Celebrating National Take Your Dog to Work Day!!

Tomorrow must surely be one of the happiest days of the year for many dogs.  Instead of being left at home all day while their owners are away at work, many dogs across America will get to join their owners and have a really interesting day at work with them!

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Over the years as a dog trainer, I’ve been asked to specifically help train dogs who will be in someone’s workplace, and I love training assignments like those!  Work environments are as unique as the dogs I train, so it’s always fun for me to help create a training program to tackle the issues facing those specific situations.

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I once helped train a little Corgi mix for someone who owned and operated a music store here in town.  That dog’s favorite thing to do all day was follow customers around and mug for attention!  He spent his days laying right in front of the door, so he got first dibs on anyone who came in the door….because he just knew those people all wanted to admire him!

Another dog I trained, a black German Shepherd, goes to work every day in a most unusual way!  His owner rides a Harley, and has a side car for his dog….who wears Doggles to protect his eyes from flying bugs or debris that might potentially blind him!  His Doggles are black and have flames up the sides!

Apparently at least one law firm in East Tennessee has a practice of allowing all of their employees to bring their dogs to work every day! They have a fenced, grassy area behind their building where the dogs can romp and play or the dogs can wander into their owner’s offices to hang out.  The dog I trained was a bit territorial about her mom’s office, and sometimes didn’t like other partners or paralegals coming into her space!

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I’m happily seeing a trend that includes more and more dogs into mainstream life….whether it’s outside restaurants and bars, or dog friendly stores and businesses which allow dogs inside, or allow their employees to bring their dogs with them every day.  So many cities are going to the dogs, and frankly, I’m loving it!

Here are some simple things to consider if you would like to have your dog out and about with you at your workplace or in a dog friendly business.  Many people think that their dogs will never be able to learn how to behave well enough for that to happen, but I say, “Don’t sell yourself and your dog short!”  I love being able to walk into local dog friendly businesses with clients and their dogs during a lesson.  Owners are always amazed at how well their dogs do, and I’m right there to help them navigate any challenges that present themselves.

  • Realize that bringing your dog into a dog friendly business is a privilege and not a right!  Businesses don’t have to allow any animals that aren’t service animals, so if you find a business that is dog friendly for pets, be sure you realize what a privilege it is for you to be there!
  • Be sure your dog is housebroken!!  That seems silly to mention, but please don’t take your dog into a dog friendly business if your dog isn’t absolutely reliable with housebreaking!  This would also include marking!  Be sure you and your dog respect the physical environment of the business you are visiting!
  • Basic obedience training is a MUST if you want to take your dog with you.  He needs to be calmly under control!
  • Be sure your dog doesn’t jump up on people.  Teach your dog some simple skills to greet people politely so that the store doesn’t get complaints about you and your dog!
  • Ideally, your dog should be able to ignore most surroundings.  Looking is always a good thing, but you don’t want your dog pulling to greet people or pulling to sniff something that looks interesting to him.  He should be able to “Leave it” and keep moving or “Leave it” and stop to sit with you if you ask him to do so.
  • He should be able to calmly hang out while his owner is chatting briefly with other people, and also allow strangers to pet him briefly without getting all ramped up with excitement.
  • If you want to enjoy an outside restaurant or bar, teach your dog to go to a placemat and stay there while you are relaxing.  The placemat can go anywhere with you, and it’s a wonderful tool to have when you’re going to be in one place for an extended time.

If you’re interested in being able to bring your dog to work with you, this simple checklist of behaviors will also allow your employer to want to have your dog along for the day.  If you’re fortunate enough to be able to bring your dog to work tomorrow….have fun!!  I hope it’s a wonderful experience for both of you!

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