As more companies embrace the benefits of canine companions in the workplace, you may be given the opportunity to bring your pooch to work. Dogs who are obedient, well-behaved and social clearly are the best candidates, while boisterous, noisy, excitable dogs are apt to be liabilities. You must be the first judge of whether your pal would do well in your workplace.
If you’re one of the thousands of dog lovers who wish they could bring their best friend to work, there’s good news: A preliminary study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management indicates that employees who bring their pets to work or have access to other people’s pets at work, are more productive workers and end their work days less stressed. Another study, conducted by researchers at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, found that having a dog in the work place enhances collaboration among workers. Across the country, businesses large and small are opening their doors to companion dogs.
If you are fortunate enough to bring Fido to the office with you, expect to abide by a few simple ground rules. Generally, he must be on a leash or behind a doggy gate at all times. He will not be allowed in public spaces such as bathrooms or the break room, and of course he must be house broken. When you take your dog out for a potty break, you will need to clean up after him properly. Yappers, whiners and nippers are not welcome. Your pet will need to be current on his vaccinations, flea-free, clean and well-groomed. Finally, he must play well with others.
In a 2007 article for "Stress Busting," vet Desiree Mitton, who works with the annual “Take a Dog to Work Day,” recommends golden retrievers, greyhounds, Dalmatians, Yorkshire terriers, beagles and Shelties as dogs that tend to do well in the office environment. Breeds that have a proven track record in public settings also include those that are routinely used as assistance dogs, police dogs and therapy dogs. Among these are German shepherd dogs, Labrador retrievers, Belgian malinois, border collies and Rottweilers. Placid, small-to-medium-sized dogs such as pugs, bulldogs, basset hounds and dachshunds generally do well. Toy breeds and hypoallergenic dogs can be a good choice, provided they are not too high-energy or noisy. Individual temperament is far more important than breed when it comes to choosing a dog to take to work.
Some dogs simply are not suited to the work environment. Dogs who growl, are hyperactive, or do not mind well should be left at home. Dogs who shed excessively, drool profusely, or have smelly coats no matter how often they are bathed, also should be left at home. Emotionally needy dogs who whine or bark every time you are out of their sight can be very annoying to your co-workers. Some breeds, such as pit bulls and Dobermans, scare people no matter how well-behaved they are. It is important to consider the feelings of your co-workers and clients when you bring a dog into their space. No matter how much you love your dog, if he makes others uncomfortable, he should not come to work with you. The best way to find out if your dog suits the office environment is to give him a trial run. Just have a back-up plan for taking him back home if it doesn't work out.
- The International Journal of Workplace Health Management: Preliminary Investigation of Employee's Dog Presence on Stress and Organizational Perceptions: Randolph T. Barker, et. al: Vol 5 Iss: 1 pp. 15-30. (2012),
- The Economist: Manager's Best Friend - Dogs Improve Office Productivity
- Dog Friendly: Guidelines for Allowing Dogs in Your Workplace
- Stress Busting: Why Every Office Should Have a Dog
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