More and more workplaces are becoming dog friendly, and you might even be lucky enough to have a job with one — but if the opportunity comes up, should you bring your dog with you?
Let’s say your workplace has gone dog-friendly. Here are the questions to ask yourself before you let your best friend tag along.
- Is my dog socialized enough to bring?
This is probably the single most important question. Does your dog get along well with other dogs and people, especially ones she hasn’t met before?
If the answer is yes, the next question is whether there are any kinds of people or dogs that he doesn’t get along with. Some dogs get along better with women than with men, for example, or may have a fear of all people in uniforms. They may love small dogs but fear big ones. And is your office kid-friendly? Then you need to be absolutely certain that your dog gets along with children, too.
- Do any of my coworkers have a fear or allergy?
If you share workspace with or are likely to encounter someone often during the day who is afraid of dogs or who has allergies, ask them first before you bring your dog in.
If they do, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can never bring your dog with you. Have them keep you posted ahead of time on days when they might not be in the office. And, while you can’t do anything about allergies, if you have a friendly and well-behaved dog, ask your frightened co-worker whether they’d be interested in using your dog to work on their phobia — a win-win situation.
- Can I trust my co-workers with my dog?
This is the flipside of whether it’s safe for your co-workers to have your dog around them. Is your dog safe around your co-workers?
This sounds sinister, as if someone is going to injure or kidnap your dog, but it can be a completely different kind of danger. Is your co-worker not going to respect your rules and create misbehaviors? Or can they not resist slipping him treats or sharing lunch when you’re not looking?
Remember: When that spicy curry sits wrong with Fido, you’re the one who’s going to have to clean it up. So make sure your co-workers know and will respect your rules.
- Are my office and work station dog-friendly enough?
There are also practical considerations. If you work in a steel-mill anywhere besides the front office, you probably shouldn’t bring your dog to work. An open-plan office can also be an issue if your dog likes to wander. And speaking of wandering, how many doors are between you and outside, and do they tend to be left open?
A good rule is this: If I left my dog unleashed and walked away for five minutes, is there any chance she could run away and get outside by the time I come back?
Another thing to consider is traffic in your work area and how likely your dog is to react to it — excitedly and aggressively, or calmly?
Finally, are you able to leave your dog alone with no issues? Will he remain calm or start barking, whining, or otherwise making a fuss and being a distraction? If you can leave him alone, can you take steps to make sure he stays in your area, either with a door or barricade, or by securing him with a leash?
- Would my daily responsibilities cause problems?
Do you tend to spend most of your time in one or two places, or are you constantly on the move? If you have an office and stay mostly planted at your desk that’s much better than if you work in the mail room and are walking every floor every day, twice a day — unless, of course, you can walk your dog with you, but that depends on your dog.
Does your work day involve a lot of meetings? If so, would your dog be disruptive, or calm and not distracting?
Do you have to drive a lot as part of your work day? If so, what are your options? Can you leave your dog safely (and calmly) in your office or bring him along for the ride? Or would you need to arrange for a coworker to watch him for you?
Here’s a hint: If the answer to that last question is “Yes,” then you probably shouldn’t bring your dog to work, no matter how eager your coworker might be to babysit. Your dog, after all, is your responsibility.
Answering these questions honestly will give you a good idea in general of whether you should bring your dog to work with you, but there are two other questions to consider every day before you bring her along.
- Do I have any errands to run today?
This does require planning ahead, but if you have to stop somewhere on the way home, will it be safe to leave your dog in the car? If it’s the middle of summer and you’re off work well before sunset, then probably not. If you can’t do that errand at lunch or after you’ve brought your dog home, then she may need a day off.
Even if it would be safe to leave your dog in the car, can you? If you’re getting a new TV and the only place to put it is in the back seat — where your dog is — then he should not come with you in the first place.
- Will people I live with be home late?
Finally, what’s going on at home? Maybe someone else in your household normally takes care of the dog during the day but they’re not going to be home — in which case you might have to bring your dog along. Or, conversely, maybe they have the day off and want to look after the dog, so you can leave her at home.
Maybe it’s date night after you’ve both been at work, in which case you might not want to leave your dog home alone all day and then all evening. This is a good day to bring your dog with you.
Obviously, living arrangements are highly variable and individual. The key point is to make sure you know what’s happening at home that day, and plan accordingly when it comes to the dog.
Bringing our dogs to work is probably one of the best perks of the modern-day office — but in order to make it as simple and stress-free as possible, it’s worth taking the time to answer these questions first.
Do you bring your dog to work? What issues have you had that we didn’t mention, and what was the general effect on office morale? Let us know in the comments!