Dogs as office buddies have been shown to reduce workers' stress -- provided the dogs are well-behaved. When asking whether a dog is right for an office environment, the pup's unique personality and level of training mean a whole lot more than breed. Even so, some breeds tend be more naturally suited to an office environment. Read on to find out more.
Breeds with Good Track Records in Offices
In a 2007 article for "Stress Busting," vet Desiree Mitton, who works with the annual “Take a Dog to Work Day,” names golden retrievers, greyhounds, Dalmatians, Yorkshire terriers, beagles and Shelties as dogs that tend to do well in the office environment. Breeds that have a proven track record in public settings also include those that are routinely used as assistance dogs, police dogs and therapy dogs. Among these are German shepherd dogs, Labrador retrievers, Belgian malinois, border collies and Rottweilers. Placid, small-to-medium-sized dogs such as pugs, bulldogs, basset hounds and dachshunds generally do well. Toy breeds and hypoallergenic dogs can be a good choice, provided they are not too high-energy or noisy. Individual temperament is far more important than breed when it comes to choosing a dog to take to work.
Dogs Not Suited for the Workplace
Some dogs simply do not have the right temperament and personality traits to be suitable office companions. Dogs who growl, are hyperactive, or do not mind well are best left at home. Dogs who shed excessively, drool profusely, or have smelly coats no matter how often they are bathed, may also not be welcome by your employer. Emotionally needy dogs who whine or bark every time you are out of their sight can be very annoying to your co-workers. Some breeds, such as pit bulls and Dobermans, unfortunately scare people no matter how well-behaved they are. It is important to consider the feelings of your co-workers and clients when you bring a dog into their space. No matter how much you love your dog, if he makes others uncomfortable, he should not come to work with you. The best way to find out if your dog suits the office environment is to give him a trial run. Just have a back-up plan for taking him back home if it doesn't work out.
If you are fortunate enough to bring Fido to the office with you, expect to abide by a few simple ground rules. Generally, he must be on a leash or behind a doggy gate at all times. He will not be allowed in public spaces such as bathrooms or the break room, and of course he must be housebroken. When you take your dog out for a potty break, you will need to clean up after him properly. Yappers, whiners and nippers are not welcome. Your pet will need to be current on his vaccinations, flea-free, clean and well-groomed. Finally, he must play well with others.
Benefits of Pets in the Workplace
If you’re one of the thousands of dog lovers who wish they could bring their best friend to work, there’s good news: A preliminary study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management indicates that employees who bring their pets to work or have access to other people’s pets at work, are more productive workers and end their workdays less stressed. Another study, conducted by researchers at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, found that having a dog in the workplace enhances collaboration among workers. Across the country, businesses large and small are opening their doors to companion dogs.
By Jenny Newberry
Preliminary Investigation of Employee's Dog Presence on Stress and Organizational Perceptions
The Economist: Manager's Best Friend - Dogs Improve Office Productivity
Dog Friendly: Guidelines for Allowing Dogs in Your Workplace
Stress Busting: Why Every Office Should Have a Dog
About the Author
Jenny Newberry, a former teacher with 25 years of experience, is a professional writer and photographer and holds a B.S. and a M.Ed. in elementary and special education from the University of South Alabama. She is also a history buff, praise and worship pianist, pet enthusiast, avid crafter and hobby gardener.