If you hear barks in your office this Friday, you may not be imagining things. Businesses around the globe will open their doors to employees' four-legged best friends for the 21st celebration of Pet Sitters International's (PSI) Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD). To ensure a peaceful, productive day of human and canine camaraderie, PSI offers the following tips to ensure a successful office visit:
1. Do an office check. No one will mind your dog being in the office, right? Well, maybe. Check with management and co-workers to see if anyone is allergic to, afraid of, or opposed to you bringing your dog to work on this special day. Be respectful of those you work with and plan an alternate celebration if necessary.
2. Puppy-proof your work space. If you plan to work with your dog, make sure that your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants, hide electrical cords and wires, and secure toxic items such as correction fluid and permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of paw’s reach.
3. Make sure Fido is fit for work. Even dogs don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Be sure your dog’s shots are current. Make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before s/he accompanies you to work.
Be mindful of your dog’s “work-readiness.” You know your dog’s demeanor, so if he is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave him at home. Consider how your dog has behaved in the past around strangers and other dogs before making the decision to bring him to work. If your dog has shown fear, irritability, or aggression, or if your dog has never met strangers, the workplace is not the best setting. If bringing your dog to the office is a goal, work with a trainer in a class or private setting until your dog is ready. Instead of inviting an ill-prepared dog to work, consider bringing a favorite picture of your pooch.
4. Prepare a doggie bag. Include food, treats, bowls, toys, a leash, paper towels, clean-up bags, and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are in and out of your workspace routinely, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind.
5. Plan your pet’s feeding times carefully. During an important sales call is probably not the best time for a puppy potty break. Plan your dog’s feeding time around your work schedule and be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.
6. Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Dog-lovers will make themselves known. Sally from accounting and Joe in human resources may not want to play fetch or offer belly rubs, so be mindful of fellow employees’ time and space. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is given by your co-workers. Remember that chocolate, candy, and other people food should not be shared with dogs; non-dog owners may not be aware that these items can be very toxic to your pooch.
7. Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy TYDTWD, your pet may not. If your dog becomes overly boisterous, agitated, or withdrawn, consider taking him or her home. Or, plan in advance for your professional pet sitter to offer a midday check-in visit. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work.