Our dogs are going to work with us every morning here in America. Employees at thousands of companies have found relaxation and creativity in their offices flourish with the arrival of our furry friends next to us at our desks. There are scientifically proven health benefits to spending time with our pets, and they are definitely a source of stress-relief daily. These health benefits extend from the home to the office, and can have a positive impact on work output as well as job satisfaction! Read more about the amazing health benefits of owning a pet here.
Now, I know that all pet parents out there would love to bring their dog to work with them, but it really does take advanced preparation on our part. Besides good basic training, there are some specific skills every working dog should have to get the job done smoothly. In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Week this week, here are some questions you should be asking yourself to help prepare your pooch for the daily grind.
#1- Is My Dog Well-Behaved? Dogs that are aggressive toward people or other dogs should not come to work.
This is a question that we all need to really be honest with ourselves about. Will my dog sit and stay? Will he remain calm for hours at a time? Does he bark at new people or mark when there are new scents around? Does he come when called?
Now, I don’t mean to say that your dog must be perfect all the time – I know that’s unreasonable. Dogs will be excited to see their office friends in the morning and get some attention. They will bark occasionally, they will run, and they may have an accident.
But after the morning’s initial excitement, can your dog calm down and chill out? An occasional bark is one thing, but does your dog bark all day? An occasional accident happens in a new place, but does your dog pee on the floor at home, too, or is he really housebroken? (If you need to freshen up your housebreaking skills, read more here.)
Make sure that you know all of the rules for office dogs at your workplace and that your dog will be able to abide by them.
You will need to practice and refresh your dog’s recall training. You cannot allow your dog to get out of control at work and not come back to you when called. When you say, “Fido, come.” Fido should come back over to you, perhaps looking a little ashamed about his behavior, immediately.
You will probably find that exercising your dog every morning before work will do wonders for his ability to remain calm and concentrate on your commands.
Dogs that are aggressive toward people or other dogs should not come to work.
#2- Am I Really Ready for this Responsibility?
Forget if your dog is ready to come to work. Are you ready to bring your dog to work? Keep in mind that you will need to decide in advance if your daily work schedule can accommodate regular walks which will include picking up poop and possibly having a change of shoes at the office for said walks.
Leash training will be a must unless your office has a gated pet area, you will have to take your dog outside multiple times every day on a leash. You will not want to be pulled around outside your office windows by a barking dog choking himself on a leash three times a day, right?
You will also have to be prepared to provide constant supervision to your dog. Are you in an office with a door that can contain your dog, or are you in a cubicle? Will you be able to keep your dog from wandering the building, and from eating out of people’s trash cans and off their lunch plates?
Are you prepared to clean up any messes your dog makes? “Leave it” and “No” are good commands to teach for work.
#3- Will There Be A Space for My Dog?
Give your dog his own place at work and make him use it! Your dog should have an office just like you, probably a crate or bed/mat right next to your desk. You stay in your office and work all day, and so should your dog (with regular potty breaks).
You must teach your dog how to sit and stay before bringing him to work, and a mat or crate work great for this purpose. Here are some blogs that will help you place train: http://hollywoodfeed.staging.wpengine.com/a-place-for-everyone-place-training-your-dog/, and crate train: http://hollywoodfeed.staging.wpengine.com/crate-training-guide-guide-getting-dog-acquainted-new-crate/ your dog for work.
Make sure your dog’s work space is quiet and comfortable and that he always has access to water.
If there is no room for your dog at your work area, and there is no doggy daycare room at your office, you probably shouldn’t bring your dog to work.
#4- Will My Co-Workers Still Like Me?
Make sure to be a considerate coworker when bringing your dog to work with you! Just because you think the snoring noise your precious puppy makes when sleeping is adorable, does not mean that your coworkers feel the same way. Especially when it goes on for 6 hours out of the day.
Bring everything your dog will need to work with you! Stain/odor remover, dog bed, crate, bowls, food/treats/toys, leash, id tags, poop bags, etc. will all be necessary and you should be able to store these items neatly.
Consider coworker allergies and sensitive noses. Make sure your dog is clean and healthy.
Make sure that your dog is used to being around other people and dogs before bringing him to work! Practice with friends and family first, and at an off-leash dog park, and make sure your dog does not display any aggressive behaviors.
No toys, treats or food should be left on the ground at the office around other dogs until you know how they get along, and then only under supervision. No noisy toys at work!