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Thread: Dogs at Work?

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    Dogs at Work?

    A friend of mine works at a college that is considering putting in a policy of "no dogs at work" (except of course if they're working dogs like guide dogs). Currently, there is no policy at all and a number of people - a few - bring their dogs to work regularly. There are also some students who bring their dogs on campus and into classes.

    However, someone complained to the occupational health and safety committee, who brought an inspector from the workers compensation board to visit. The inspector said that even if the dogs are well behaved, there could be other students or employees, or visitors to campus, who are allergic or who have dog phobias. If something happened to any of them because a dog was around, the college could be liable.

    I'm curious if anyone here works at a place that has any yes-to-dogs or no-to-dogs policy - if so, what does it say? If dogs are allowed, are there rules about where they can be or when?
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    Slightly off topic, but a girl I studied with used to bring her children to lectures. It was tremendously disruptive, especially if they were sick, or bored, and sometimes if she left the room, the kids would start interferring with university property.

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    The boss at my first ever job brought his dog to work. But of course he was the boss so he could do that however I did not mind because the dog was just a big puppy. A rrrreally big shaggy puppy!. hehehe
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    I used to work in an office that was decidedly dog-centric. All of us brought our dogs to work. It was awesome. But we had 3 employees in the office. In a larger office, particularly one that serves a large population, I can see it causing problems. Aside from the allergy issues, if you've got 20 employees in one office, how many can bring their pets to work? How does one decide who gets to? what if one dog is not properly trained and has to be banned? Do you really want to expend energy developing/enforcing policies related to pets?

    That said, if I ever had my own business, it would be dog-friendly.
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    Why would anyone want to bring their dog to work...?
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    I know this doesn't answer the question that was asked, but speaking as someone with a dog phobia, I think I would be uncomfortable working in a place where people brought dogs in to work. As a child I was very scared of dogs, and whilst as an adult the fear is controlled, it's very much still there. The logical part of my brain knows it's an irrational fear, and I'm okay with dogs on leads or otherwise controlled nowadays, but I can't imagine spending every working day being tense because of the presence of a dog - and that's what it would be like.

    I would imagine that any dog friendly policy would also have to be made clear to any prospective candidates for jobs at that company, so they could decide not to work there if that made them uncomfortable. But that could also potentially open the company to accusations of discrimination.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    Why would anyone want to bring their dog to work...?
    Because dogs are fun to be around.

    Bunny Hop, I understand the problems with making someone with a fear of dogs work near one - it's a reason that I think it works best in small offices, and of course prospective employees would have to know up front.
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    I work at a company with approx 200 employees. We are located in a downtown office bldg next to a city park on the waterfront. Dogs are welcome in the office, provided they are quiet and not disruptive.

    I love it. Immediately across from me is a woman who brings her two tiny Yorkies in every day. Another co-worker brings her poodle-mix dog in at least once a week. We've got an italian greyhound, a boston bull, a labradoodle, a basingi mix, a smooth coat collie, and a rotating family of border collies who frequent our floor.

    For me, it is the fastest, most positive cure for office stress evah:

    If I'm then I and I can until I feel

    All these animals are like my personal therapy dogs. I can hunt one down and have a doggy lurrrve fix whenever I want. The dogs are a total stress reliever within a high pressure tech support environment.

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    A couple of my professors would occasionally bring their dogs to work, which was amusing because it was an academic biology lab building. They certainly didn't bring them every day, and they were VERY well-behaved and only hung around their respective owner's office.

    Except one time when big goofy Phoebe the golden retriever (no kidding, the dog had 20 lbs on me) wandered into the cell bio lab because she was lonely and the prof said sternly, "Phoebe, this is no place for dogs!" and she goofily wagged and backed out, satisfied that she had gotten some attention. She was a sweetheart.

    I don't think a dog-friendly policy would fly in a large company though. As mentioned, many people aren't comfortable around dogs and some people have allergies. It worked out in college because many students went without their dogs at home and having a furry friend around was nice.

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    The other day I was in one of the dorms at my school and the SPCA is bringing dogs in for some playtime. It's part of the wellness centre's stressbusters.

    I like the idea though it would definitely depend on the culture of the workplace.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    Why would anyone want to bring their dog to work...?
    As Genevieve and Lady Nit said, dogs are fun and a great stress reliever.

    Generally, dogs get along well with each other and with people. Unless you're dealing with a small pup, most dogs would not disrupt the work environment, they would be happy just to hang out and get some treats and belly rubs.

    I agree its a concept suited to a small rather than a large office, but see it as a win-win. Especially since it makes it easier for people who work an eight hour day to have pets. Having pets makes people happier and happier people are better, more productive employees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    The inspector said that even if the dogs are well behaved, there could be other students or employees, or visitors to campus, who are allergic or who have dog phobias.

    As someone who has a dog phobia, I don't believe a dog should be in a workplace unless it is a service animal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Hop View Post
    I know this doesn't answer the question that was asked, but speaking as someone with a dog phobia, I think I would be uncomfortable working in a place where people brought dogs in to work.
    Perhaps that is exactly what you need to overcome your phobia. Sure it would be uncomfortable for awhile, but constant exposure in a controlled environment may eventually dispel your fears.

    (...not that I believe dogs should be permitted in a work environment, unless the business is small and everyone agrees to it).

    Although I was afraid of dogs when I was a small child, I lost that fear when we obtained our first family dog (a mixed breed). Since then, my mother has had poodles (they snarled and bit because she didn't know how to properly train them), and a cocker-spaniel (he was nice). I myself have had four Dobermans over the years (still have two). All four Dobes were/are friendly.

    Despite being accustomed to dogs, I am uncomfortable when walking down the sidewalk and an unleashed dog comes charging out growling and barking (but that would be normal, since you can't be certain what type of dog owners trained the dog).
    Last edited by rvi5; 02-03-2011 at 01:36 PM.

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    I have three dogs at home; 2 pugs, and a lab mix (all are inside dogs.) I can't imagine anything remotely fun about taking them to work. Dog hair shedding, dog farts, dog breath, trips outside to potty - yup, that sounds really fun...
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    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    I have three dogs at home; 2 pugs, and a lab mix (all are inside dogs.) I can't imagine anything remotely fun about taking them to work. Dog hair shedding, dog farts, dog breath, trips outside to potty - yup, that sounds really fun...
    Doesn't sound like they are any fun at home either. Why do you have them in the first place?
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    I have seen someone bring their dog to work at my large (corporate office-type) company. He was kept in a crate under their desk all day, and she apologized for having to do it. Their heater had broke and it was under 40 degrees in her house. The dog whimpered a few times, but you couldn't hear it.

    I don't think it makes sense for most people to bring their dogs to work, but I suppose what kind of work you have.

    I've been to quite a few shops that kept dogs there. And my college's mascot was a dog that went to all the classes with her handler. (There is a tradition that if the dog barks during class it's because she is bored, and so the class should be ended. Some professors still keep with the tradition I never had her in my class though.)

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    I brought Muttley to work with me when I was having construction done on my house and the noise was stressing him out. There were no problems - I work on a mostly empty floor and the only people who came near us were the cleaning ladies who loved Muttley. One week I was alone on the floor and Muttley provided company (and a small amount of protection - just in case!).

    That ended when a woman five floors down saw me walking Muttley in the parking lot and complained because she is allergic. So now Muttley for me.
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    Mr. Wiery and I own a small business, and when we only had one or two employees our animals often came to work with us. However, once we had more than two or three employees, people started complaining: some have allergies, some have phobias, which we think are legit reasons to keep animals away from the workplace. We also used to have a shop cat to keep our rodent population down, but she often climbed up into the ceilings of the buildings, get stuck, and yowl incessantly until someone got her out. We also have a group that rents some of our offices; one day they were conducting a client meeting in the conference room, the cat got up in the ceiling, knocked down a ceiling tile, then stared down at the people and yowled until someone got her down. Luckily, everyone involved had a good sense of humor about the whole episode because one grumpy client could have resulted in our tenants losing a sale, and us losing a paying tenant. Said cat now resides full-time at our house.

    I think pets at work are a great idea on paper but don't always work smoothly in real life.

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    One or two well-behaved and potty trained mutts are fun to have around at work, but any more than that and the work place becomes a smelly, noisy fur flying mess.

    Do dogs really fart? Like human?

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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    A friend of mine works at a college that is considering putting in a policy of "no dogs at work" (except of course if they're working dogs like guide dogs). Currently, there is no policy at all and a number of people - a few - bring their dogs to work regularly. There are also some students who bring their dogs on campus and into classes.

    However, someone complained to the occupational health and safety committee, who brought an inspector from the workers compensation board to visit. The inspector said that even if the dogs are well behaved, there could be other students or employees, or visitors to campus, who are allergic or who have dog phobias. If something happened to any of them because a dog was around, the college could be liable.

    I'm curious if anyone here works at a place that has any yes-to-dogs or no-to-dogs policy - if so, what does it say? If dogs are allowed, are there rules about where they can be or when?
    I'm shocked anyone would find that acceptable to begin with. No, it's no okay unless it's a guide dog; in any public place.

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