We know that you LOVE your dog. We totally get it. Their furry faces are proven to relieve stress and their soft bellies offer an instant anti-depressant when they roll over and beg to be adored. Whether you’re DIYing some puppy toys or baking ’em custom cinnamon bun bites, you can celebrate your favorite fluff ball even more by bringing them to work on Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 26 (tomorrow!). But before you and Fido roll into your office, check out these tips from Sarah Fricke, a Colorado-based dog trainer. She shares some positive-reinforcement dog training tips to make your dog’s first day on the job the best.
1. Keep your pup with you. You don’t want to turn your office into an off-leash dog park when you and your co-workers’ dogs meet for the first time. Fricke says, “It’s best to keep your dog primarily with you,”just in case certain dogs don’t get along or don’t want to be social. “If other dogs in the office do want to say hi, allow them to greet briefly while on a loose leash and then call your dog away for a treat, then help them get settled at your desk or office.”
2. Prep before the big day. Fricke says, “It is important that your pup has his or her own space at your work. A bed or crate (fabric crates work great in these instances) can be helpful to distinguish your dog’s spot. You don’t want people stepping over and around your pup all day, so try to choose a spot that’s somewhat out of the way.” Fricke recommends giving your dog something to do while you’re working, so bring along their favorite chew toys or toys stuffed with food. Other must-have items: Fresh water, small training treats, a non-retractable leash, a comfortable collar or harness and potty pick-up bags.
3. Mind your pup’s manners. When delivery people or strangers arrive at the office, be prepared on how to handle Scruffy if he barks or leaps at new people. Fricke suggests using training treats to help keep your dog’s attention as people arrive. “Use your leash to keep your pup’s four feet on the floor. If clients or delivery people are open to it, you can have them hold treats and ask your dog to sit before the treat is given, helping your dog learn good manners with strangers.”
4. Puzzle them. If you’re in a long meeting and your dog gets restless, Fricke says, “Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your dog occupied.” For fun ideas to stuff chew or puzzle toys, Fricke loves these ASPCA-approved recipes.
5. Take regular breaks. Since your work environment will be new to your dog, Fido might not know that the conference room isn’t his personal toilet. Fricke advises that you take your dog out for frequent potty breaks, especially after they’ve had water or food, or after a lot of excitement. “Keeping your dog on a leash inside will help a lot so you can keep a close eye on him or her,” says Fricke. “Accidents do happen, so make sure there are appropriate cleaning supplies on hand.”
6. Watch for signs of distress. Fricke says, “If your dog isn’t used to being in new places, going to work for a full day can be tough. It may take a little while for your dog to settle in at your work. Whining, excessive panting, drooling and yawning can all be signs of stress.” If you see your pup exhibit any of these signs, take a short walk outside to give them a much-needed break. If he or she doesn’t calm down, it might be best to bring your dog home and introduce them to new situations in smaller doses.
7. Keep the peace. Dog fights can break out if different personalities are stuck in the same area. Keeping Fido on-leash near you is a good way to allow him or her to have their own personal space while being respectful of other dogs’ territories. “Barks, growls and snaps are a dog’s way of saying ‘Please back off,’ so take these warnings seriously so no one gets hurt. As a last resort, an air horn can be effective in breaking up a fight that has begun. Make sure to keep one on hand if dogs will be allowed to free play at your work,” says Fricke.
Are you bringing Fido to work on June 26? If so, what are your plans for making it a great work day for both of you?