Want a dog-friendly workplace? Consider these tips when hiring an office dog
Working alongside my human parents and co-workers has been a dream for me. I’m so lucky to come into work every morning and do what I do best – advocate for other office dogs, research and write about dog-related topics, and well, nap of course! When I post my #WorkingDogWednesday interviews every week, it’s so nice to highlight all of the other office dogs who are making big strides for our species. Just think, not too long ago, no humans would even hire an office dog. Now, we’re in high demand.
Are you considering making your office a dog-friendly haven where humans and canines can work collectively? There’s a lot you need to consider before bringing an office dog into your workspace. I’ve read through some old office dog interviews and teamed up with my human coworkers to give you a list of things you should consider before hiring an office dog at your company.
1. Get your staff on board with the idea
It’s not fair to your human co-workers if a dog shows up unannounced at new-hire training. Even if you are the top dog in the office (get the joke?), be courteous to your employees and ask for opinions about working with a canine. Remember, some of your employees might have a severe dog allergy or be fearful of dogs. If that situation arises in your office, do not fire the humans just to get your way. I repeat. Do not fire the humans.
If you have an allergic employee, you could hire a hypoallergenic dog like me. If you have a human who is afraid of dogs, be respectful of that employee’s boundaries. If you still plan on hiring an office dog, make sure they are kept in a separate workspace from the fearful employee and never force an introduction between the two.
2. Make sure you hire the ideal candidate
Do you love your cuddly, yet ferocious dog and can’t wait to bring him into the office? Hold up. This might not be a good idea.
Dogs with behavioral issues should never be hired for an office position, unless you’re hiring for a security guard. Do your research before onboarding an office dog, especially if you expect them to work in the company for the long haul.
Make sure they have all the qualifications you’d want in a canine co-worker. Ideally you’ll be looking for a playful pup who is still respectful of your office atmosphere. That means no barking and yelping while you’re on the phone with clients, though the occasional lap around the office (workplace wellness!) is okay.
Another thing to consider when hiring an office dog is vaccinations. Make sure your pet is up-to-date with all required shots and isn’t coming to work with any illness. Be sure to train the new hire on office etiquette before the first day. Go over all commands they may have learned in obedience school like sit, stay, heel, and come.
3. Dog-proof your space before the office dog’s first day
All workspaces are different, but I’m sure there’s something in your space that you wouldn’t want a dog to rummage through. Do you have loose electrical wires around desks? Tape them dog so your new office dog doesn’t think their a toy.
What about open trash cans? I hate to bring this point up, but I’m always getting into trouble at the BuzzFarmers office for rummaging through their open trashcans. In my defense, they haven’t learned to get rid of them or move them to high ground yet, so why should I stop snooping? Consider getting closed trashcans so your office dog isn’t tempted to look for any tasty treats.
Be sure to make sure there is nothing toxic to animals in the space. Remember, some plants are toxic, as well as any office cleaners, or even items like highlighters and pens could make your dog ill. Block off any area you don’t want your pet to have access to.
4. Remember to make your space pet-friendly
Before I even begin, yes, there is a difference between dog-proofing your workplace and making it pet-friendly.
Adjusting to a working life is a big transition for pups, so do your best to make us feel comfortable. We don’t all enjoy sitting on those uncomfortable rolling seats you humans like to use. Can you bring in a dog bed, or better yet, allow us on the office couch? Nap time is very important in office dog culture, and a comfortable place to rest our heads is necessary.
How about bringing in some toys to the office? It might be best to leave squeaky toys at home, but we’d all like to play a little during break time.
Oh, and most importantly, don’t forget about the food! We take lunch just like you do! If your office dog has a feeding schedule that happens off-hours, don’t forget to pack some treats for the office. We’ll get jealous if we see you
5. Set expectations and stick with them
This rule goes for both humans and canines. Expectations should be set from day one and followed through on at all times. That’s the only way all species will be able to get their work done.
If your office dog is only allowed access to one area of the workspace, never allow a human co-worker to let your office dog into a different area. If puppies aren’t allowed in client meetings, don’t allow them to force their way in with cuteness. If your office dog isn’t allowed to eat human food, be sure no “caring” human sneaks food their way.
The same goes for work output. If you’re considering hiring an office dog, don’t expect us to work eight-hour days without some break time. An office dog should be allowed to sleep for at least half of his shift. If he doesn’t need the full time to rest, he can use it to supervise the humans. The rest of the time should be dedicated solely to working. There should be no goofing off in the office unless it’s break time!
Have you every hired an office dog? Do you have any specific questions on on-boarding a working dog? Let me know in the comments!
Side note: Do you run a business in the pet industry? Would you like to drive more traffic and sales to your site through a search-optimized pet blog? Get in touch with my office-mates at Lantern Content Marketing!