As a manager of a pet store, bringing in one’s pets was not only condoned, but also encouraged. Having a well-mannered parrot or canine sitting quietly beside me while I worked increased the likelihood that customers would see the benefits of having a pet, and increased their confidence in my ability to steer them in the right direction. In general, taking my dog to work was a wonderful experience. Having my co-workers’ dogs at work was a wonderful experience. However, there are some things that I saw that led me to believe that sometimes it’s not a good idea to take a dog to work.
Many companies have policies, which may not be specifically stated, that disallow dogs or pets of any sort at the work place. Before you determine to bring your dog to work, check with your supervisor to assure that it is permissible. Some work places are simply not conducive to pets, for a variety of reasons. If your supervisor is amenable to an experimental period with the dog, it may still not be a good idea in your situation. Here are some reasons why bringing a dog to work is not a good idea.
Dogs are, at base, pretty low-key animals, but they can be a bit like having a perpetual toddler. They cannot understand when their owners are busy or unavailable. When they want something, they do not hesitate to ask for whatever it is. Needy dogs can cause a disruption at work, whether you work at an office or in a retail shop. Although customers were soothed and comforted by how well behaved my dog was, it caused a great disruption if she needed to go for a walk or needed water while I was conversing with a customer.
There is also the difficulty of where to place the animal. In an office where you have a door to close, you can simply shut your dog into your office. If you have a particularly well-mannered dog, you can expect that he will stay by your side. Other situations may prove more difficult. In the pet store, we allowed a single dog visiting to have free roam of the shop. If more than one person brought a dog, or if there were other pets, we would have to place the dogs in a crate or tie the leash to something. Both left the dog feeling tied up and was not a vast improvement over staying at home, so, whenever possible, we would attempt not to bring more than one pet per day for the staff.
We had a dog that was prone to nipping when upset. This posed a particular risk, and was not advisable. After we determined that the dog might nip, we ceased bringing her to the shop. This was to avoid lawsuits and also to provide full attention to customers.
Another potential issue with bringing a dog to work is if the dog tends to vocalize when excited or upset. One of our dogs is a poor candidate for bringing to work because she likes to bark. Even if you work in a place where the noise would not bother others unduly, such as a pet shop, the attention that needs to be paid to such a dog is extraordinary. In order to get anything done, the dog needs to be the sort of dog who will stay silent if he is to be brought to work.
Dogs with a lot of energy also should not be brought to work, unless they can be trained to contain that energy until it can be released in a productive manner. No work place is safe with a galloping dog underfoot, regardless of the nature of the work place. Although I have never personally had a dog that was so energetic as to cause problems in the work place, I have had co-workers who have brought such dogs. These dogs are unpleasant to be around in the work place because they expect a lot of attention and can cause accidents to happen.
Dogs can be a great benefit to many work places, but can also cause a great deal of trouble. Think carefully before deciding if it is something you wish to pursue.