Bring your dog to work day- tips to help it be a success
Bringing your dog to work can be a great experience for both you and your four legged friend. According to Country Living, bringing your dog to work has been found to reduce stress levels for the whole team. With the national Bring Your Dog to Work Day coming up on the 23rd June, we’ve written a guide on how to best prepare for the big day!
Will your dog enjoy it?
First things first, think about whether your dog would actually like to be at your workplace for the day. It’s important to consider their temperament and anxiety levels; if they are anxious or are reactive to other dogs or loud noises, it may be kinder on them to leave them at home.
Check workplace policies
Before even planning to bring your dog into your work environment, it’s really important to check if there are any rules against you bringing your dog to work. Some workplaces, for obvious reasons (such as hospitals or food preparation businesses) will not allow dogs (other than assistance/guide dogs). Others may not feel comfortable allowing dogs on site.
It’s a strange thing to comprehend, but not everyone loves dogs. Some people are terrified of dogs, allergic, or just simply don’t like them. So, whilst your manager might not have a problem with you bringing your dog in for the day, it’s courteous to ask the people within your office if they’d mind your dog being in the office. There’s nothing worse than having an unpleasant experience which could have been avoided altogether.
Assess the environment
Before you bring your dog on site, be sure to check out the practicalities of having your furry friend with you for the day. Safety is the number one priority; are there any hazards which could pose a problem for your dog? Common office hazards include cables, office bins and certain types of plants.
Is there anywhere where the dog can go to the toilet, like a green space or area outside? Is this easily accessible and will your boss allow you (or others) to take regular breaks for your dog?
It’s also important to think about downtime for your pooch. Is there a safe space for your dog to relax? Is your desk in a quiet area of the office, or is there a high footfall? It may be worth asking if you can swap desks to a quiet corner of the office.
The Blue Cross recommends creating a simple risk assessment before bringing your pooch to work. If your workplace employs more than five people, a risk assessment must be in writing.
Create a comfy space
Whilst it can be a lovely experience for your dog to be with you for the day, all of the new smells, sights and sounds can be quite overwhelming for them. Creating a cosy space can give comfort for your dog and offer them reassurance. We’d recommend bringing blankets or bedding from home to help your pup settle. It’s also really important to not disturb your dog if they’re enjoying some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the office.
Plan, plan and plan!
Taking a dog to work is just like taking your baby out for the day; the key to success is in the planning.
Make sure you have enough poo bags, treats, refreshments and toys to last for the day. Be considerate of your colleagues and maybe reconsider taking in any toys which squeak or make noises; it’s a sure way to cause issues! A puzzle toy is a great distraction for your pup and gives you some time to focus on a project that you may be working on.
Plan in walks to match with your breaks and ensure your dog gets a much needed leg stretch. This is not only good for you and your dog, it can tire them out for the rest of the day.
Even if your dog is housebroken (which they really need to be if taking them into the office), it’s a good idea to plan just in case your dog has an accident. Entering a completely new environment can be unsettling for your dog and their response may be to pee. If this happens, don’t make a fuss and clean it up as soon as possible with pet friendly cleaning products.
It’s quite unrealistic to assume that your dog is going to be completely fine for a whole 8 hours in a brand new setting. Whilst some dogs have been known to settle straight into a new environment, it’s prudent to plan for introductory sessions, so that your dog can become accustomed to the new space. Is there anyone at home who could come pick your dog up if it’s not going too well? Or, maybe the option to work remotely should your dog need a break from the office. It’s important to navigate these solutions before arranging for your dog to go to the office.
Prepare for distractions
Other dogs in the office? Lots of people, loud noises, phones constantly ringing? These can all be triggers for your pooch to get a little over excited. Before you even step foot in the workplace, it’s a good idea to introduce your dog to these stimuli in a controlled manner and reward positive behaviour.
Puzzle toys are also a great way to distract your dog.
It’s also important to address that sometimes it can be other people which become a distraction to your dog. Just like you would only introduce your dog to someone who was wanting to interact with your pooch, ensure work colleagues are aware of your dog’s boundaries and ask them not to disturb them if they are sleeping or in their comfy zone
Bringing your dog to work can have so many benefits and results in a more happy and productive workplace! Ensuring you’ve thought about every little detail ensures you and your dog can have the best experience possible.