Dogs in the Workplace – Part 4

 

dog collage

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

So now comes the part where I am supposed to tell you about the Best Breeds for the Workplace.

Well….it’s not that easy (nothing ever is).  Before you take your dog to the office, you should sit down and make a brutally honest list of your dog’s behaviors and idiosyncrasies.  You will have to consider not only what your dog will tolerate, but what your coworkers will tolerate as well.  If you have a friendly old bulldog who can fall asleep anywhere and not wake up until feeding time, that’s a good candidate for the office.  If you have a super-smart and energetic Jack Russell who is capable of doing this, you might not want to leave him cooped up in an office while you are in a four-hour planning meeting.

These are some of the more undesirable traits for an office dog:

  • Territoriality  – you don’t want your dog running off everyone who steps over his invisible perimeter line.
  • Inside voice – you don’t want your dog to announce every distant footfall with endless minutes of shrill yapping.
  • Incontinence – nobody will thank you for a dog that marks every doorjamb in the building, or lifts his leg on the potted plants in the lobby.

These are some of the behaviors that will make a dog a good candidate for the office:

  • Sociability – a dog that can greet just about everyone with equanimity is always going to be an office favorite.
  • Resilience – if your dog can adapt quickly to noises, intrusions, and a parade of different people without getting anxious or fearful, you’ve got a winner.
  • Quiet, calm behavior – if you have a dog that doesn’t mind being crated or tethered as long as she has a kong or a favorite toy with her, your own work day will be much less anxiety-filled.

Let’s look at some of the dogs that we have had in our office over the years:

  • Whisper (senior collie) – she’s calm and relatively sociable, without being demanding. She will bark when she sees strangers in the hallway, but she won’t refuse entry. When she’s had enough, she’ll go into another office and take a nap.
  • Mimsy (senior collie) – she’s calm and very sociable, without being pushy. She’ll wander the room and check things out, and has no problem with climbing onto the sofa and sharing space with a stranger.
  • Sitka (senior Newfie/Malamute) – he’s calm, friendly, and doesn’t mind complete strangers fawning all over him.  When he’s had enough socializing, he’ll sack out in another room.
  • Mo (Leonberger puppy) – Mo, in addition to being the fastest-growing puppy in the world, is also the most work when she’s in the office. She needs frequent potty breaks (and we have to clean up after her immediately if she potties on the floor) and a fair amount of space management (crating, tethering, and baby-gating). And, because she’s a puppy, she is responsible for more loss in productivity than any of the other dogs just because she is so stinkin’ cute. The upside of all of the attention is that she is already well-socialized and easy to handle, which is setting her up to be a great pet and successful adult dog.
  • Eddie (adult pit bull/Rhodesian Ridgeback) – the best word to describe Eddie is aloof. He isn’t very sociable and tends to take exception to stranger dogs and people in the office. Even with people he knows, he isn’t super-friendly. Because his temperament is more unpredictable, we have to be pretty strict about his space management, both around people and other dogs. (We eventually decided that bringing him to the office wasn’t the best thing for him, so now he stays home.)
  • Murray (adult King Charles Cavalier Spaniel/Bichon Frise – aka Cavachon) – he’s not as nap-prone as Whisper, Mimsy, and Sitka, but he is extremely friendly and curious.  He’s also a smaller dog, and because of his size his more enthusiastic greetings don’t become problematic. 
  • Hobo (adult Yorkie-Pom) – he’s polite to strangers and overall fairly calm and non-reactive. However, he doesn’t have a 100% success record with potty training, so he requires more management and clean-up. (Read more about Hobo’s heritage here.)

Follow us on Instagram at @dogs_of_fetchfind to see more pups in the office and around town!

No matter which dogs are in the office, all of the humans are always alert to the need for management or intervention. We can put dogs behind closed doors or into crates if necessary, and run them out for a walk if a situation starts to get out of hand. We also have a daily schedule of which dogs will be in the office, so that we know in advance what to expect (and who to leave at home).

What you can see from the list of some of our “resident” dogs is that there is no one breed that is necessarily more suitable to an office setting than another.  It all depends on the type of office, the tolerance of your co-workers, and how your dog is likely to handle the ever-changing stimuli.  And just remember – if you’re ever in doubt about whether or not your dog will be able to handle the office, it’s probably better to leave him at home.

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Read the rest of the series – Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

 

 

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