according to an American Pet Products Association survey.
It’s important to realize that not every dog has the temperament to go to work, nor are all office environments conducive to dogs. Before you even propose the idea, make sure none of your co-workers are severely allergic to dogs. Then approach the “top dogs” about setting a policy for your office.
Here are some tips to make sure you and your furry friends are well prepared:
- Exercise. Exercise your dog before she goes with you. This will make her less hyper and less prone to misbehaving. Also, when you first get to the office, introduce her slowly to the different sights and smells, and your fellow employees!
- Dog–proof your workspace. You know those cords that dangle from your computer? Make sure they are tucked away and that all toxic office supplies (dry erase markers) are put away. Pay particular attention to what’s on the floor at a dog’s eye view.
- Office etiquette. You might want to think twice about bringing your pooch to the office if she doesn’t respond to basic commands like “sit” and “stay”. Chances are there will be other dogs at the office which could lead to inner-office fighting (sound familiar?) Your dog may be cute but barking and jumping on your colleagues may not be appreciated. Be respectful of co-workers that don’t like dogs (yes, they do exist) or are frightened by dogs.
- Up-to-date. Make sure all her vaccinations are up-to-date or you could be putting other pooches at risk.
- Pack a dog bag. Don’t show up unprepared. Bring food, bowls, treats, a leash and chew toys. Even though your dog may be housebroken, she may have an accident at work, so bring paper towels and pet odor remover. Oh, and don’t forget the poop bags! Need to attend a meeting that day? Bring a baby gate or playpen to cordon off the area.
- Take a break. Lunchtime could be the perfect time to go for a potty break or long walk.Even if your dog is normally well-behaved, be prepared for the unexpected. Remember it can be a “dog eat dog world” in corporate America, so be careful!