French Bulldog at the office

While a few lucky individuals get to regularly take their dogs to the office with them, most of us leave our pups at home or at a doggy day care while we’re working. But Take Your Dog to Work Day is your chance to pack up your pooch and show him where you spend your week. The holiday began in 1999 as the brainchild of Pet Sitters International — and has grown from about 300 participating companies its first year to the thousands that now open their doors to pets.

Before you and Fido head for your cubicle, take a few minutes to prepare for his visit. Only well-behaved, relaxed canines should be brought into the workplace; fearful or aggressive dogs are better left at home, as these problems can be exacerbated in high-distraction areas. Here are some tips to help your pooch fit in at work, whether this is a one-time visit or a daily occurrence.

Make Your Office Pet-Friendly for a Day

Establish some boundaries. Keep your pet in a gated area to prevent him from wandering off while you are working. If your dog is a particularly keen escape artist who would jump a portable fence, he may also need to be kept on a leash; however, the vast majority of dogs can safely be held in the gated area, especially if you are in the space with them. A closed-off space allows your dog to freely move about and access his water bowl, food and sleeping area without bothering your coworkers.

Create a comfy den area. Dogs like having a special place to curl up. If your dog is crate trained, set up his crate near your desk or work space to provide a safe place for him during the day. Put a plush bed inside the crate and a blanket over the top to make it even more peaceful and secluded. For a curious dog who likes to be up high, a blanket covering an office couch lets him observe the daily happenings around your office. But be cautious about allowing your dog to sit on shared office furniture; this works best if you have a couch or chair in your own space that he can rest on.

Pack chew toys and food puzzles. Dogs, just like humans, get bored sitting around without anything to do. Help your dog’s day go by faster by giving him productive chew toys and food puzzles. Rather than feeding your dog twice during the day, give him small amounts of kibble in a variety of food puzzles intermittently throughout the day to keep him entertained and to stave off hunger. Depending on your veterinarian’s recommendation, you can also offer productive chewies that promote prolonged chewing.

Take regular breaks during the day. Be sure to have your pet fully exercised before bringing him to your office. This will diminish extra energy and help him to settle down inside the building. Regular bathroom breaks will help maintain good potty habits — the fresh air and sunlight are also beneficial for both human and pet well-being. There’s nothing worse than stepping in a doggy mess, so be sure to clean up after your pet if he has an accident. You may want to invest in a doggy walking device, such as a head halter or a front clip harness, which will make it easier to control your dog when you are walking in a high-distraction area around multiple people.

These simple tips will make Take Your Dog to Work Day a success for the entire office. And if you’re really fortunate, your pooch’s good behavior may spark interest in turning your workplace into a dog-friendly office where pets are as welcome as people.

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