Clancy Aussie Doodles

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Bringing Your Dog to Work

on December 15, 2011

How to Make Your Office Pet Friendly – and Why Your Boss Will Love It

Bringing Your Dog to Work

Wouldn’t you love to bring your dog to work with you? There may be other employees at your office who feel the same way. So how do you convince the boss that allowing pets in your workplace is a good idea? And is it?

According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), nearly one in five companies allow pets in the workplace. One in five! And it’s not just the independent boutiques and pet-oriented businesses that are allowing pets. Employees at large corporations like Google bring their pets to work.

Every business has its own culture, so how it goes from being a humans-only workplace to one that allows you to bring your dog can vary widely. Getting acceptance from the boss may be easier when presented with statistics. The APPA surveyed pet-friendly businesses, and found these interesting figures:

  • 73% said pets created a more productive work environment
  • 27% enjoyed a decrease in absenteeism
  • 73% said interpersonal skills improved
  • 58% said employees stayed late with pets (no need to go home to let the dog out!)
  • 100% said they would continue to allow pets in the office

Other general feedback was that staff morale and camaraderie improved when employees could bring their dogs to work. Happier employees lead to better job performance.

Guidelines & Etiquette for Dogs in the Office

Once you’re armed with the stats, and your boss is willing to consider it, the next step is training the office staff! Set up some guidelines and etiquette so everyone has a good experience. Just one unfortunate incident could cause a company to say “forget this!”

Here are some general guidelines and etiquette to share with employees:

  • Your dog must be “office ready.” He should be well-trained, socialized, clean, flea-free, healthy, and comfortable around strangers. Don’t bring your dog to work if he’s not comfortable around strangers. Bring him after he’s had some dog training and socialization.
  • Provide proper containment and amusement for your dog. A baby or pet gate is ideal for keeping him in the office or cubicle. A leash is a must for walks. Your dog should have plenty of toys to keep him occupied, and of course water and treats.
  • Your dog must be comfortable being left alone (not barking and whining) in his space when you need to step out. This may take a little training. Don’t bring your dog to work on days when you’ll have a lot of meetings.
  • You are responsible for your own dog, and should not expect a subordinate to take care of him at the office. It is generally acceptable to ask someone to check in on your dog if you have to be out for a while. It becomes a problem when one employee routinely expects another to care for his/her dog.
  • Take your dog for a walk every few hours, and clean up afterward. If he has an accident in the office, clean it up immediately. Some companies impose a fine for accidents, and some have a “three strikes you’re out” policy.
  • Keep dogs out of eating areas, conference rooms and restrooms. People may be very uncomfortable encountering pets in these places.
  • Keep your dog away from anyone who has allergies, fears or dislike of dogs.
  • Make your dog’s visit enjoyable to everyone.

When dogs first come to the office, expect it to be a distraction, as people will naturally swarm to pet the pooches. But once the newness wears off, and dogs become more commonplace, the benefits will emerge. The days will go better, as not much can melt away frustration, bad attitudes and disappointments like a best friend with a wet nose and wagging tail.

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