The interwebs are full of gorgeous pictures of dogs in offices, dogs waiting for the tube, dogs negotiating busy London streets.
What could be more fun? Well, I guess having the day off to spend with your dog in the sun could be more fun but, assuming that’s not possible, there’s a lot of joy to be found in bringing your dog to the office right? Well yes. And no.
Some dogs LOVE new experiences. They LOVE people. They LOVE dogs. They will happily spend today trawling the office begging to share your colleague’s tasty BLT and have a whale of a time checking out the nearest park at lunchtime. These are the extroverts of the dog world: they thrive on company of any kind, they’re the life and soul of any (human or doggie) party. They will spend the weekend dreaming of going to Glastonbury because 80,000 people = 80,000 chances of getting stroked! One. Big. Dog-friendly. Party.
You totally know if I just described your dog. But maybe your pooch is more of what Chris Guillebeau so aptly describes as a “highly sensitive person”. Kind of quiet? A “typical” introvert: happy enough at home, okay in small groups of familiar people (and dogs), but immediately overwhelmed by crowds? Should you really be bringing your home-loving hound out into the big wide world?
Hey, it’s your dog, it’s your call. But as with everything dog-wise, a little preparation can make things go a lot smoother for everyone. If your dog’s not used to take the underground, don’t introduce the experience on a humid summer Friday at rush hour! Maybe consider taking a cab today, then intro your dog slowly to the tube, making short journeys at quiet times with some tasty treats (such as these from Lily’s Kitchen). Walking to work? Awesome, but try and use quiet streets at less busy times. A stressed commuter charging towards you – head down – eyes locked on their iphone – is unlikely to even see you, let alone notice your poor pooch 3 or 4 feet nearer the ground. Travelling by bus? Great. Just don’t allow other “dog-loving” commuters to overwhelm your dog with bucket-loads of unwanted attention. It’s ok to say no if your dog doesn’t like being petted by strangers. You don’t put up with people invading your personal space on public transport, so why should your dog?
When you get to the office, ensure your dog has a quiet corner to chill (under your desk is good), with a comfy bed, a water bowl, and some yummy Billy and Margot chews or a stuffed Kong to keep him or her occupied while you go about your business. If there are other dogs in the office, make sure they are all behaving respectfully with each other: to avoid things getting as fraught as a toddlers’ playgroup, you could even bring some extra boredom-busting supplies for your co-workers’ 4-legged friends (and share this post with them too!).
So yes, bring your dog to work. We know dogs are a great social catalyst and stress-buster. Your health will benefit from you getting up from your desk a few extra times and heading outside for those all-important doggie-bathroom breaks. Just do some advance planning to make sure your dog enjoys it too.
And have a great day. Because spending time with your dog is fun!