You see it on tv. You hear your friends are doing it. Your company now allows it, but is your dog ready to go to work with you?
The checklist created by TYDTWD is designed to help you determine if your dog is ready for the workplace and provides tips on how to work with your dog toward the goal of “workplace readiness.”
Does your dog enjoy meeting new people and visiting new places?
At a minimum, your dog should find meeting strangers to be a pleasant activity. If your dog shows any shyness with new people, you will need to work on developing positive associations with strangers. Consider using the help of a qualified professional dog trainer or such as Acme Canine.
Your dog may meet other dogs and possibly even other types of pets when they are visiting your workplace. Has your dog had experience with other dogs and pets and have those been positive? If your dog has shown any aggression or fear around other animals, consult with a trained professional to learn how to work with these issues. Dogs with aggression issues should not be brought to work and a dog that displays aggressive behaviors once at work should be taken home.
Does your dog walk well on leash?
Your dog will most likely be required to walk through small spaces, along hallways and around furniture and equipment; so it’s important that your dog walk well on leash. If your dog pulls and tends to go in the opposite direction from you, it’s time to work on your leash-walking behaviors before going to the office!
Can your dog handle walking up and down stairs and entering and exiting elevators?
If your workplace has elevators and stairs, can your dog master these obstacles? Some dogs can be wary of elevators due to the noise. Stairs may also be difficult for dogs based on their physical requirements.
Can your dog sit and wait politely to enter and exit doorways?
Sitting and waiting to enter and exit areas of an office, building or store is an important skill – particularly if the area is crowded with people. You’ll want to practice “sits” and the wait and/or stay behaviors with your dog in various types of entrances and exits to be sure the behavior is solid.
Is your dog comfortable riding in the car?
While many dogs love riding around in the car, some can be very stressed out by this activity. If your dog does not enjoy car rides, consider creating a positive association by taking him on short trips around the neighborhood.
Will your dog sit politely and greet new people without jumping up?
A dog that jumps up on people will likely not be a welcome addition to a busy workplace, particularly if your dog jumps up on an office mate and muddies their fancy office dress or three-piece suit. Your dog should be able to sit politely and wait to be petted and greeted by strangers and keep all four paws on the ground.
If your dog will be with you throughout the work day, you will probably need him to settle down at some point while you work. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, you can bring a fold-up travel crate with you to place your dog in while you are busy. Or you can lay a bed or mat down and have your dog lie down and stay on the mat. If your dog has trouble settling down and staying, you can work on this behavior at home and outdoors with increasing distractions. Providing your dog with items to chew or play with can assist as well.
Can your dog leave things alone when asked?
Offices can contain a lot of tasty and tempting objects for a dog’s mouth such as waste baskets full of snacks and the remains of a co-worker’s lunch. Does your dog know a “leave it” cue to stay away from forbidden objects, and if your dog takes something in his mouth, can you get him to easily release it? These are important behaviors for your dog to know and can keep him from ingesting things that are potentially hazardous.
The above checklist is provided as suggested guidelines for assessing your dog’s readiness to visit your workplace. For successful participation, at a minimum, your dog should know the following cues/behaviors:
- Walking politely on leash
- Giving up items when asked
- Leave it
- Coming when called
- Wait or settle
Remember, you know your dog best. If, after reviewing this checklist, you feel your dog could benefit from additional assistance with these behaviors, consider working with a qualified dog trainer specifically designed to help teach dogs the life skills they need to have greater access to our lives outside our homes.
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