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June 16, 2014

Five Ways to Persuade Your Boss to Allow Dogs at Work

With the right planning and precautions, dogs can make the office a better place

Do you dream of bringing your dog to work with you but think your boss would never allow it? If you need some help getting your employer on board with the idea of a "dogs at work" program, here are a few steps to get you started. 

Charley comes to work with HSUS online campaign strategist Julia Worth. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

1. Survey your coworkers

Find out how many employees are interested in bringing their dogs to work with them, as well as how many are neutral or opposed to having dogs in the workplace. If you can show that lots of employees are interested, management may be more willing to consider your proposal. Listen to negative feedback, too. If your coworkers have concerns about dogs in the workplace, you will need to address them.

2. Focus on the benefits to the company

Pets in the workplace programs can boost employee morale and help build positive work relationships by creating opportunities for socialization, increasing productivity and improving employee physical health by inspiring pet owners to get up from their desks to walk with their dogs. The company as a whole can build a reputation for being animal-friendly and even attract new employees with the unique benefit of being able to bring their dogs to the office.

Human and canine members of The HSUS's Pets in the Workplace committee meet in one of the dog-friendly conference rooms. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

3. Volunteer to start a committee to establish rules & etiquette

Some businesses may be hesitant to allow pets in the workplace due to legal and liability concerns. By establishing an employee-led committee that can write and enforce rules that protect employees and the company, you can take some of the pressure off your company’s management team by preemptively addressing their concerns about who will run the program, follow up on any complaints from employees and write policies.

4. Make sure your office is prepared

Scope out your office to see if it’s equipped to handle dogs. Find areas outdoors suitable for walking dogs, identify spaces in the office that should be dog-free (such as restrooms, break rooms, and common areas) and identify areas where you may need to add features, such as waste disposal stations in designated dog-walking areas.

Rules about keeping dogs contained in cubicles, posting introductory signs, respecting dog-free zones and picking up after pets help make The HSUS's Pets in the Workplace program a success. Michelle Riley and Meredith Lee/The HSUS

5. Ask for a trial run

Start small by asking your company to allow dogs for a short trial period of a week or two to demonstrate that having dogs in the workplace is a feasible option for your company. A one-day event can be fun and a boost to morale, but employees will need to spend most of the day focused on their pets and may not be very productive! A longer trial period gives the dogs a chance to adapt, relax and become good officemates.



Adapted from Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces. Buy the book through AmazonSmile and a portion of your purchase will benefit The HSUS!

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