While there are numerous benefits to having your favorite furry companion alongside you as you work, there are also some challenges to overcome if you bring your dog to the office with you. How you and your company address these challenges can make the difference between a successful Take Your Dog to Work Day event and a disastrous one.
1. Coworkers who are allergic to dogs
What do you do if you want to take your lovely lab to work with you but you have coworkers who are allergic to dogs? My daughter is allergic to dogs, but she's done well with a more hypoallergenic breed, a miniature schnauzer.
Not everyone owns an allergy-friendly breed, though. Your best bet is to make sure your pooch is freshly bathed and keep him out of your coworker’s area. At the end of the day, make sure you or the office's janitorial staff thoroughly cleans all areas that your dog visited.
2. Coworkers who are afraid of dogs
When I was a child, I had a traumatic experience with a small pack of neighborhood dogs. I was in second grade, and the group of dogs chased me up a steep driveway to my grandmother's house. I wasn't old enough to realize that they were chasing me because I was running, but it was enough of a scary encounter to give me a good fear of dogs for years.
Although I've gotten over my fear, not everyone who has had a traumatic dog experience has gotten over it. If you have a coworker who is afraid of dogs, make sure you keep your pet away from him for the entire day. Also, never leave your dog unattended. The last thing a fearful coworker needs is an encounter with an unaccompanied dog, no matter how friendly the dog is.
3. Your dog doesn't like your office
You have your dog ready to go on a little trip; you are excited about the day and can't wait to show off your four-legged best friend, but when you show up at work, he tucks his tails and refuses to walk into the building. Even the most outgoing and adventurous dog may decide that he doesn’t like the office.
The last thing you want is a fearful and needy dog at work with you — it isn't good for your dog and it isn't good for your productivity. If you can take your dog to the office before the official Take Your Dog to Work Day for a test run, do it. If not, bring a favorite toy and maybe even his dog bed. A little bit of home may be all that he needs to feel comfortable at your office.
4. Potty accidents in the office
Dogs have potty accidents, and even the most well trained pooch may have an oops in a new place. As his owner, you need to keep an eye on your dog, and if he's giving off any of his 'I have to go potty' queues, then you need to get outside pronto. Another way to prevent an office accident is to be proactive and take your dog outside more often than you normally would. While an accident may not be a big deal to you, it can be alarming to someone who doesn't own pets.
5. Distractions for you and coworkers
Let's face it, a cute dog in the office is going to be a distraction; both to those who love dogs and those who wish Take Your Dog to Work Day didn’t exist. Do what you can to minimize distractions to both yourself and your coworkers. Taking a 3-month-old puppy to work might not be the brightest idea, but a well-trained 6-month-old puppy might be fine.