As the world begins to reopen, our lives are heading back towards what we once called normal. With increasing vaccination rates, we’re hearing about restaurants reopening, vacations returning, and more. The remote workforce is starting to change, too.
Many organizations are reopening their doors, welcoming workers back to the office. Some are nervous about this change, while others are worried about the change to their lifestyle after a year at home.
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Dog owners are especially concerned about how returning to the office will change their life, particularly the well-being of their dog. A year at home might have made our dogs too comfortable. They’re used to us being around every day, giving them the attention they want — even while we work.
To avoid sudden separation anxiety, you should consider bringing your dog into the office. But will your office allow it? And how will you ensure your dog is comfortable? From giving them a safe place to relax and healthy dog chews to enjoy, you can keep them calm and cozy while you work.
Train Your Dog Beforehand
You should take the time to train your dog before bringing them to the office, even if it’s a dog-friendly environment. The most basic issue your dog can cause in the office is annoyance, including:
- Jumping on coworkers
- Bothering coworkers who don’t want to be bothered
- Running around
- Digging in garbage cans
This can bother other coworkers and the general flow of the workday. But things can become more dangerous if your dog becomes aggressive, whether with a coworker or another coworker’s dog.
Train out bad behaviors before you take them into the office. This includes commands like:
- Come and here
The best thing you can do is put them in similar situations before bringing them into the office and then teaching them that they should avoid bad behaviors. Did you make food and they keep jumping to get it? Make sure you nip that in the bud, teaching them to stay down and stop begging.
Find that they’re whining when you’re not paying attention to them while working? Tell them to stop and reward their behavior once they learn to remain calm. After enough time, you can give them bully sticks to enjoy on their own while you work so they can have something to bide their time.
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Make Sure Your Workplace Is Comfortable and Safe
Just like you might bring in pictures and personal effects to spruce up your workspace, you can gather a few items that will help your dog feel more at home, too.
Bring in a comfy dog bed so they can zonk out while you finish that big project. Gather up toys and a few of their favorite items that smell like home. And, of course, bring lots of treats to reward their good behaviors, which could be as simple as sitting quietly by your side.
Office dangers throughout the building include:
- Garbage cans: The scent of garbage can get your dog’s attention, and the items found inside the cans can prove dangerous to your dog — from potentially harmful food to choking hazards.
- Paper shredders: Often stored on office floors, paper shredders are a serious danger, whether to your dog’s tongue, tail, or ears.
- Regular office supplies: If your dog likes sniffing around and grabbing things off counters, they might get hold of a stapler, pen, pencil, notebook, or sticky notes, which can all be harmful if they end up trying to eat them.
- Coworkers items: A dog that gets into a coworker’s purse can end up digging through items that can be harmful to their health — and your coworker is bound to be upset if their purse or bag is ripped apart.
- Cords: Chewing on open electrical cords is a serious danger, as they can cause electrical shocks and burns which can lead to immediate and future medical issues.
Prep Your Dog for the Day
Along with training, you’ll want to make sure you can get your dog ready for their first day at the office. This includes some of the following:
Prepare your dog for the commute.
Get your dog used to riding in the car or taking the train if it’s not a common occurrence for them. This can be as simple as taking regular day trips to get them prepped for the morning-of commute.
Make sure you bring along all their goodies.
Don’t forget their favorite toy at home, and don’t lose it during your commute. Bring along all your dog’s essentials to ensure they’re comfortable while you’re working.
Introduce them to your coworkers.
Make sure to introduce your dog to your coworkers once you get to the office. This will ensure they get to know their faces, and it will work to get the majority of their energy out from the start of the day. Keep treats and dog chews nearby to reward them for their good behavior upon meeting the others in your office.
Knowing Your Dog Isn’t Comfortable
You should also be aware of when your dog is uncomfortable in the office. These warning signs show that your dog is not enjoying their time at the office, and could be sign enough to take your dog home.
- Their ears are pulled back, showing signs of anxiety
- Excessive scratching and licking of the limbs
- Whale eyes — where your dog won’t directly look at people — means they see others as potential threats
- Cowering under your desk
- Snarling at others
- Shaking throughout the day, meaning they’re trying to release stress
- Regular yawning, a clear sign of boredom
Ways to Help Your Dog Calm Down
If you can’t leave work just yet and your dog looks to be very uncomfortable, you should try to remove them from the office or provide a way that can calm them down. This can include:
- Taking them out for a walk to get out of the office and be outside alone
- Providing them with a healthy dog chew, only after they listen to your commands and calm down
- Putting them in their crate, if you brought it along, to give them personal space away from all other stimuli
Do what you can to bring your dog peace while at the office. If they seem to not enjoy the office, it might be a better idea to leave them with a dog sitter or at doggy daycare.