You are still at work on a Friday afternoon, when this pops up on your computer screen:
Memo to all employees:
June 22 to 26 is Take Your Pet to Work Week. We believe having your pet at work will have many potential benefits, and we encourage you, our valued employee, to join us in celebrating this special week by bringing your pet to the office.
You start to daydream.
It’s Monday morning, and you are putting the finishing touches on your work outfit. Your dog, Duke, is sitting in the bedroom doorway. “Are you ready to come to work with me, Duke?” Duke looks at you with wide, bright eyes, tongue hanging out, as if to say “I’m ready!” You get into the car with your excited pup, you fasten his seat belt, and your own, and you drive to work.
When you arrive, Duke quickly jumps out of your car, ready for his day at the office. He is on-leash, and he walks calmly into the building, and to your cubicle. He visits your coworkers and their pets throughout the day, always on his best behavior, and making little noise. Duke got along well with all the other employees’ dogs, and actually saved the day twice—he prevented a pile of full manilla folders from falling on the floor, and pushed an office chair closer to someone trying to sit down, who would have fallen on the floor. At the end of Pet Week, Duke was chosen Canine Employee of the Week, and given a new toy as his prize.
You shake yourself awake, and think, “Take Your Pet to Work Week is going to be great.”
Someone has since replied to the memo: “Anyone planning to bring their pet to work—remember what happened last year, and keep your pets under control.”
That person may sound like a party pooper, but they are right—some pets do well in a work environment, but some do not. If your pet has never accompanied you to work, here are some rules for Bring Your Pet to Work Week, to set up you and your pet for success.
#1: Interview your pet
Of course, you don’t have to exactly interview your pet, but you should evaluate their personality traits, to determine if they would do well in an office environment. Dogs who likely will make good office companions are social with humans and other pets, and do not bark excessively. Dogs who become aggressive or fearful around other people or animals, have loud, piercing barks, or who bark a lot, should probably stay at home.
Cats generally prefer a low-stress existence, and may become extremely fearful, anxious, or stressed in an unfamiliar office environment, with unfamiliar people and dogs. Unless your cat is confident, loves most humans and other pets, and can adjust to a new environment quickly and easily, taking a cat to work may not be a good idea.
#2: Be familiar with the company policy on pets in the office
If you have determined that your pet can handle your work environment, go ahead and request the ground rules, such as:
- How are pets expected to behave?
- How should they interact with your coworkers and other pets?
- Are pets allowed to be off-leash and roaming, or on-leash only?
- What if two pets fight?
- What if your coworker cannot get any work done, because someone’s pet is soliciting too much attention?
Everyone should agree on the rules, so everyone knows exactly what to do in a given situation.
#3: Supervise pet-to-pet interactions
When you first bring your pet to work, keep them on-leash, and pay attention to how they react to each person and pet they meet. Reward your pet for every positive interaction. Do not punish them if they become scared or aggressive—instead, redirect their attention. If your pet becomes a distraction, creates mischief, or gets into altercations with your coworkers, or other pets in the office, you should reconsider allowing them in your work space.
#4: Ensure pets have a safe zone
Pets may like socializing with your coworkers and the other pets, but they also need an area where they can get away and be alone. A crate with a dog bed and treats inside works well. Keep the crate open, and praise your pet if they decide to indulge in some downtime. Once inside, leave your dog alone. Keep their space safe, quiet, and calm by not reaching in, petting, giving commands, or waking them.
But first—safety first
Before you ever get to the office, ensure your pet is safe in the car on the drive to work by putting them in a dog harness or a pet-specific seat belt. A seat belt for humans does not work for dogs, and no restraint at all is dangerous.
Pets in the workplace can relieve stress, break tension, and generally keep employees happier. As long as your pet is healthy, and current on their preventive medications, you can take your pet to work with confidence. If your pet interacts well with your coworkers and their pets at work, then you are ready for a week of fun.
If you have any questions, or want to ensure your pet is on all appropriate preventive medications for in-office interactions, please give us a call, to set up an appointment with our team.