Are you lucky enough to bring your dog to the office? Here are some helpful hints to earn your four-legged intern the Employee of the Month award!
Dog-Proof Your Digs
If you've ever brought home a pooch, you know the drill—dog-proof your workspace as best you can the day before your pet's first day on the job. This may mean taping up loose electrical cords and wires, putting markers and other toxic but tempting office supplies away in drawers, and removing plants, rugs and breakables. Once you think your workspace's completely resistant to canine-related havoc, lie on the floor and look around once more to get a dog's-eye view. Did you miss anything?
But I Feel Fine, Mom!
Please make sure your doggie's vaccinations are up to date before he does the 9-to-5 with you—if not, you could be putting him and other pooches at risk. If he's just recovering from an illness or surgery, or if you think he may not be feeling well, let him take a “sick day” at home. (And of course, if you ever think Scooby's ill, please call your vet right away.)
Brush up on your etiquette basics a few days before heading into the office. Go over Sit, Stay and Come, and you should be off to a great start. Please note, if your little furry one still hasn't quite gotten the hang of the whole manners thing, you may want to hold off on bringing her into the office until she's honed her skills. Face it—constant barking and jumping up on your colleagues can be a bit distracting in a business meeting—no matter how cute she is! For more, check out our training tips in the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center online.
In Perfect Harmony
Talk to your colleagues and cube-mates before the big day. Are they scared of dogs? Do they have allergies? We know dogs are cute and cuddly, but alas, they aren't for everyone. Even if a coworker isn't frightened, she may not want your pooch's sloppy kisses either. Consider bringing a baby gate and fashioning a makeshift playpen or ex-pento keep your dog away from those who aren't fond of the fur kind. Be considerate of others, study some urban etiquette, and your pooch will be the Emily Post of the four-legged set!
Your doggy daypack should include food, treats, bowls, a leash, and paper towels and pet-odor remover to clean up any accidents. Bring the dog bed, blanket or towel she likes to lounge on and her favorite chew toys to keep her occupied. Also, think about whether your job will require you to be away from your pup at any point; you may wish to bring an ex-pen or baby gate to cordon off your doggie area. And as always, make sure your four-legged intern is wearing a sturdy collar with an ID tag.
On the Road
If you drive to work, be sure to secure your dog in a safe, comfortable manner. Buckle her up in a doggy seatbelt or car safety seat like the ones shown here. If you commute via mass transit, you'll probably be required to transport Fido in a carrier that can be fully closed (get the straight dope from your transit operator). A lightweight, collapsible carrier like the one from our ASPCA Collection is perfect for this task. It can also pull double-duty as a safe hangout/hideout for your pup if things get hectic at the office.
Expect the Unexpected
Even a well-behaved, usually docile pooch can feel threatened in new environments, especially around unfamiliar dogs. Assume you don't know your dog's personality, and just to be safe, expect unpredictable behavior. If you know your pooch doesn't love other dogs, consider leaving him at home or keep him close to your desk and away from coworkers' canine companions. Save the socializing for after hours on his home turf! You may also wish to consider bringing your dog in for half-days for the first week or so. This will ease him into your schedule and greatly ease any anxiety or stress he may have—and help build a positive association with the workplace.
Take Out the Trash!
Most dogs can't resist the delectable smell of that wilting sandwich lingering in your coworker's trash can. Aside from making a mess and spoiling his appetite, your dog's naughty behavior could lead to a more serious problem if he eats something potentially toxic. According to the ASPCA's Dr. Steven Hansen, your neighbor's trash could be the site of harmful foods, or it could harbor bacteria that result in painful bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. Distract your roaming Rover from others' garbage, and keep your own can clean for a healthy day.
Break it Down
The key to a hard day's work is, of course, the ten-minute break. Plan your breathers around Fido's needs so you two can enjoy time-outs together. Who knows, maybe you can get your other dog-owning colleagues to come along on a group walk. And plan to have lunch with your furry sidekick—are there outdoor restaurants nearby or a patch of grass where the two of you can relax over a sandwich and a chewie?
Home, Sweet Home
Time to clock out! The perfect way to relax after a tough day's work? We recommend a good grooming session. Read our helpful tips for some ideas for keeping it fun for both you and Boo Boo. Plus, he'll be looking good for tomorrow, should you decide to give him a more permanent position!