Petiquette: Dogs at Work

February 26th, 2007 by Alexis

A growing number of workplaces now allow employees to bring their dogs to work. Some companies allow dogs in once a year, once a month or on Fridays. There are also the truly privileged that are able to bring in their canine companions every day.

No matter how often you are permitted to bring your dog with you, you must know your company’s policy inside and out. It would be disappointing if your and your coworkers’ pets-at-work privilege was revoked because you unknowingly did not follow policy. It can be a bit uncomfortable when a coworker is doing (or not doing) something that may jeopardize your pet privilege. As tempting as it may be, do not just print a copy of your company’s policy and anonymously leave it on your coworker’s desk. It is not too difficult to find way into conversation about how satisfying it is that your company gives you such an awesome perk. From there you can easily transition into your plans to review the details of the pets at work policy and invite your coworkers to join you during lunch.

Remember, not all people appreciate pets, ask first before you allow your dog to greet a coworker. Always ask a dog’s person before you give her a treat. In any situation, when in doubt, ask first. You must be respectful of everyone’s space and things, dog lovers or not. Do not let your dog become a distraction for you or your coworkers. If you begin to have too many visits from coworkers, consider posting visiting hours or a sign you can change from “Visitors Welcome!” to “We’re Working, Please Come Bark Later”.

If your workplace does not have a policy, ask your human resources contact if you may draft a policy and present it to him or her to consider. Survey your coworkers and find others that would be interested in helping create the policy draft. More heads working together to anticipate problems and resolutions for those problems, will result in a stronger document that will have a greater likelihood of being approved. Do some homework. Find other offices that have pets at work policies. Ask the office manager how their policy works and see if s/he will share positive and not-so positive experiences with you. Include in your policy: vaccination or titer requirements, general health requirements, designated walking area, cleaning up after a pet inside and outside, cleaning supplies allowed on company flooring, fights, containment and anything else your group decides should be spelled out. When you present your policy, answer the question “Why is this policy important for our employer and what do they get out of this?” The answer will help get your employer’s buy in.

By having a set of ground rules, everyone in the building will know what to expect and all can experience the joy of having dogs at the office.

One Response to “Petiquette: Dogs at Work”

  1. Mary Says:

    Thanks for the great tips on how to handle coworkers who abuse the pets at work policy. I love the idea of having an open discussion over lunch and the no visitors sign.

    At my past two jobs, we have had dogs at work. At the first job, the “policy” was almost non-existant. Basically, the owner’s dog could do anything – beg, steal, bark at you, etc. At my current job, the dogs are much more social and well behaved. I’m a dog lover at all times, but having clear rules makes the environment much more enjoyable for everyone. Thanks again for the tips!

Leave a Reply