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A: Nowadays, many workplaces allow their dog-owning employees to make every day "Take Your Dog to Work Day." If you are one of these lucky people, here are some ideas to help your dog be a wonderful office companion. Take your dog to work day.jpg

Prepare yourself and your dog BEFORE introducing him to your fellow employees. The privilege of taking your dog to work depends on you, so be sure your dog is well-behaved and well-mannered.

The same rules and expectations you have at home for your dog apply at the office, too! Before you introduce your dog to the exciting and challenging environment of a shared workspace, be sure he is already in the habit of listening to you.

Know your dog's temperament. A dog that is shy and fearful around visitors in your home is probably not a good candidate to go with you to work.

Have a good sense of your dog's timing and toileting needs. Your supervisor or manager should be aware that you will need to take your dog out periodically. Of course, you will clean up diligently after your dog.

You should have excellent on- and off-leash control of your dog. He should respond consistently to basic commands such as "come," "stay," "leave it," and "kennel-up" or "go to bed." Your dog should also be able to ignore distractions, especially people (with or without their own dogs) passing by your workspace. Teach and test your dog's tolerance of distractions in your CGC.jpgfront yard or at a dog-friendly café or retail store--not at your workplace.

Consider working with your dog to achieve the AKC's Good Canine Citizen® designation, which has many of the requirements just listed. Visit or ask me! I am an AKC CGC Evaluator. 

Get an OK from your supervisor ahead of time to leave work early if your dog isn't ready to handle the new environment. If he becomes too stressed, overexcited or inhibited, it's best to just take him home. Do NOT opt to leave him in your vehicle while you continue to work.

If you have access to your office after hours, it may be helpful to bring your dog in for a "test run" where he can sniff around and get acquainted with the building and your work space in a calm, non-stressful environment. Make it a short, relaxed and pleasant experience so your dog will have a positive association with your office when you bring him in for a real workday.

Help your dog acclimate to the office by bringing a blanket, bed or crate from home. The familiar and comfortable smell will help him relax in his new environment.

Bring a leash to walk your dog from the car to your office, to take him outside for toileting, and to control him in the office. Even if your dog is used to being off leash, don't risk letting him go off leash in the unfamiliar surroundings of your workplace.

Bring some food or treats, his water bowl so he can stay well hydrated, and bags to clean up after toileting. Also, bring along food-based dog puzzle toys such as the Buster Cube® or KONG® products to help him pass the time.

To make things easier for you, set up all the new supplies a day or two before you bring your dog to work, so you won't want have to leave him alone right away to make a trip back to the car.

Put his bedding in your work area where your dog can feel secure (such as under or next to your desk) in a place that is out of the way of foot traffic. Teach your dog to stay there unless you invite him to do otherwise. Use a baby gate to block the doorway to keep him from wandering. Even a well-housebroken dog may mark or toilet in a hallway or unoccupied office.

Schedule break time to take your dog outside. If you must leave for a meeting, isolate your dog in a closed office or have a dog-familiar friend sit in until you return.

If you anticipate a particularly busy day, it may be best to leave your dog at home or elsewhere (such as at a doggie daycare) so that you can focus on your work. You don't want your dog to become stressed from being in a strange place without you for long periods of time.

If picking up a ringing phone and starting a conversation triggers your dog to bark or wander, set up learning opportunities to teach him that this is not acceptable behavior. Have a friend or co-worker call you, so you can teach without undue stress or neglect of your work responsibilities. You might also enlist a co-worker to walk by your workspace at a pre-arranged moment to teach your dog not to respond to such distractions.

Learn how to read your dog's body language around visitors to your office, especially those who are afraid of dogs. if your dog responds defensively to human fear, you should not leave him unsupervised in your workspace. Get help from a trainer at home.


dog at work.jpg

There's no denying that dogs are important members of our families. We tend to make just as much a fuss over them at holiday times as we do our human companions. February 14th is no exception.

Please don't buy flowers or chocolates for your dog! He'll probably eat the posies and as everyone knows, chocolate is deadly for dogs. Instead, here are a few ideas for making the day special for you and your hound:

  • Spend extra time with your dog. A long walk, a hike in the woods, a game of fetch in the backyard is the best gift you can give any dog.
  • If your dog is looking shaggy and isn't as fragrant as he should be, schedule a "pet spa day" either at the groomer or at home. 
  • Kongs.jpgIf you really must buy something for your dog, take him shopping with you to a pet-friendly store. Let him pick out a new toy, with your guidance. Keep in mind that food-based puzzle toys - like Kongs, Buster Cubes, and Tug-a-Jugs - will keep him busy and happy longer than any squeaky toy.
  • Another wonderful gift is to make an appointment with your veterinarian for your dog's annual vet check-up, if you haven't already done this.
  • Finally, if you like to bake, find a recipe for homemade dog biscuits. Non-cooks can pick up a gourmet treat at a local pet boutique.
However you celebrate this Valentine's Day with your best friend, have fun and stay safe!dog-valentines-day.jpg

Rachel Baum,CPDT-KA

RACHEL BAUM, CPDT-KA is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and Red Cross Certified in Pet First Aid. She is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the International Association of Canine Professionals, and is recommended by local veterinarians and rescue groups, including Forever Home Greyhounds and the Capital District Humane Association. Rachel does Pre-Pet Counseling (assistance with choosing the right dog for your family), Welcome Puppy (in-home instruction on housebreaking, obedience, problem prevention, crate training) and Behavior Consultation (any dog, any age, any problem). Using dog-friendly techniques, Rachel can help owners establish a relationship with their dog based on love, trust and guidance. She can find solutions to potentially embarrassing problems like jumping up on people, nuisance barking, and pulling on the leash, as well as aggression, separation anxiety, housebreaking, and destructive behavior. Clients (or dogs) with special needs are welcome! Rachel is also available to speak to organizations, schools, or businesses about dog safety and dog behavior. She can be reached at 518-248-1781 or

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