Take Your Dog to Work Day was first celebrated in 1999. It was an event created by Pet Sitters International (UK) to celebrate the companionship that dogs make in an owner’s life and to encourage people to adopt from local shelters. The event allows non-pet owners to see the special bond their co-workers have with their dog firsthand and be encouraged to adopt a dog of their own.
Many countries around the world are now taking part including Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Many employers incorporate a fundraising component, with proceeds from the event going towards a local shelter or rescue center.
Studies have shown that bringing dogs into the workplace can reduce workplace stress and increase job satisfaction and team cooperation. Having a dog in the workplace allows people to get to know one another by bonding over their pets. Also, having a pet at work creates breaks from work by forcing you to pull yourself away from your computer screen, and stretch your legs to take Fido out for a “bathroom break”.
While it may seem like a great idea to bring your dog to work, make sure that your dog is ready so that it is a pleasant experience for everyone, including your dog.
Tips to make sure that everyone enjoys Take Your Dog to Work Day:
Is your dog socialized?
Think about how your dog reacts when meeting new people or other dogs when you are out for walks or at the dog park. If you are usually able to take your dog anywhere and your dog loves meeting new people and new dogs, he should be fine at the office. If on the other hand, your dog does not do well meeting new people, new dogs, and has difficulty adjusting to new environments, you may want to rethink bringing him to the office. Work on these social skills and maybe your dog will be ready next year.
Is your dog house-trained?
If your dog still has “accidents”, especially when excited, you may want to reconsider bringing him into the office just yet, unless the floors are easily cleaned up, and you are willing to clean up any messes that do occur.
Is the office ready for dogs?
Dog-proof your office before you bring him in. Make sure you know where you can take your dog out to relieve himself and where you can dispose of his waste. Everyone in the office needs to be on-board with dogs coming into the office to ensure that no one has allergies or is opposed to having dogs there. Designate areas such as the kitchen as off limits and decide if dogs should be kept on a leash, or if your co-workers are comfortable with the dogs having free range.
Make sure you have all the essentials: food and water bowls, food, treats, a dog bed, a new toy, waste bags, paper towels, and disinfectant for any accidents that may happen.
Have a back-up plan.
Just in case things do not go as planned, have a back-up plan to get your dog back home. If you are unable to leave work, arrange to have someone available to pick up Fido.
If you are thinking of trying this in your office, but aren’t sure where to start or how to convince your boss to participate, Pet Sitters International has a free toolkit on their website: https://www.petsit.com/take-your-dog-to-work-day-toolkit. This toolkit includes everything you need to get started including step-by-step instructions for planning the event, tips for winning over your boss, examples of past participants, and samples of “dogs at work “policies.
With a little planning and dog preparation, Take your Dog to Work Day can be a fun and memorable event!