Every June we celebrate dogs in the office with Take Your Dog to Work Day. While office life isn’t possible (or ideal) for every dog, it can be a pretty great perk. I’ve been taking my dog to work for nearly 5 years, and can’t imagine going back to a job where dogs aren’t allowed.
Thinking about taking your dog to work? To make it a success for you, your dog, and your co-workers, here’s what you should keep in mind.
Consider your transportation options.
On the first day, take whichever form of transport your dog is most comfortable with. Dogs are usually allowed on metro buses and trains, but I’d suggest driving the first day if you usually commute in.
It will be a day of a lot of firsts, and putting your dog on a bus or train might just amplify their anxiety. If your dog is older, or used to being in a carrier or bag, then you should have a smooth experience on the bus. For my small dog, I commute via bus with this bag.
Bring a cozy bed (or two) from home.
My dog is a burrower, so I have beds and blankets galore surrounding my desk. You always want a cozy spot for your dog to rest, and have a special “spot” while at work.
Any type of bed or blanket does the trick; just bring what your dog is used to.
Puzzle toys are great, and treats are a must.
You’ll still have to get work done, aside from introducing your dog to every.single.one of your coworkers. The easiest thing to keep them busy while you’re crunching away is to bring some type of puzzle toy, or a chew.
Squeaky toys are a no-no in my office, but KONGs are a huge help for those times I really need to focus. Gus already knows the drill, he brings it to me every morning, I fill it, and then we both get to work.
Not everyone loves dogs as much as you, and that’s (reluctantly) ok.
Fact is, not everyone is super-crazy about dogs. While I don’t fully understand that concept, it’s good to assume that you should only let your dog approach new people or coworkers if they’ve asked to pet your dog.
If your dog is nervous about meeting strangers, be sure to make that known by placing a sign on your desk, or having them tethered close to you.
Have plenty of water.
New environments can be stressful, so make sure you have plenty of water. If your dog is lucky enough to have a playmate in the office, make sure they both have access to fresh, clean water.
Take lots of potty breaks.
Sometimes this involves taking your dog outside in your (matching) Halloween costumes because, well, nature calls.
Make sure to take your dog outside more than they’re used to, to prevent any potty accidents as they’ll most likely be drinking more water than normal. Sometimes accidents happen, and we’ve all been there. Just apologize, and make sure to clean it properly as soon as possible.
Be prepared for distractions.
There’s an adjustment period that comes with productivity, especially when there are multiple dogs in the office. Some people find it hard to work near dogs who bark, whine, or play with toys that make noise.
In the event that someone contacts you about your dog being a distraction, approach the conversation with an open mind and work with your peers to find a resolution that works for everyone.
Have a plan B.
Excessive barking? Lots of gas? (That’s a thing.) Marking their territory? It’s always good to have a backup plan. Puppies are prone to barking, and if that’s the case for you, take shelter in a conference room or try taking your dog for a long walk at lunch to tire them out.
Dogs are the perfect mental reset.
Sometimes you’ll be working on a big project, and need to step away for a moment to rest your eyes and recharge. Dogs are perfect for this! Just turn around, cuddle that dog or go on a walk and you’ll come back nice and refreshed. Works for me every time.
Leaving the office? Always ask for help.
If you need to run errands or go pick up lunch, it’s always best to ask a colleague if they can look after your dog. You’ll want a point person for your dog because sometimes they can become stressed once you leave. I usually ask “hey, can you keep an eye on Gus while I grab lunch real quick?” and I’m good to go.
Once you get in the swing of things, having your dog with you at work really is one of the best things in life!