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Take Your Dog To Work

Joan Hunter Mayer on June 21, 2012

Dear Inquisitive Readers,

My sidekick Poncho and I are fortunate enough to work together. Sharing our office, writing and educating others about the dog-human relationship is something we really enjoy.

We wanted to encourage others to share in the same experience, so we decided to devote this months Dear Inquisitive Canine article to the international event "Take Your Dog to Work Day" which takes place June 25th. This international pawliday was originally developed in 1999 by Pet Sitters International as a way to help promote pet shelter adoptions. Their intention was to show those who didn’t have a dog (or cat) how much joy a pet can bring, while encouraging folks to adopt from local rescues and shelters.

As a certified professional dog trainer I agree this is a wonderful way to share the love and joy a pet brings with others who may not be as fortunate. It’s also the perfect opportunity to encourage dog guardians to train, refine and show-off their dogs obedience skills. Our hope is that with dog owners taking a more active role in their dogs behavior in public places, our companion animals will in turn have more freedom to go more places.

Now that we’ve sparked your interest, you might be wondering "How do I go about participating?" Poncho and I both wanted to provide our opinion. You can find his dog training tips for when you take your dog to work on our website blog, while I furnish you with a general outline and suggestions to help you prepare for this exciting day.

Your Workplace Rules:

  • Are dogs allowed? You’ll first need to find out if your employer will allow you to bring your dog into your place of business. If yes, will your dog be allowed in all areas or will he or she be limited to one specific location? If you are the boss, will you be allowing others to bring their dogs? Are there specified rules about dogs being on the premises? Can the rules be changed? If the health department paid a visit, would you/the company be in trouble? As much as we love this event, we want people to play by the rules.
  • Co-workers: Are all employees comfortable with dogs being in their space?
  • Inside Environment: Is your workplace and/or office a dog-friendly environment? What will your dog be exposed to throughout the time he or she is there? New people, new sights, sounds, smells, chemicals and equipment? A completely different environment can make a dog anxious, especially if he or she has never been introduced to these conditions before.
  • Outside Environment: Is the area conducive to dog activities such as midday walks or a game of fetch? Will your dog have a convenient area to eliminate? Will you have a convenient location to dispose of your dogs waste?

Your Dog’s Office Etiquette:

  • What behaviors will your dog need to know? No matter the work environment your dog will most likely need to know the basics: sit (especially when greeting others), "Watch me" (good for gaining his or her attention when needed), down-stay (while you have to actually work), and loose-leash walking (while you walk to and from and throughout the office and during various midday outings).

If your dog is already savvy at his or her canine behaviors for the office, I still recommend you practice, especially in new settings. As a matter of fact if you can do a dress rehearsal in your own office for a few minutes, it’ll make it easier on your dog (and you) when you are there the entire day.

If your dog is new to these adventures not to worry, you still have time to practice. To make it a successful journey you’ll want to practice the basics I’ve mentioned above for at least 3-5 minutes about three times a day. As I say to my own dog training students, "Train the behavior before you need the behavior!" Just like fire and earthquake drills, you’ll want to have practiced behavior "drills" with your dog before the big day!

What if you’re retired, work at home or aren’t allowed to bring your dog to work but you would like to help promote dog rescue and shelter adoption? A few ideas that can help you enjoy this day too.

  • You’re retired or work at home: If you have a well-mannered dog whose skills you’d like to show off, ask friends and family if you can bring your pooch to their office for a "meet and greet". This is fun for you, your dog, as well as those you socialize with. It’s not called "pet therapy" for nothin’!
  • Dogs aren’t allowed in your workplace: Employee’s can bring photographs and/or video clips and share anecdotes of their dogs.
  • You don’t have a dog but you want to help promote shelter adoptions: Take a field-trip at lunch and visit your local animal shelter. You could find out more about volunteer programs, as well as adopting or fostering a dog of your own.

Whether your dog is already an employee of the month or still developing his or her good manners, it’s best to plan ahead! Developing a strategy to ensure success for you and your dog can not only help promote this event, but it just might enable you to bring your dog to work additional times. Sounds like the perfect situation to boost employee morale!

This event was created and is sponsored by Pet Sitters International. For additional information, and to register your office, check out their Take Your Dog to Work website.

Dear Inquisitive Canine is written by Joan Mayer and her trusty sidekick, Poncho the dog. Joan is a certified professional dog trainer and dog behavior coach. Poncho is a 10-pound mutt who knows a lot about canine and human behavior. Their column is known for its simple, commonsense approach to dog training and behavior, as well as its entertaining insight into implementing proven techniques that reward both owner and dog.

Joan is also the founder of the Inquisitive Canine and developer of the Out of the Box Dog Training Game, where her love-of-dog training approach highlights the importance of understanding canine behavior. If you or your dog have questions about behavior, training or life with each other, please email them directly.Ask The Inquisitive Canine is written by Joan Mayer and her trusty sidekick Poncho. Joan is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Dog Behavior Counselor. Poncho is a ten pound mutt that knows a lot. Their column is known for its simple common sense approach to dog training and behavior, as well as its entertaining insight into implementing proven techniques that reward both owner and dog.

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