TO­GETHER TIME

Hav­ing a ruff day at the of­fice and wished your furkid was by your side? If you’re un­sure of how to go about bring­ing your pet to work, our guide of dos and don’ts will get you started.

Pets (Singapore) - - Contents - BY GIL­LIAN LIM

Our guide to bring­ing your furry com­pan­ion to work.

more or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing no­table ones like Google, Ama­zon, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy, are adopt­ing pet-friendly of­fice poli­cies. With the in­creas­ingly long hours spent in the of­fice, it’s easy to see why hav­ing a pet at the work­place might help. A furry com­pan­ion can boost morale, make em­ploy­ees hap­pier and pro­mote pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion, but their pres­ence might open up a can of worms; not only might it com­pro­mise the health, safety and well-be­ing of both em­ployee and furkid, it could lead to le­gal and cul­tural reper­cus­sions. If your of­fice is open to pets and you’d like to bring your furkid to work, here’re a cou­ple of things you should take note of.

AL­WAYS BE PRE­PARED

The work­place is a shared en­vi­ron­ment and not ev­ery­one might be com­fort­able hav­ing pets in the of­fice, so it’s a must to seek per­mis­sion from your su­per­vi­sors and speak with your col­leagues be­fore bring­ing your pet to work.

While can­vass­ing, be sure to find out if any­body has al­ler­gies or a pho­bia of an­i­mals. A 2017 study by the U.S. Na­tional In­sti­tute for Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health dis­cov­ered that an es­ti­mated 15 to 30 per­cent of in­di­vid­u­als with ex­ist­ing al­ler­gies are af­fected by dogs and cats as well. “Given that ma­jor dog al­ler­gens are found in dan­der, work­place ex­po­sure to al­ler­gens could be re­duced by ask­ing the dog own­ers to bathe their dogs reg­u­larly or be­fore bring­ing them in,” re­searchers wrote. It’s im­por­tant to take your col­league’s con­cerns into con­sid­er­a­tion; ei­ther cre­ate pet-free zones in the of­fice for those suf­fer­ing from these con­di­tions, or bring your furkid to work on a day

whereby that par­tic­u­lar col­league isn’t in.

Prior to bring­ing Fido or Puss to the of­fice, draw up a list of your pet’s train­ing and di­etary needs so your col­leagues know what your furkid can or can­not eat and do. “Re­mem­ber that not ev­ery­one at work will love your pet as much as you do,” shares dog trainer and founder of Pos­i­tive Pup­pies, Bar­bara Wright. “Keep your dog on a leash and let peo­ple come to say hello, rather than let your pet in­vade ev­ery­one’s space.”

CRE­ATE A SAFE SPACE

To pre­vent your pup or kitty from waltz­ing into red zones like your boss’ of­fice, the pantry, or the toi­let, sec­tion out a cosy area at your work­sta­tion for your furkid a few days be­fore bring­ing it to work. Fill the space with a pet bed, soft pil­lows and toys, and lead your pet di­rectly there when at the of­fice. This way, your furry com­pan­ion is less likely to claim its own space or get ter­ri­to­rial. Plus, in the event that your pet is shy or has a so­cial in­ter­ac­tion time limit, it can re­treat to its des­ig­nated safe space to re­cu­per­ate.

From its first visit, make it clear to your furkid about where it is or isn’t al­lowed to go. Should you need to leave its side for a meet­ing, al­ways have a play pen, fence, or crate on standby. “It not only en­sures your pet isn’t caus­ing trou­ble while you’re away, it also pro­tects your pet from be­ing put into un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tions by mis­take,” says Bar­bara.

KEEP IT EN­TER­TAINED

As with hu­mans, it’s im­por­tant to oc­ca­sion­ally stretch your legs to stave off bore­dom. Like­wise, try to keep your pet stim­u­lated through­out the long work­day: take it out for walks ev­ery cou­ple of hours, bring a puz­zle or smart toy to keep your pup oc­cu­pied, or let it min­gle with other furkids and co-work­ers in the of­fice. For fe­lines, bring a small scratch­ing post or con­struct a makeshift one out of left­over card­board, and put a laser pointer to good use to keep Puss en­gaged. Bring­ing your pet to work is a great so­cial­i­sa­tion and train­ing op­por­tu­nity, but if your pet is left in a cor­ner of the of­fice while you’re hard at work, it won’t make much of a dif­fer­ence.

If your pooch is hy­per­ac­tive, be sure to bring it out for a long walk to ex­pend its en­ergy be­fore com­ing to the of­fice. As a re­sult, it will be less likely to wreak havoc at the of­fice.

BE RE­SPON­SI­BLE

While pets can be a great so­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the work­place, it’s up to you to dis­cern what prob­lems might arise through­out the course of the day and en­sure that it doesn’t be­come a nui­sance or dis­trac­tion.

If your dog isn’t potty-trained, al­ways have a pee pad on standby or bring it out for short walks more of­ten. It can be frus­trat­ing for your col­leagues to find

(or smell) pee or poop, es­pe­cially if they stum­ble on it be­fore you do. In case of ac­ci­dents, keep a roll of pa­per tow­els and pet stain re­mover sprays in the of­fice.

If you know that your pet is afraid of or doesn’t like sounds such as the door­bell or the clack­ing of the key­board, try to cre­ate pos­i­tive as­so­ci­a­tions to each ob­ject or sound by prais­ing your furkid or giv­ing it a treat. Also, train your dog to be quiet in the of­fice as bark­ing can be very dis­rup­tive in any work­place—give it a treat when­ever it’s si­lent and say, “Quiet.”

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