Ways to make the fête fun for you, your four-legged friends and your co-workers!
Is Fido ready for his field trip?
This year’s annual Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWDay) is happening Friday, June 22. The first TYDTWDay was established in 1999, to give people the chance to celebrate how wonderful dogs are as companions, and to also promote adoption. Not everyone is able to bring their pup to work, so for those that can, it’s a chance to enjoy the company of your dog at your workplace.
However, it’s not just as simple as putting your pal on a leash. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure everyone enjoys the day, especially if it’s your dog’s first time heading to the office.
Leading up to the day:
Know your dog’s behaviours and be realistic. If your dog doesn’t like interacting with a lot of other people (or a lot of other dogs), it might not be a good idea to bring them to work. The last thing you want to do is subject your dog to a situation in which they’re not comfortable. If you must leave them at home the day of, you can celebrate after your shift in other ways: extra playtime at the park, a yummy treat, or an extended belly rubbing session. If your dog can get along with people and other animals, then you should be good to go.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. If they’re not, it’s best to keep them at home until you’ve had the chance to do so.
Know what your workplace’s policies are. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your canine companion can make an office appearance, ask your supervisor or manager. If your dog also has a particular schedule for feeding or relief breaks, it may be best to let your boss or co-workers know ahead of time that you be deviating from your usual plans to ensure your pet’s needs are met. If your dog tends to be an escape artist and run for the door, it may also be helpful to let reception know to send you an email when doors are propped open for long periods of time. However, if you’re able to maintain control of your dog, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Take the time to make sure your office is a safe space for your pet. Permanent markers, correction tape and pens and pencils make terrible dog toys – make sure none of those are on the floor. Ensure the space is tidy, and that wires and cords aren’t in their way. Some plants can also be hazardous. Figure out the best spot for a comfy blanket or doggie bed, if you need to bring it.
Get a doggie kit ready. Bring some familiar things with you: food, bowls for water and food, toys, treats, a leash, paper towels, clean-up bags, pet safe disinfectant, a doggie bed or blanket, and perhaps even a baby gate to make sure they stay in your office.
The day of:
Don’t force interactions. Your dog may be in a new space with a lot of new smells and things for them to process, which may spur anxiety. If a co-worker stops by, don’t be shy to be upfront with them about how your pet should be approached. For instance, offer them a treat to give to your pet if that works best as an ice breaker. On the other side of the coin, there may be people who are scared of dogs or would prefer not to interact with them – and that’s okay, too.
Check in with your pet. They’re likely grateful to be seeing you a little more than usual. Give yourself small breaks to make sure they’re eating, getting the chance to walk around outside – and of course, a potty break when needed.
Have an exit strategy. Make arrangements in case your dog isn’t comfortable being at your workplace, whether that’s taking them home early or having someone ready to pick them up.