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.
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.
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 front 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 akc.org 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.
JUNE 22, 2012 is TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY!