Career Article 109:
A Dogs Office: Etiquette for Bringing Your Dog to Work
By Tamara Dowling, CPRW
Employers want employees to feel comfortable at work. Happy employees often mean higher productivity and better retention rates.
First came the new business casual dress code, then bagels on Fridays, and now bring your dog to work. What? That's right. More and more offices, especially in the high tech and creative industries, are allowing employees to bring their pets to work.
I talked to a sampling of canine friendly, and not so friendly, employees who have strong feelings about the new trend. One dog lover thought it would be great not to leave his dog behind every morning. One even said he'd work longer hours, if he didn't have to rush home to feed Fido.
When asked how his associates would feel about Fido. He replied, "Everyone loves Fido!"
Whoa boy, not so fast. I talked to others not so glad to see Fido. One woman said if she even gets close to Fido, she'll break out in hives. Another co-worker worries about dogs jumping on clients or barking. Odor seemed to be the chief concern of the receptionist.
I like the idea, but I can see how one bad dog could ruin it for the pack. How about some doggy etiquette for the office?
- If your dog is not well trained, leave him at home until he is ready to mingle with both humans and dogs. Enroll your dog in an obedience class. Ask your local vet to recommend a class or a behavioralist.
- Keep your pooch looking and smelling good. Your local or online pet store offers many remedies for body and oral care.
- Your dog will likely spend 8 to 10 hours at the office. Make sure your dog has his own spot. Set up a comfortable bed or pad, blanket, and toys. If your dog is not occupied , he may find something to occupy himself – in the form of carpet, a desk or your files.
- Don't forget about fresh food and water.
- Take your pet out for frequent walks and bathroom breaks. Try not to delegate this task to a soon to be ex-assistant.
- Be aware of your dog's behavior. If he is snagging your partner's pants or barks when the phone rings, correct that behavior immediately. Your co-workers or boss may not let you know it's a problem until they ask you not to bring him back. Don't assume that everybody thinks your dog is cute.
- Know when it is time for the experiment to end. It may not be worth your professional reputation to keep Fido at work. Be sensitive. If it is not working out, make other arrangements for your pet. You can always try again later, after he's had more training.
If you are lucky enough to work for a company that allows dogs in the workplace, enjoy it and don't forget your doggy etiquette.