If you’re lucky enough to work at a business that encourages office visits from four-legged colleagues, you’re probably enjoying the many benefits that pet-friendly workplaces see. From boosting morale to enabling people to be more relaxed and creative, pets in the workplace can definitely make it feel less like a work-place.
But for pet-friendly offices to be successful, they need rules. And the first one is usually for the visiting dogs to be friendly, well-mannered and get along well with others — in other words, they need to be a good dog. Your dog may fit the “good dog” criteria at home (of course), but how do you know that they are a good office dog? Here are four questions to consider when deciding if your coworkers will love your dog as much as you do.
1. Is Your Dog Healthy, Clean and Vaccinated?
Being healthy is an essential quality of a good office dog. While it may be tempting to bring your sick dog to the office so you can take care of them, this puts other pets (and people in the case of zoonotic diseases) at risk of becoming sick, too. It’s also important that your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations and flea, tick and internal parasite treatments.
And even people who love dogs are probably going to get annoyed if a dog covered in dirt or mud gets their favorite work pants dirty or leaves muddy footprints all over the floor. So make sure your dog is nice and clean before they come to the office. This may include brushing before leaving home, too, if they’re a shedding machine.
2. Are They Well-Socialized and Potty Trained?
The last thing you want is for your dog to be scared or uncomfortable while they’re visiting your office. You want the experience to be enjoyable for them, too. So make sure they are well-socialized before they visit, so they can stay calm when they meet new pets or people and adapt well to the new environment. A fearful dog can become aggressive in certain situations, which is a big no-no for the office, and it’s likely to get them banned from returning. Remember any dog in a stressful situation is capable of biting.
You also don’t want your dog to be responsible for stinking up the office and causing a rush to the exit for fresh air. Make sure your dog is potty trained and will definitely let you know when it’s time to go for a walk. Of course, accidents do happen — just make sure you clean and sanitize the mess immediately and always throw the trash outside.
3. Can They Follow the Rules?
A lot of workplaces have a pet policy that includes rules for your dog like no jumping on the furniture, no wandering around the office without your person and no excessive barking. The lunchrooms, conference rooms and restrooms are usually off-limits too. If your dog can follow basic commands like “come,” “stay” and “off,” they should be able to follow the rules pretty well.
Your office probably also frowns upon teeth marks in the furniture, so make sure you bring plenty of toys and food puzzles to keep your dog entertained while you work. It’s also important to dog-proof your office space so your dog doesn’t find a new “toy” that could actually be dangerous for them (e.g., an electrical cord, a small object easily swallowed or a toxic plant).
4. Will They Respect Your Coworkers’ Spaces?
It’s important to remember that not everyone likes to be around dogs at work. Some people are allergic to dog dander (dead skin cells), some people may be afraid of dogs from past experiences, and others could find dogs in the workplace distracting. Offices will often designate pet-free areas for people who prefer not to be around dogs while they work. It’s essential that your dog avoids these areas and you respect people’s wishes if they don’t want to be your dog’s new best friend. In the same light, make sure your coworkers know your preferences for interacting with your dog and what food or treats they can or cannot give your dog.
Taking your dog to the office can be a lot of fun for both of you. Just make sure your good dog is healthy, follows the rules, and respects other people’s wishes so they can be a good office dog, too.
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