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How to take your dog to work with you

BY Karen Cornish

12th Sep 2023 Inspire

4 min read

How to take your dog to work with you
More and more workplaces are making space for the office dog. Here's what to consider first before deciding to bring your pet into work
Office dogs are good for business, which is why more and more companies are opening their doors to canine colleagues.
Big names including Google, Amazon and Airbnb are leading the pack, not only by allowing their employees to bring well-behaved pets to work with them but by actively encouraging them with perks, such as designated play areas and "pawternity" leave (time off when settling in a new pup).
If your place of work does not currently have a pet policy, you could try encouraging your employer by highlighting these benefits:
  • According to research by the University of Lincoln, employees who often take their dog to work with them report 22 per cent higher satisfaction with their working conditions and absorption in their work up by 33.4 per cent.
  • Figures from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) show that 85 per cent of employers in pet-friendly work places rarely take a day off work for well-being reasons compared to 77 per cent in non-pet-friendly companies.
  • The HABRI study also found that 90 per cent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces felt fully engaged with their work compared to less than 65 per cent of employees in non-pet-friendly workplaces.
  • According to The Kennel Club, 70 per cent of people say that dogs alleviate stress in the workplace and 67 per cent say dogs make the atmosphere more friendly.
  • Studies in Industrial and Organisational Psychology at Central Michigan University reveal that dogs can increase group bonding, promoting a feeling of togetherness and helping to prevent burnout.

Have a trial run before committing

National Bring Your Dog to Work Day is held every June on the Friday following Father’s Day to raise awareness of the benefits of having dogs in the workplace.
If you want to have a go at taking your dog to the office with you, this day is a great place to start. It can also help an employer to decide whether a pet-friendly policy is for them.
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can take part with your pet (and help raise funds for animal charities in the process) visit the website
"Many companies with dog-friendly policies in place stipulate a three-month probationary period for pet"
Many companies with dog-friendly policies in place stipulate a three-month probationary period for pets before they are granted permanent permission to accompany their owner to work.
This gives a dog the opportunity to get used to the working environment and routine to see if they are suited to life as an office dog.

Put together a pet-friendly policy

Before allowing employees to bring their pets to work, employers must make sure that everyone that works for the company is happy about it. There could be employees who are allergic to dogs (20 per cent of the UK population suffer from pet allergies) or who have a phobia of them.
Office managers would need to consider everyone’s views on the matter and hold a consultation before a decision is made.
It is a good idea for employers to draw up a code of conduct that dog owners should agree to. This will help to manage expectations and ensure that everyone is happy with the arrangements. Here are some things that should be included:
  • Owners should make sure that their dogs have a basic level of training so that they can be kept under control in the workplace. Any antisocial behaviour or excessive noise will not be tolerated.
  • Owners should make sure that their dogs are vaccinated and have been treated with appropriate parasite control products.
  • Dogs should be clean and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them if necessary.
  • If there are any areas of the building or grounds—for example a kitchen area—that dogs are not permitted to go, this should be clearly stated in the pet policy.
  • Owners should have public liability or third-party insurance to provide protection if their dog causes accidental injury. They should check with their insurer that this cover will be valid for a claim relating to time in the workplace.
  • Any complaints from other employees about a dog’s conduct will result in an owner being asked to remove them from the workplace.

Is your dog ready?

Before you clip your dog’s lead on and head out on the morning commute, have a think about whether taking your dog to work with you is the right thing to do.
An office environment is not suitable for every dog and if you have a pet that is particularly nervous or overly boisterous, you might end up finding that the experience is stressful for all.
"An office environment is not suitable for every dog"
Brush up on your pet’s basic training, for example sitting when asked and greeting people in a calm manner.
If there are any other dogs in your workplace, it is a good idea to arrange a time for them to meet out for a walk. Having a first meeting on neutral territory will help with positive introductions.

Are you ready?

Dog commuting to office on bus
Consider all aspects of your working day before deciding if it is a good idea to take your dog with you.
How do you get to work? If it’s on public transport, is your pet used to travelling that way?
Do you always take a lunch break? Your dog will need to go out regularly during the day to go to the toilet, and a walk or run around the park at lunchtime will help them settle down for a peaceful afternoon.
Ensure you have everything you need with you to keep your dog happy. Your pet will need a bed and space to stretch out, as well as access to fresh drinking water.
Food toys, puzzle feeders or long-lasting chews are a great way to keep an office dog occupied so they do not get bored and disruptive.
It’s also a good idea to keep a jar of dog treats on your desk to reward good behaviour and so that colleagues can give them to help forge friendships.
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