Office pet etiquette: Do's and don'ts when taking your dog to work

Do's and Don'ts When Taking Your Dog to Work from Office pet etiquette: Do's and don'ts when taking your dog to work

Office pet etiquette: Do's and don'ts when taking your dog to work

Do's and Don'ts When Taking Your Dog to Work

Do's and Don'ts When Taking Your Dog to Work

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Whether it's national Take Your Dog to Work Day or your workplace is starting to allow canine companions in the office on a regular basis, there are some things to consider before bringing your pup to work with you. 

Besides making sure your dog gets along with other pets and your co-workers, you have to do some work around your desk, to your schedule and to your supplies to make sure your four-legged friend is comfortable hanging out with you at work.

Here are 19 tips to make sure your four-legged friend is comfortable hanging out with you at work.

Do: Be sure your dog gets along with strangers

Do: Be sure your dog gets along with strangers

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Before jumping at the chance to bring Max or Fido to your workplace, consider whether your dog is receptive to other dogs, strangers and new environments. Socialize them on walks or at the dog park or even by introducing them to new people at home before dropping them in the middle of an office with an open floor plan.

Don't: Bring a scared or anxious dog into the office

Don't: Bring a scared or anxious dog into the office

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Bringing an agitated animal into an unknown environment is a recipe for disaster. If you know your dog is shy and gets overwhelmed by new people or becomes frantic or defensive in strange surroundings, its best to leave them at home.

Do: Check with your coworkers

Do: Check with your coworkers

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Even if your whole workplace is celebrating some type of Take Your Dog to Work Day or starting to allow canine companions in the office on a regular basis, it's vital to check with your nearby coworkers before bringing in your furry friend. Someone might be allergic, afraid of dogs or simply against you bringing your dog to work. Assuming everyone wants to work with your dog nearby could lead to conflict.

Don't: Bring a dirty dog to work

Don't: Bring a dirty dog to work

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No matter how casual your office is as far as human dress code, your pooch should be looking their best. Make sure your dog is groomed, bathed and is up-to-date on any vaccines.

Do: Clean up your desk space

Do: Clean up your desk space

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Errant food, plants, office supplies and electric cords could all be tempting for your dog to get into, so make sure and tidy up your desk space, especially anything potentially toxic or a choking hazard, so it's puppy-proof.

Don't: Force your dog on your coworkers

Don't: Force your dog on your coworkers

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When you bring your dog to work, let the folks who want to interact with your dog come to you. Don't invade the cubicle of someone who's being standoffish. They might not love dogs or simply have too much work to do to be distracted, so respect your coworkers' time and space.

Do: Bring supplies

Do: Bring supplies

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If you plan on having your dog with you at work all day, you'll need a "doggie bag" stocked with items such as bowls, food, treats, a leash and toys. It's also a good idea to include supplies to keep your work space clean in case of accidents, such as paper towels and pet-safe disinfectant.

Don't: Assume your coworkers know how to treat your dog

Don't: Assume your coworkers know how to treat your dog

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While many people are experienced with dogs, some of your coworkers might not know best practices for interacting with dogs. Feel free to put up a sign near where you pooch is posted stating how best to approach them, and make sure and monitor how much and what people are feeding your dog.

Do: Create a separate space for your dog

Do: Create a separate space for your dog

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If your dog is used to having their own space, they might not enjoy feeling confined to your office or cubicle or being subjected to constant foot traffic. Setting up a baby gate for your doorway or bringing a portable kennel, crate or bed can help four-legged friend rest and relax.

Do: Help your dog make friends

Do: Help your dog make friends

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Odds are your dog won't be the only pup on the premises, so it's important to ensure your dog doesn't get territorial and is comfortable with the other dogs in your workplace, especially since other dogs are the best way to keep your dog entertained while you're working. One way you can help facilitate this by having you and a coworkers swap toys or spaces to get comfortable sharing and smelling other dogs' scents.

Do: Feed your dog around your work schedule

Do: Feed your dog around your work schedule

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Your dog can go from workplace companion to saboteur if you don't plan mealtime right. Make sure and feed your dog long before or after things such as critical calls or meetings so that nature doesn't call when you're trying to close a deal.

Don't: Forget bathroom breaks

Don't: Forget bathroom breaks

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When you bring your dog to work, you should be taking more bathroom breaks with your pup than usual. According to The Daily Treat, this is the wisest way to prevent any accidents. With all the excitement of being in the office with you, they're probably drinking more water than usual as well as distracted or unsure what to do when nature calls.

Do: Put out plenty of water

Do: Put out plenty of water

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Giving your pup access to fresh, clean water is a must, especially since they can really work up a thirst in a stimulating new environment full of new friends and playmates.

Don't: Get too distracted

Don't: Get too distracted

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It's an adjustment to stay productive with the distraction of dogs in the office. You have to set boundaries or schedules for yourself to stay on task, especially while dogs are whining, barking and chewing on squeaky toys in the background. While it's tempting to give belly rubs all day, you're still at work to work.

Do: Have an exit strategy

Do: Have an exit strategy

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According to Pet Sitters International, one of the most important things to pre-plan is an exit strategy in case something goes wrong. If your pup gets sick or gets too worked up or aggressive, arrange another location to take them, such as a vet, doggie daycare or pet sitter, or a quick and easy way to get them back to your house.

Don't: Leave your dog alone

Don't: Leave your dog alone

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Remember that you are responsible for your dog and his or her actions, even if you're not paying attention or present. If you have to step away from your office or desk, ask a nearby colleague to look after your pup. Dogs can get anxious or stressed when they see their owners leave, especially in an environment they're less familiar with.

Do: Exercise your dog before work

Do: Exercise your dog before work

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A great way to guarantee your dog doesn't get restless during long stretches when you can't get away from your desk is to give your dog some exercise before work. Dog behaviorist Cesar Millan recommends a 30-minute walk or run in the morning before bringing your dog to work.

 

Do: Explore your transportation options

Do: Explore your transportation options

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When you first begin bringing your dog to work with you, you should travel via a method they're comfortable with, whether that's walking or in the car. But don't be afraid to branch out to buses, trains or other public transit, as long as your city's system allows animals on board. According to the Daily Treat, one way to make a public transit commute more comfortable for your pet is to carry them in a cozy carrier or bag.

Do: Create and follow a 'pet policy'

Do: Create and follow a 'pet policy'

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If your office is just starting to allow furry friends, it's crucial to establish ground rules for everyone's safety and peace of mind. While letting dogs in the workplace boosts employee morale and performances and decreases stress, according to The Balance Careers, there's also risk for damage, legal problems and issues among coworkers if a clear policy isn't in place. Your office should have an established norm for when and how dogs can come to the office and include guidelines for punishment for dogs that cause problems.