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Office dog etiquette: Do's and don'ts when taking your pup to work

Dogs improve workplace morale, but there are important rules to follow before taking your pup to the office.

Let's face it, having pups around boosts everyone's mood and cheers up even the dreariest Monday mornings, which is why more dog owners than ever want to take their pup along to the office. And many workplaces are starting to realize just how important this perk is to the many pet parents out there - with most Canadians saying they'd give up a chunk of their salary for dog benefits. But before bringing your pup into a busy office, there are some do's and don'ts to consider to ensure things stay under control and you don't lose the dog-friendly privilege.

In fact, Vancouver dog owner Ron Shewchuk says the “Doggie Fridays” his office implemented may have started off with good intentions - but quickly turned into “a sh*t show.”

“People would leave their dogs to roam the hallways,” says Shewchuk, a Communications Specialist. “And they started to travel in packs.”

“One woman kept her little dog on an extendable leash and it ended up tripping someone, who fell quite badly. Finally, the whole experiment ended because one person said they were afraid of dogs and another was allergic.”

Of course, not every dog office ends up in a fiasco like Shewchuk’s did. But bringing a four-legged friend to work is much more involved than adding a goldfish bowl to your desk.

If your workplace does permit pups, make sure to follow these 10 simple rules of etiquette to ensure your office is more professional than a dog park.

Ask Others First

Even if your office is dog-friendly, you can’t assume all your workmates are friendly about dogs in the office. Someone could be allergic, some could be afraid, and others just might not want the distraction. Clear your new office-pet with your team first - especially those who work in your immediate area.

Know Your Dog

Like many of us, not every pup likes to go to work! More specifically, if you know your dog is antisocial, a relentless barker, or mega-mooch, leave him at home. If you do bring your dog to work, you know him best, so watch for any signs that may precede misbehaviour or distress.

Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended

You are responsible for your dog, especially legally...should an accident happen. So always keep your pup close by. Even if the office enjoys your pet, it can be very distracting to coworkers for an animal to wander around alone.

Create a Space For Your Dog

To prevent Rover from roving or feeling out of place, carve out a small space for him to call his homebase. A doggie bed or even a gate can be helpful. If you have your own desk, your dog should have their own domain to keep office order.

Bring Lots of Supplies

Keep a decent stash of food, treats, and comfort toys on hand to get your dog through that long workday. It’s important to keep a water bowl full and fresh - dogs will drink more often in new places or when excited around new people.

Frequent Potty Breaks

If your dog drinks and eats more than usual, that’s normal while visiting somewhere outside of home. But you’ll most likely need more bathroom walks than normal. The last thing you want is an accident - your workmates will be angrier than that time you didn’t clean the microwave.

No Dirty Dogs

If you shower for work, your dog should be clean too.

Time Out Feedings

To avoid your dog mooching or interrupting important meetings, make sure they are fed at the times that will reduce any restlessness when you need to really focus. A big breakfast will also help start off the workday right.

Morning Exercise

Try to go for a run or a 30-minute walk with your pooch before work. Not only will you benefit from the early morning exercise, your dog will get some of that energy out and practice more patience on that long, boring work shift.

Have a Plan B

Just like you have an exit plan when not well at work, your dog should have another place to go if things turn poorly. Have a strategy prepared to take your dog to a sitter, a daycare, or back home just in case he’s not the best employee that day or needs a sick leave. Your coworkers will appreciate the gesture and know you respect their work as well.


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