Having dogs and other pets in the office can have a number of positive physical and mental health benefits for workers. However, if you do not follow the right procedure your furry friend could have a negative impact on the health, welfare, and working environment of your office.
On June 23 is International Take Your Dog to Work Day, and some businesses may be open and supportive of opening their doors to your dogs, others may not. If you are lucky enough to have an open office be sure to follow these pointers so the experience for you, your pet, and the entire office goes smoothly.
Your first step is to ask your office if bringing in your pup is appropriate and allowed. If your office does not approve it’s likely to be because the working environment is unsafe for your dog. Additionally, check in with all of your colleagues in the workplace and discuss whether bringing your dog in would adversely impact their health.
If your office does not approve of your proposition it is likely because having a pet around may breach policies or requirements. You will need to take your pup to the vet to ensure they are healthy and will not spread infections to workers or other animals. During the vet visit, you will also need to check your dog can easily be identified (microchip) and is up to date on their vaccinations.
Dogs who often socialise with other animals and people typically are the best and safest to have wandering around the office. Pets who are familiar with reward-based positive reinforcement will make it easy for you to encourage their good behaviour in the office.
Before bringing your furry friend into the workplace ensure the office is clear of any possible hazards. Hazards may include cables, cords, and rubbish bins. Be prepared to supervise your dog throughout the work day, you will need to be your pup doesn’t end up lost, escape, or get up to mischief.
To ensure both you and your pal have a great day, bring their favourite blanket, bed, food, treats, and bowls. To help keep them occupied has some of their toys available. Bringing along objects they know and love will help keep them comfortable when adjusting to the new environment.
Keep their bed beside your desk so your pup can’t go wandering away without you realising. Having a temporary pen in the office gives your dog a chance to stretch and walk around without you having to worry.
Prior to the workday take your pup for a walk or a play at the park to try a burn some of their energy. They will already be very excited entering a new environment so be patient at first and take them around to meet everyone in the office and to explore the space.
Don’t forget to set aside time to take your pup outside for toilet breaks throughout the day. Also be ready to clean up any accidental messes made throughout the day. If they make a mess be sure to never punish or discourage your dog, instead quickly clean the mess using non-ammonia based cleaning products.
During the day your pup should never have access to the kitchen or eating area in the office. If they wander over there be sure to call them back and reward them with a treat when they come back to you.
Finally, ensure your furry friend and their belongings do not become a hazard in the office. This may include the placing of their belongings and any debris associated with your dog.
Be careful when giving treats to your furry friend as dogs have been known to lie to receive sweets.