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Dog-friendly offices

We have a new managing director who loves dogs and allows staff to bring their dogs to work on Fridays. However, I am not sure that taking my girl into the office would be a good idea. What if she doesn’t like one of my colleagues, or they don’t like her? Or if she doesn’t like one of the other dogs? How can I decide, apart from just taking her in and finding out the hard way?

Sue Gilmore advises...

You are right to take a balanced approach to what may or may not be a nice idea. It does, of course, depend upon the temperament of your dog, her level of training, whether she’s been well socialised throughout her life, and your relationship with her. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Does she generally enjoy the company of people and other dogs?
  • Can she relax in a busy environment, including being approached and fussed while she is resting?
  • Has anyone at work got an allergy to dogs, or is afraid of them? It would be wise to ask your colleagues first before  finding out when you and your dog arrive at work. Some dogs like women better than men, while some people may not like small dogs, or feel apprehensive around larger dogs.
  • How would you react if your dog was slipped food on the quiet? People often think they’re befriending a dog by giving it a bit of cake or biscuit, but we all know human food is not necessarily good for our dogs and can cause problems.
  • Think about the safety of the premises from a dog’s point of view. Is there a busy road close by, or are there vehicles turning in a yard? If your dog got loose and bolted out of the office door, is there a gate to stop her, or can you rely on her to stay still until you reach her?
  • Think about what your dog will do if you have to attend a meeting and she is left without you for a lengthy period. Can you trust her to be calm with other members of staff in your absence?
  • Don’t forget the journey to and from work. Unless you live within walking distance of the office, you’re likely to need to travel by car or public transport. Will your dog be safe? Can you guarantee she won’t ever be left in the car on her own?

Using a crate may be an answer to some of the above, but calm, well-socialised dogs generally settle fairly easily into new environments and a different routine. From my own experience, it certainly brightens my day to see my dog relaxing contentedly while I get on with work!

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