Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Miss your dog while you're at work? Here's the solution!

This Friday, 20 June, is international Take Your Dog to Work day.

There are several studies that prove the benefits of having a pet at work: they lower cortisol levels and raise productivity, and one study even found that that employees are more trusting and collaborative when a dog is present during group meetings. Plus, you'll have to take regular breaks from your computer screen (no excuses when your dog needs to go for a walk) so you'll get some extra exercise and fresh air.

To prepare for the big day:
  • Ensure your dog is identified (microchipped) and up-to-date with their vaccinations.
  • Dogs should be well socialised with other dogs and people and should not exhibit biting behaviour.
  • Dogs should be trained using reward-based positive reinforcement.
  • Check with your office to see if bringing your dog to work is appropriate and will not affect the health and welfare of your fellow co-workers. 
And when Friday comes:
  • Bring your pet’s favourite blanket, bed, food and water bowl and some toys with them so they feel comfortable in the new environment. 
  • Dogs should stay at your desk, or the desk of another designated responsible person. Don't let them wander off unattended (the kitchen may be especially tempting to some dogs). 
  • When you arrive in the morning, let your dog have some free time to meet any other dogs and say hello to your co-workers.
  • Set aside time for toilet breaks and to take your dog for a good walk or walks throughout the day. Reward your dog when it toilets in the right spot.
  • Clean up after your dog! Don't get upset if your dog does toilet in the office - simply clean the area thoroughly with a non-ammonia based cleaning product (found at your local vet clinic or pet supplies store) to take away the scent and reduce the likelihood of the dog using the same spot again. 
  • Ensure your dog and their belongings do not become trip hazards in the office.
  • Reward your dog’s calm behaviour in the office. Rewarding calm behaviour reinforces calmness and makes the dog more likely to behave in this way again in the future.
  • Have fun! Remember: it's all about being happier in the workplace.

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