Take Your Dog to Work Day is an initiative started by Pet Sitters International in 1999 as a way of celebrating what fantastic friends and colleagues dogs make. The goal of the initiative is to encourage adoptions from shelters and rescue centers. TYDTWDay is celebrated every year the first Friday after Father’s Day. Even Bo Obama was snapped taking part!
The concept behind Take Your Dog to Work Day is to inspire people to adopt by showing them how lovable your furry companion is. This message is made much more powerful because it’s so unusual to see a happy bouncy pooch during the daily grind.
To keep TYDTWDay a successful and thriving initiative, it’s important to be mindful and responsible when bringing your dog to work.
If this is your first TYDTWDay, or you’re working somewhere new since last year, here are some great tips to make sure you, your pooch, and your co-workers make the best of this exciting event.
Take Your Dog to Work Day: Building Awareness of Shelter Dogs
If the company you work for doesn't celebrate TYDTWDay, don't worry! It may take a little legwork, but you may be able to convince your employer that it is a worthwhile idea. After all, it is only one day each year and it's a great morale booster.
RELATED: How Dogs Help People: 5 Best Stories
In fact, many companies have found that their employees are happier and work production is increased when people are allowed to bring their dog to work. If you're considering bringing your pup to work on Take Your Dog to Work Day, there are a few things you'll need to consider.
Letting Everyone Know
After getting permission from your boss or the company, the next step is to let everyone know about Take Your Dog to Work Day in advance.
Send out some emails and encourage questions and discussion, and print out flyers or posters. If your workplace has a large community space like a cafeteria, put some posters up there too.
Make Sure the Premises are Pup Appropriate
Offices are often jokingly seen as pretty safe places to work, but your dog is going to see it in a whole new light. Dogs will see wires as chew toys, boxes and paperwork as wonderful rustling forts, and workplaces tend to have lots of stationery and other small bits and bobs around that your dog might want to gets his chops on.
All these things are going to be quite exciting from a doggy point of view. On the day before TYDTWDay, check around and remove any hazards. You can even get down on your hands and knees so you can check out what your pooch will see at his eye level – you might be surprised what having a new perspective can bring up.
Consult Your Co-workers
You’ll probably remember to check with your boss if it’s okay to bring your dog to work (or maybe it was their idea in the first place!), but make sure you also ask your co-workers. If this is the first time dogs will be in your workplace, you might not know that a colleague has a phobia or allergy, so make sure everyone’s on board.
You will also want to have a quick chat with your co-workers about boundaries and guidelines for your dog’s safety and well-being. For example, if your dog isn’t into roughhousing, let them know. Ask them to make sure any food is put away safely and request that they don’t feed your dog ‘people food’ or anything else he’s sensitive to.
It may even be a good idea to buy a bag of treats and give one to each of your colleagues so they have something appropriate to give your pooch. It’s just plain unavoidable that they will definitely want to spoil him!
RELATED: Review – Chloe's Dog Treats
If other co-workers will be bringing in their dogs too, it’s a good idea to get everyone participating together to discuss and set ground rules that all owners must adhere to. This way it will be fair for everyone involved – both two and four-legged. It might sound like a small thing, but discussing these details beforehand will make a huge difference in making sure every owner and their dogs really enjoy the day.
Boost the Message
If you work for a bigger company, check with human resources to see if you can hold a raffle, or put out donation boxes to raise some money for dogs in need (also check state laws on collection for charity).
See if your shelter sells things like calendars for funds and buy some for the workplace. You can also pick up some leaflets to give out on the day.
Some shelters may even allow a visit or have a representative come in to do a short talk or answer questions. Talk to your local rescue center and see what their suggestions are for the best ways to help them out.
Every year, Pet Sitters International provides a downloadable Action Pack planning guide for anyone wishing to be part of the day. The pack contains lots of information that discusses and troubleshoots common concerns and also includes sample policies, participation forms and some tips for encouraging your company to take part.
The Muttley Crew
If there are going to be lots of dogs at work, make sure yours is well-socialized and can handle the presence of lots of other excited doggies.
If possible, try and schedule a meeting in your colleagues’ homes or at the park so your dogs can check each other out and have a good old sniffing session in a more relaxed setting first.
That way you can see if there are any tensions you need to watch out for on TYDTWDay. If meeting before the day isn’t possible, try to introduce your dog to every other pooch one at a time so they can get to know each other slowly.
Keep the Dogs Comfortable
Taking consideration for the dogs' needs has to be a top priority. It's pointless to bring your dog to work if he's not going to be comfortable and happy. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure all dogs have some personal space for feeding and their toys to keep territorial behavior to a minimum.
- If your workplace is busy with lots of foot traffic, consider bringing along a crate just in case your dog needs a bit of time away from the hustle and bustle of it all.
- Make sure you bring a leash along.
- Is your workplace much warmer or colder than at home? Bring extra water if it’s warm and stuffy, or a blanket your dog can snuggle down in if your workplace is cold or drafty.
- Make bathroom breaks outside scheduled and regular, and a bit more frequent than usual. Your dog might need to go a little more, or not be able to tell when that time is coming with all the excitement going on.
Keep Your Dog’s Routine
Obviously, Take Your Dog to Work Day is supposed to be an exciting break from the norm, but your pooch will appreciate some parts of their daily routine staying close to what he's used to.
If your dog usually has company at home while you’re at work, he will be used to being up and about during your working hours. Others will be used to an afternoon nap, or a romp in the garden after lunch, or a midday walk.
Take the time to really consider what your dog’s normal day is like and try to incorporate as much as you can to make him feel calm and give him a sense of stability. Like us, most dogs are creatures of habit. The more “normal” you can keep his routine, the happier he will be.