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Take Your Dog to Work Begins With Planning Ahead

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I am one lucky dog, for many reasons. One big reason is that I get to bring my mom, the Santa Barbara and Virtual dog trainer, to work with me every day! Yep. Where we work she is allowed to be here with me. It’s a shame you humans aren’t as fortunate as this inquisitive canine. When not working along side my mom, I get to spend time working on my Employee of the Month skills at my dad’s office. Lap-warming takes skills!

The good news is, the fourth Friday of June is national “Take Your Dog to Work Day” – mom will be bringing me to work with her. I also might head to the office with dad for part of the day.

I have found that this country is limited on locations where us dogs are allowed to go. Although I just had an awesome time traveling with mom and dad, it still seems there are lots of restrictions. I hope that if we can make this type of special occasion successful for everyone, then maybe it’ll turn into something even bigger! So let’s get ourselves prepared so us pooches can start going to more places!!!

There are a few points I’d like to address to ensure you have a successful time bringing your dog to work with you.

First: What can you expect from your dog?

Well, like you humans, dogs respond to novel situations much the same way. We might get really excited and want to greet anyone and everyone – person or dog. Or, we might become more uncertain and reserved, fearful, or “reactive” towards anything and everything.

If you’ve never taken your dog to work with you before, then the best thing would be aware of how your dog reacts to knew situations – including all the different people or conditions he or she may encounter.

Second: How can you make the experience a fun and positive one?

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is check to make sure your place of business is celebrating this special day. If so, praise your employer! If you can make it positive for everyone, he or she may invite your dog back!
  • Ask if you can bring your dog to do some “dress rehearsals” beforehand. Spending a few minutes meeting and greeting everyone, sniffing around the office, learning where the “potty room” is (outside in a specific area), getting to know the surroundings, practicing some appropriate behaviors such as sitting and waiting at doors, elevators, office entryways etc…can help make the actual day go much more smoothly. As my mom the certified professional dog trainer says “Don’t wait to need a behavior to train a behavior.” Plan ahead!
  • Have other humans give your dog treats for good behaviors. If your dog is comfortable around strangers, make sure he or she gets treats from these folks too. Provide positive reinforcing moments so your dog will associate the workplace and employees with fun and pleasant times.
  • Do not force your dog to like anyone. If your dog appears afraid (backing up, barking and backing up, not eating and not taking treats) then I would conclude he or she is being pushed too far. Allow your dog to set the pace on how quickly he or she wants to meet people.
  • Provide a comfortable place for your dog to “work.” Meaning, a dog bed or mat or crate specific for him or her to hang out. Either next to you or at least in the same office/area.
    Make sure your take your dog out for frequent potty breaks and fresh air. You may be able to sit at a computer for hours on end, but it’s not fair to put us dogs through it if we’re not used to it (unlike yours truly here who has to sit at the computer most of the day.)

Lastly: What are some dog training tips on how to prep your dog for office-appropriate behavior?

  • Determine what behaviors would be required for that specific office: meeting lots of new people? Remaining quiet? Lying down all day and having to be quiet? Running around? Driving around? Then whichever behaviors are going to be needed, begin teaching beforehand.
  • Know your dogs personality! Pay attention to how your dog is in new public places. What kind of work place is it? Cubicles or a ranch? Phones ringing all day or one other employee? If your dog has never been exposed to this specific workplace environment, the best thing to do is take your dog a few times beforehand  even if it’s just for a quick visit so he or she can get used to it.
  • Meet and greet appropriately: teach your dog to sit (or four paws on the floor) when meeting new people. You and the others can give treats for nice behaviors.
  • Down-stay on a mat/bed/crate: provide enrichment for the dog so he or she will have something to do while staying on his or her specific place all day. Bones, food stuffed toys, or whatever he or she likes. Sometimes a leash tethered to a desk is good, so your dog can’t just wander off while you’re on the phone. Of course, if you have to leave the room for any length of time, make sure you bring your dog with you or leave your dog with someone he or she is comfortable around.
  • Make arrangements with other staff members to take care of your dog if you need to leave, even for a few minutes. You’ll need to know that your dog will be comfortable around strangers, or another known person, if you have to leave your dog.

Thanks to all of you responsible loving dog guardians who take the time to enjoy your dog. I know mom and dad enjoy bringing me to their offices’ with them. Hmm, I wonder if mom would continue to work overtime for extra kisses? Something for this inquisitive canine to ponder.

Updated June 2022

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