Why I love having an office dog

April 28, 2020

Are you lucky enough to be able to take your dog to work, or work from home with your dog by your side? Regular homeworker, Tracy shares the pros and cons of having an office dog and tips on how to stay paw-ductive during the working day. 

As someone who has been working from home for several years now I have empathy for the nation as many have suddenly had to adjust to working from home following the coronavirus lockdown. I read, just a few weeks into lockdown, that we should stop apologising for our children interrupting our Skype for business calls. But no one mentioned the dogs! 

So I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise to my clients and on behalf of all other working dog owners for the enthusiastic, sometimes deafening interruptions from the four-legged canine members of the team. 

A canine colleague

When Jago arrived as a 10-week-old bundle of Labrajoy, it was the defining moment in my working life. I’d know for some time that I have the attention span of a gnat. Give me any excuse to procrastinate, or find interruption and I’m all over it.  But I can honestly say that I knew nothing about interruption until a puppy joined my team. 

“But it was when things became unnervingly quiet that I realised I needed to excuse myself from an on-line meeting or chance a quick ‘mute’ moment whilst I went on an urgent Jago hunt.

In between feeds, toilet breaks, playtime and extracting shoes from Jago’s mouth I sometimes manage to read just five emails before lunchtime. However, I soon became adept at gripping a mobile under my chin whilst wrestling the laptop charger from puppy jaws.  But it was when things became unnervingly quiet that I realised I needed to excuse myself from an on-line meeting or chance a quick ‘mute’ moment whilst I went on an urgent Jago hunt.

Eighteen months on and we had become the picture of contentment. My little work from home team had moved from storming to paw-forming! Office dog Jago snoozes for much of the day. He then wakes eagerly to offer to share my work from home snacks. This occurs approximately every 17-22 minutes when the fridge calls and has to be obeyed. 

Getting work done

We head out for a walk before and after work and sometimes in between to give Jago a good run. Then he can sleep it off and give me some quiet time so that I can get some work done. That’s as long as I can manage to peel 30kg of dog off my hands so I can use them for essential typing and to answer the phone. We haven’t quite mastered the issue of personal boundaries in the workplace.

Apart from needing to keep a constant eye out that his drool doesn’t short any electrics (it’s the anticipation of those snacks) and needing to escape the odd suffocating dog fart, I really enjoy Jago’s company.

Then along came Puppy Number 2, but that’s probably for another time when the scars have started to heal and I rediscover how to spell productivity.

Top tips

If you have or are thinking of sharing your working day with an office dog, here’s Tracy’s top tips:  

  • Be proactive with play time. Initiate it when it suits your schedule. Little and often with a puppy.
  • Anticipate when toilet breaks will be needed, a quick five minutes round the garden usually does it in between walks.
  • Get your dog used to being in another room, even if it’s for half hour, for when you need to make a call.
  • Frozen Kongs are great for keeping dogs entertained. 
  • Don’t forget to remove squeaky toys when you’re about to join a conference call.
  • Stay on mute when possible, as your dog will be guaranteed to bark at the most inopportune moment!

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