A team of human health researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University recently announced they had completed a study showing that dogs in the workplace not only reduce employee stress, but actually increase job satisfaction and work commitment!
I’m happy to see this kind of report make the news – especially with the 12th annual “Take Your Dog to Work” Day coming up on Friday, June 22. Perhaps it will encourage more employers to give the event a try.
Here at Best Friends Pet Care, every day is “take your dog to work” day. Stop by our offices any day of the week and you’ll find a dozen dogs helping us get our work done. Since we know what it takes to ensure the experience is positive for both pets and co-workers, I want to share some tips that will help if you successfully celebrate later this month.
If your company is opening its doors to canine companions for Take Your Dog to Work, you must decide whether your dog is office-friendly. Consider his temperament and training and how he behaves in social situations. For example:
- Does he jump up on people to greet them? Behaviors that you think are cute may not go over well with co-workers. If your dog isn’t office-ready, some training classes to modify behaviors could help.
- Is she friendly to people and other dogs? You should never take an aggressive or fear-aggressive animal into an office setting.
- Does your dog get along with other dogs? There likely will be opportunities for the visiting dogs to play together – this is a big part of the fun. If your dog does well at the dog park or goes to day camp, he’s a great candidate for office play. (Caution: intact males should not be allowed to comingle).
- Is he completely house-trained? If he likes to mark new objects, best to leave him home.
Even if your pet is extremely well-behaved, be sure to check with your co-workers about any concerns they may have. Someone with severe allergies or an overwhelming fear of dogs won’t appreciate even the gentlest canine.
If you decide that Take Your Dog to Work Day will work for you and your canine friend, remember to pack the equipment you need to make your dog’s workplace visit easier on co-workers:
- A pet or baby gate, so you can restrict your pet to your office area or cubicle.
- A water bowl and some treats, plus a plastic mat for under the bowl can help prevent stains on the office carpeting.
- A bed or sleeping mat and a couple of familiar toys will help your dog get through the day, especially if you have to leave her alone for a while.
- Don’t forget plastic baggies for cleaning up after your pet when you take him out for business walks.
Above all, be respectful of your co-workers and “Take Your Dog To Work” Day can be a successful experience for everyone.