Don’t be surprised if you see some four-legged puppers in your workplace next Friday – it’s Pet Sitter International’s Take Your Dog to Work Day®! Initiated 20 years ago by Pet Sitter’s International to celebrate companion dogs and promote adoptions, Take Your Dog to Work Day® allows non-pet owners to witness the special bond that their co-workers have with their dogs. This may encourage them to adopt a furry friend of their own.
Studies have shown that dogs in the workplace reduces stress and increases job satisfaction and team cooperation. Having dogs in the workplace fosters relationships by allowing people to get to know one another by bonding over their pets. Bringing our dogs to work forces us to take breaks from our computer screens and get a breath of fresh air during “bathroom breaks” and exercise romps.
Before you pack your dog’s “day bag” for the office, be sure to get permission from your manager and company. Some people have allergies, and some are afraid of dogs. To ensure a pleasant experience for everyone, including your dog, be sure everyone is on board, and more importantly, make sure that your dog is ready to spend the day at the office.
If your dog has not been well-socialized, it probably isn’t a good idea to bring him to work with you. Work on these skills by introducing him to new people and dogs and maybe he’ll be ready next year!
If your dog is a social butterfly and loves meeting new people and dogs, he’s ready to hit the workforce! Make sure you pack a bag with all the essentials for the day, including a leash to keep him by your cubicle, his bed, food and water dishes, food, treats, a new toy, waste bags, and paper towels and an enzymatic cleaner (as a new and exciting environment can cause unexpected accidents, even in the most well-trained dogs). Consider packing a Kong filled with special treats to keep him occupied while you attend meetings.
Plan your day and don’t schedule important meetings with your top clients that day! Keep your dog on his normal schedule (or as normal as possible) to help him feel relaxed in a new and unfamiliar environment. Be respectful of your coworkers’ boundaries – some people have allergies or simply don’t like dogs. Avoid bringing your dog to the lunchroom or bathroom.
Just in case things don’t go as smoothly as you expect, have a back-up plan to get your dog home. Arrange to have a friend or neighbour pick your dog up if you are unable to leave the office.
If several employees are interested in bringing their dogs to the office, consider hosting a fundraiser for a local charity or shelter, offer a photo session for all participants, host a photo contest or fun noon-hour contests such as best trick, most friendly, or most talented dog. If you’re thinking of trying this in your office, but aren’t sure where to start or how to convince your company to participate, Pet Sitters International has a free toolkit on their website: https://www.petsit.com/toolkit which includes everything you need to get started!
Make sure you and your co-workers share all those fun moments on social media and use the hashtag #takeyourdogtoworkday!