Meet Griffin, a dog with a job. As Head of Canine Communications at Proctor and Gamble, Griffin’s days are spent attending boardroom meetings, visiting schools and representing his brand (which conveniently includes Iams dog food) the best he can. Griffin also has a number of canine co-workers in his office in Boston, as Proctor and Gamble’s pet care division is one of a growing number of pet friendly workplaces.
Griffin’s busy schedule includes encouraging other companies to allow dogs in the office, and it is now estimated that one in five workplaces in America now allow pets. The benefits are clear, as some of the biggest brands on the planet allow pets, proving that their presence can breed success. Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon and Build-a-Bear Workshop all allow pets in their head office, and all have reputations for being some of the best companies in the world to work for.
There are numerous benefits to taking your dogs (or in some cases cats) to work, confirmed by a recent study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. Looking at a small sample of 75 employees, whose stress levels of workers were monitored throughout the day, the study compared those who worked with a company that allowed dogs in the office, and those who didn’t. Workers who shared their desk with a dog had low levels of stress throughout the day, whereas those with no interaction with animals had their levels rise steadily throughout the day.
Help With Stress?
Stress leads to low morale and lost hours due to overwhelmed and sick workers. The presence of dogs can relax workers and increase productivity. Having a dog around also encourages employees to take a break from their work to have a quick play or pet, which helps recharge the batteries and make sure work levels are consistent throughout the day.
Pets also help co-workers get along, as dogs relax people and make them more approachable and easier to talk to. They act as a true ‘ice breaker’ in the workplace, and if someone is having a bad day, it’s always great to see the happy face and wagging tail of an affectionate canine.
Pet owners are usually nervous and stressed about leaving their sweethearts at home, so taking your pet to work can reduce that anxiety, and spread happiness throughout the office. Workers who don’t own any pets are able to share in the joy of a canine’s company.
Taking pets to work is also a great thing for the pet itself. Being inside an empty house all day is a less than ideal environment for dogs, who need plenty of exercise and attention. Being around people all day in a work place means dogs will quickly feel at ease and (hopefully) will even improve their behaviour!
Turning a workplace into a pet friendly zone requires a bit of effort, and there are some stumbling blocks. The decision needs plenty of thought and consideration, particularly if you have any co-workers with allergies or a fear of dogs, who may struggle in a workplace packed with pooches.
Convincing The Boss
Purina, the dog food company, has started a scheme to encourage more workplaces to take their pets to work, and their website includes tips on how to encourage the boss and co-workers to make the leap. Preparation is relatively fuss free and easy, dogs will need to be kept in certain areas, and there should be plenty of sanitation equipment and plastic bags on had just in case there are any accidents! Dogs should also be fully vaccinated and introduced to other pets in the office gently (such as meeting outside the office for a little play) to get rid of any territorial issues.
Cats are a more difficult pet to approach, as they usually enjoy staying at home and sitting on top of warm laptops and unknowingly deleting all your work while having a nap. But feline interaction is also proven to reduce stress levels, as shown by the cat cafe craze that started in Tokyo and is spreading across Europe. These cafes are filled with office workers on their lunch break taking a break by having a coffee and playing with cats. There are plans to open one in London, much to the joy of workers in the capital.
Having pets in the workplace is a growing trend, and is here to stay. If you work with lots of pet lovers, introduce the idea at your next meeting and see if the presence of dogs can lead to productivity and success in your workplace!
Vicky works alongside http://www.hrprotected.co.uk/, a supplier of HR documents for employers. She has experience managing a HR department and is also an animal lover to boot!
As a parent, you know that your kids need to interact with other children so they receive the social development they need. This is why you set up play dates or enroll your child in school or activities.
Your dog also needs to learn how to interact with other animals, which is why it’s always a good idea to allow your dog to attend some doggy play dates or playgroups every now and then. Not only will your dog get the exercise he or she needs, but he or she will also have fun learning to play with other dogs.
As with any interaction, there are certain rules and general guidelines you should follow to ensure that the play date is successful. The following are common dos and don’ts for your doggy’s next play date.
Do: Have your dog current on his shots.
When your dog is playing with other dogs, it’s common that some roughhousing may occur, and your dog may become scratched or scratch the other dog. This is why it’s extremely important to be sure your dog is up to date on his shots and has all necessary vaccinations. If the other dog were to have a disease or illness, your dog would be covered from catching the disease or illness himself if their playing goes a little too far. Plus, since your dog will be spending time near the other animal, having them vaccinated and up to date on other shots will keep them from catching fleas or heartworm.
Don’t: Forget the water and treats.
Make sure that you bring plenty of water and treats for your dog (and the other dog) during the play date. Dogs will be spending a lot of time playing and running around, and they can become easily dehydrated if it’s hot. Make sure your dog and the other dog have plenty of water to consume on their date.
You will also want to make sure you have treats. This is a great way to get both dogs to listen to you during the play date, and it can be a great way to distract them if they start to misbehave.
Do: Give them room to play.
Doggy play dates are always more successful when there is ample room to play. Try to schedule the play date when the weather is nice so the dogs can be outside running through a yard, dog park or open field. When dogs are cooped up inside your home, their roughhousing may result in damaged furniture or injury to the dogs. If the weather is not cooperating, make sure you designate a large indoor area for the dogs to play that doesn’t have anything that could be damaged or cause injury.
Don’t: Ignore the dogs.
While you may use the play date as a chance to catch up with your friend or learn more about a new individual, it’s still important that you keep an eye on the dogs. It’s always possible that their playing may become too intense, which could result in injury to one (or both) of the dogs. Always make sure to pay close attention to the dogs and intervene if their play turns to aggression.
Danielle Nottingham is a vet tech and writer at DogTrainingCollars.com who loves to write about proper pet etiquette for dog owners who are new on the scene.