Taking your dog to work, part two

Follow My Lead columnist Cristina Losapio continues her discussion of the right way to bring your dog to the office.

In an office remember not all people are dog lovers, because they may have had a bad experience with an overexcited or aggressive dog. So help set all your co workers up for success by creating a calm state of mind with your dog. That will help build the confidence of the co-workers who have had dog-related trauma. Practice at home with family visiting your mock office space. 

Entering the office for the first time with your dog will set the tone. Curious, calm and peaceful are what I would be looking for in my dog. I would not nurture overexcitement or tense energy. The leash is a helpful tool, because it is an extension of you and you can also show your dog what you want by using the leash to navigate. Walk around the office letting your dog build confidence using his nose to take in the office. Make your way to your desk. It would be helpful to have the bed set up beforehand so you are not overwhelmed. When you do have people arrive at your desk or office, instead of having co-workers touch and talk to your dog, wait for your dog to feel comfortable, smelling first and, if your dog is calm and relaxed soliciting for attention, give your co-worker direction on what is OK. The more you practice, the more confident you will feel and the more comfortable your dog will feel. Throughout the day, pick times to go on walks outside. Connect with your breath, be present, not on your phone, but instead listening to your body. It’s a great break to recenter and ground yourself. When you return to the office, bring that calm energy to your desk and repeat the walk as needed throughout the day. 

Some thoughts: 

Half-days with your dog to start may be best.

To start I may have one dog visit the office at a time for a day and then build on that.

• Speak to your veterinarian making sure titer tests (antibody blood test that can tell you if a previous vaccine is still protecting your dog’s immune system) and vaccines are up to date.

Instead of having all the dogs coming in on one day, pick the dogs that vibe best together and have a few dogs come in on one day with the other group coming in on the next dog day.

I would not have high value bones like marrow bones, bully sticks, deer antlers, or raw hides laying around. 

Work with your co-workers and be understanding. You are not just looking out for your own dog, you are looking out for all dogs that come to the office. Blaming others does no good and is not constructive. 

Have poop bags and extra leashes available.

If for some reason you have to feed your dog at the office, make sure not to have other dogs hovering around. I may even go out to the car and then do a walk after. 

Create a little bio to send out to co-workers so everyone knows something about your dog and any allergies.

Bring a towel in case of rain. 

If your have an office kitchen, keep it clean and have lids on garbage pails. 

Keep all chemicals and bait traps concealed and out of dogs’ reach.

Make a cute sign for the door to the main office, maybe even with pictures of the office dogs, so people are aware that dogs are at the office and that the main door needs to remain shut.

If you are going to use treats, reward a calm, relaxed state of mind, not an overexcited, pushy state of mind.

Wear appropriate walking shoes when taking your dog outside.

Have a dog drawer of cleaning supplies available.

Know the closest emergency veterinary hospital just in case.

Consistency, patience and follow- through are essential to the foundation of success with our dogs and will help them to be the best version of themselves and help us be the best version of ourselves. 

Doing a little today, nothing tomorrow and trying to make up for it the next day doesn’t show consistency. Yelling, getting frustrated or angry at your dog will only show your dog that you are weak and short-fused, so right there you’re not showing patience. Without consistency and patience, you have no follow-through. 

Our dogs teach us about ourselves. They bring to the surface our shortcomings and help us grow if we listen. When we listen, we will be able to have open communication in any situation life throws at us. So follow my lead and enjoy the journey. It may get bumpy but you will be ready for it.

For more, contact Cristina at Trail Dog Inc., 914-755-1153.

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