By Nicole Pajer
More companies are starting to allow employees to take their dogs to work with them. Having your dog in your workplace has been shown to boost morale, increase productivity, and keep workers motivated. In addition, it provides employees with a reason to step away from their desks and get outside for a workday break.
As more companies are allowing dogs in the workplace, it’s important to know the proper dog etiquette and dog rules. I touched base with several dog-friendly companies (including ours) to learn the do’s and don’ts of bringing your dog to work:
1. Give the dog a place to feel safe, not territorial.
Cesar recommends that you set up a place for your dogs—a pillow or dog bed—beforehand. The dogs will feel safe when you direct them to their place and feel good knowing they have a place of their own. Don’t let the dogs find their own place or they can become territorial. If you bring them to their place, they share the territory.
2. Make sure your dog is well behaved at work
“Office dogs should be friendly and non-territorial. A dog that picks fights or growls unnecessarily can create a disruptive work environment. Also, if a dog barks or whines too much, it can be distracting for other workers” —Samantha Gewertz, Dogswell
But that doesn’t mean, you can’t bring in a dog with problems. Just discuss your dog’s problems with your co-workers beforehand and try to support other dogs with problems, too. Don’t discourage others from bringing a dog with issues and don’t be discouraged if it’s your dog with the issues. Being a good pack leader means supporting one another through the process.
It’s important that the humans in the office know to do what’s best. That means no touch, no talk, no eye contact.
3. You must supervise your dog at all times
“Dogs must be under control and well-behaved, and not wander around the offices unattended.” —Jon Bastian, CesarsWay.com
“At Amazon, all dogs are required to be on-leash except when they’re in an office with the door closed or behind a baby gate.” —Michele Glisson, Amazon
4. Dogs should be healthy and up to date on vaccinations
“Management asks that the dogs are healthy and vaccinated because the office place is not a controlled environment like the home. With other dogs running around, it would be terrible if one got sick from someone or something here.” —David Maiuri, Bank of America
“When I bring my dog to work with me it is required that he is clean, healthy, and up to date on all required vaccines. We are all about safety. First to make sure that any animals he comes in contact with will be safe but also any people. Accidents can happen and you can never be too careful when it comes to your pets” —Dave Corey, Petco
5. Your dog should be housebroken before coming to work
“It’s important that office dogs know not to pee or poop inside. This is annoying to other officemates, especially if they find it, or step in it, before you. If you bring your dog to work, be sure to take the dog out every few hours. It’s a good chance to get outside and get a little exercise while also caring for your dog’s needs. And in case of accidents, keep a roll of paper towels and pet stain remover in the office.” —Samantha Gewertz, Dogswell
6. Exercise Together.
Cesar recommends starting the day with at least a 30 minute walk, but for those that need more exercise or to drain more energy, consider a bike ride or run before work or have the dog carry a dog backpack. It would be ideal to come in early and do a pack walk together. Just remember to introduce the dogs in neutral territory outside the office where they can smell each other and walk together.
7. Make sure your dog is properly stimulated
Cesar says that one way to stimulate dogs and foster friendships among dogs is to let them exchange toys or share one another’s today for 20 to 30 minutes. This lets them get to know the scent of the other dog.
“We will occasionally stop everything to have a doggie play break, particularly if we have a lot of dogs in the office.” —Jon Bastian, CesarsWay.com
“It’s good to bring toys in to amuse your dog and prevent boredom while you work.” —Samantha Gewertz, Dogswell
“Our office dogs enjoy trips to the dog-friendly water fountains in the outside plazas and lunchtime walks to nearby off-leash dog parks.” — Michele Glisson, Amazon
8. Dog Feeding Time, Dog Treats and Bones
In the beginning, don’t give the dogs bones or treats when another dog is present. In fact, don’t feed dogs in the office at all. A common water bowl area is a good idea.
9. Owners are responsible for their own dogs at work
“People are responsible for their own dogs, whether that person is a temp or an executive—when one of Cesar’s dogs has an accident, Cesar cleans it up himself.” —Jon Bastian, CesarsWay.com
“At Ben & Jerry’s, dog owners must keep their best friends quiet as to not distract from the work environment, and most importantly pick up after puppy’s “presents” both inside and outside!” —Sean Greenwood, Ben & Jerry’s
Here at CesarsWay.com, we have Cesar himself to keep our canines in line, (Cesar has definitely tossed a “Tsch!” or two at all of our dogs at one time or another) however, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on your own dog while in the workplace. By following the above advice, you will ensure that you and your dog have a fun and relaxed time at the office, not to mention a productive workday!
If your company allows you to bring your dog to work, we’d love to hear your experiences and tips in the Comments section below.