Thinking of taking your dog to work? Check out these “must-do’s before you leave the house:
Items to Bring
- Recognize that this can be a stressful experience for your dog. It is a new environment, which in itself can cause apprehension. Bring along his dog pillow or blanket so has something familiar to comfort him.
- Bring a leash to walk your dog from the car to the office. The leash will also help you control him in the office.
- Bring food or treats and a water bowl so your pup can stay well hydrated.
- Help your dog pass the time by bringing along dog puzzle toys, such as the KONG®.
Situations to Avoid
- Don’t leave your dog alone with other dogs. If you must leave for a meeting, isolate your dog in a closed office or have a dog-familiar friend sit in until you return.
- Other dogs might not be as well behaved as your dog. Watch for any signs of dog aggressiveness, such as growling, staring, and stiff body posture. Diffuse potential conflict by removing your dog from the area.
- Don’t try to force unfamiliar dogs to “become friends.”
- Check with your supervisor to get an okay to leave work early if your dog can’t handle the new environment. If he becomes too stressed, overexcited or inhibited, it’s best to just take him home. Do not opt to leave him in your vehicle while you continue to work.
Stopping a Dog Fight
- Obviously, the best solution is to avoid bad situations altogether by closely monitoring dog interaction.
- If a dog scuffle occurs, don’t lunge in and try to break it up by hand (you could get bitten accidentally). Use your dog’s blanket to throw over the heads of the fighting dogs. This will confuse the combatants long enough for you to defuse the situation.
Keys to Providing Good Leadership
According to Edwards, preparing for a safe and successful “Take Your Dog to Work Day” includes making sure that your dog accepts you as his leader.
- Dogs crave good leadership. If they don’t get it from their owner, they’ll take charge. That leads to bad behaviors, such as barking, jumping, aggression and pulling on the leash-each examples of the dog taking charge. Dogs will challenge for leadership in the home (and in the office), just as a wolf in the wild will do. The dog owner needs to win all challenges to demonstrate good leadership.
- Establish a clear leadership role with your dog before the office field trip. One way to do this is to ignore all requests from the dog, such as nudges to be petted or to play. Ignore him by breaking eye contact and turning away from him. When he has “given up” trying to get your attention, call him back to you to be petted or to play. When he responds to your requests and actions, versus you responding to his, he sees you as the leader.
- If your dog misbehaves, correct his behavior with a forceful, low-toned growl (“BAH!”), which is a form of communication that your dog can understand. As soon as he stops, offer pleasant, high-toned praise. He will understand his mistake and respect you as his leader.
- In the wild, the leader physically leads the pack. Establish your leadership by always leading your dog- up and down stairs, through doorways, and especially on walks. Remember, the leader always leads. This establishes you as “top dog” and gains your dog’s respect.