This Friday, June 24th is Take Your Dog to Work Day! This day started in 1996 in the UK by Pet Sitters International, encouraging pet parents to bring their beloved pups to work with them. The United States jumped on board in 1999, and many other countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand around the world are now taking part. It is celebrated annually on the Friday following Father’s Day. It is geared towards celebrating companion animals and encouraging people to adopt from local shelters, rescue groups, and humane societies. Many groups’ celebrations include a fundraising component, with proceeds from their event going towards a local shelter or rescue society.
Studies show that bringing a dog into work can reduce stress in the workplace, and increase job satisfaction, morale, and team co-operation. Having dogs around can be cathartic, lead to a more productive work environment, and they encourage people to get to know each other more by bonding over their pets. Having a dog at work that needs frequent trips outside to relieve themselves is also an organic reminder to stop working, stretch your legs, and unglue your eyes from the computer every now and again, which is good for overall health and productivity. Having pets around can also stimulate creativity by providing ‘brain breaks’ that help to fuel thinking outside the box.
Bringing your dog into work can be a fun and exciting break from the normal routine for everyone involved. However, make sure to thoughtfully prepare for the day, so that it can be pleasant for everyone. Here are 5 tips to make sure everyone enjoys Take Your Dog to Work Day.
Is your dog ready for the office? Think about how your dog reacts when meeting new people or is in a large group. Are you usually able to take your pooch with you almost anywhere dogs are allowed, and be confident your dog will behave and not cause trouble? If they are well-socialized around people and other dogs, and well-trained, your dog should be fine at the office. However, if your dog does not do well meeting new people or being around other dogs or in new environments, you may want to rethink bringing them to the office. Same goes if you are worried about any behavior issues your dog might have, or if they’re not totally housetrained. If you are confident in your dog’s ability to behave themselves, make sure your dog is freshly groomed and looking their best to meet your coworkers.
Is the office ready for the dog? Take some time in the days before you plan to bring your dog in to work pet-proof your work space. Scope out areas where you can take your pup out to relieve themselves that won’t get you the side-eye from other people around. Make everyone in the office aware that there are dogs coming in, to ensure there aren’t any allergies or serious opposition to having four-legged creatures in shared workspaces. Designate certain areas dog-friendly and others restricted, like kitchen and bathrooms, if warranted. Decide if dogs need to be kept on a leash, or if everyone is comfortable with them being allowed free access.
Be prepared. Make sure you pack all the essentials your dog will need to have a comfortable day at the office. Some key things to bring are:
- Water bowl
- Food bowl and food
- Extra treats
- Leash and collar/ harness
- Waste disposal bags
- Paper towels and disinfectant/ cleaner for any accidents that may happen
- Dog bed or blanket for your dog to sleep on
- A new chew toy or rawhide can be a good addition, as a novelty to keep your dog occupied so you can actually get some work done!
- Baby gates or other barriers may be a good idea, to keep your pup contained in your work area.
Keep control. Keep your dog on a leash, especially until they get accustomed to the work space and learn where they are and are not welcome. Once your pup, yourself and your colleagues are all comfortable with each other’s presence, then decide whether or not to let your pup roam free.
Have an exit strategy. Make sure that you have a plan for getting your dog back home if your dog does not behave as you wish, or is not comfortable in the workplace. If you are not able to leave work yourself to bring them home, arrange to have a friend or family member on- call for this task.
If you are interested in encouraging your workplace to participate in Take Your Dog to Word day, but are unsure how to get started, Pet Sitters International provides a free toolkit you can download on their website, https://www.petsit.com/takeyourdog/. It includes information on planning events, getting approval from your workplace, a sample “dogs at work” policy, customizable press release and promotional and event materials to get your workplace started on participating in this fun day. For all the details, visit their website.
Take Your Dog Work Day can be a fun and special day, and with a little planning, everyone can enjoy it!