There’s nothing better in your working day than having a furry companion to melt the stress away. Studies have shown that dogs not only offer social support but also have the ability to reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace while helping to increase productivity. But, what dog breeds are the best to have in the office?
Well, here at Officeology, we’ve teamed up with Dr Linda Simon, Vet at Pooch and Mutt, to find out what breeds make the best office dogs and her top tips on introducing them to office life.
What Makes a Good Office Dog?
When it comes to an office-friendly dog, you ideally want one that is “low energy and not too needy,” Dr Linda explains. “Depending on your work environment (and proximity to co-workers!), you may also want a small enough dog that doesn’t shed or drool too much.” A dog that’s known for barking or needs constant attention and play-time will only dwindle job performance, so it’s important to do your research to find which dogs will be best suited for office life.
Here are the top 5 best office dog breeds:
1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavaliers are well-known for being affectionate and gentle, making them an ideal office companion. They’re also one of the easier breeds to train, which is perfect if your job keeps you on your feet. Bred as a lap dog, the Cavalier can get through the day quite happily by resting on the sofa or by your desk. This means they’ll always be available for strokes and cuddles whenever you need to de-stress. But, make sure you still exercise them on your lunch break, so they stay happy and healthy too!
2. Cavapoo/Poodle Cross
If you want a dog that thrives in company and you can trust to behave with other people, consider a poodle cross, like a Cavapoo. The Cavalier/Poodle mix inherits some of the best traits from both of its parents. They’re a loyal and outgoing breed that loves nothing more than being around people, getting attention from anyone and everyone! So, if you need to pop out to a meeting, you can rest assured knowing your dog will be happy with your co-workers. The Cavapoo also rarely drools and has a low tendency to bark, making them ideal for bringing into the office.
3. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus have been kept as loving companions throughout the ages. They’re a devoted breed with relatively low energy, making them a good choice of pet for people who are not overly active or sit at a desk Monday-Friday. Shih Tzus are also very intelligent dogs and love to learn new things, so your co-workers can have fun teaching them new tricks.
If you want a slightly bigger dog with all of the love and affection of a smaller breed, then a Greyhound could be the dog for you. Their loving nature and enjoyment of company make them an all-around great companion. Since they are short-haired, their low-maintenance grooming schedule keeps things relatively fur-free in the office too. Ensure that you take the time for long walks, either before or after work, if you choose to adopt a Greyhound, as they appreciate off-lead runs for an hour.
A cross between a Bichon Frise and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Cavachon is an easy-going, low-exercise dog that only requires a 30-minute walk a day. They also don’t shed much, with some people with dog allergies even finding that they can tolerate their presence more than other breeds. A huge plus if your co-workers have allergies!
What are the benefits of allowing dogs into the office?
Not only are they cute, fun and cuddly, but there are a surprising amount of work-based benefits that allowing dogs into the office can have on employees.
One of the largest benefits of allowing dogs in the office is that they reduce stress. In a study examining the impact on one’s stress and cortisol levels, employees who brought their dogs to work had the lowest results.
Collaboration and Relationships
Having dogs in the office can encourage employees to interact and help build relationships. 52% of employees believe that having their pet around can lead to greater social interaction with their colleagues, which is often correlated to collaboration and innovation.
Good for the Dogs
Dogs are highly affectionate animals that often don’t like being apart from their owners. Allowing dogs in the office stops your employees from needing to expend extra effort and expense on dog sitters or daycare.
Easier to Attract and Retain Employees
Over a quarter of the UK population owns a dog. That is a significant proportion of the workforce too. Allowing dogs can be a very enticing benefit and open your recruitment up to a wider pool.
Q&A with Dr Linda Simon
Here, Dr Linda Simon from Pooch & Mutt will answer your most common questions about bringing a dog into the office.
What Age is Best to Bring a Dog Into the Office?
Get your dog used to the office environment from puppyhood, ideally during their socialisation period. This means we are aiming to have them in before 16 weeks of age. At this time, dogs are learning what is ‘normal’, and it is important we introduce them to the office, so they view it as somewhere calm and familiar.
If your office is carpeted and you are toilet training, this may be tricky. Bring along puppy pads, and you’ll have to let your dog out regularly. Reward your dog when they are being calm and quiet by offering treats and praise, so they know what is expected of them when at work.
What Tips Would you Share to Someone Bringing a Lockdown Dog to the Office for the First Time?
If your dog has not been exposed to the office or has been poorly socialised, you may have your work cut out for you. It’s sensible to bring them in when you are not working for several visits, so they can get used to the office while having your full attention. Keep visits short and sweet and try to make them a pleasant experience. This may mean having co-workers offer treats and bringing your dog’s favourite toy along. Build up the length of visits gradually.
What Toys, Activities, and Training do you Recommend for Office Dogs?
We want office dogs to know how to relax. Teaching a ‘settle’ command early on is imperative. Your dog should have a bed or blanket they always have with them where they know to ‘settle’ when you give the command.
To train your dog to use it, have them beside you and the bed on a short lead. Whenever they sit or lay on it, quietly drop treats. Over time, gradually reward more relaxed behaviours -perhaps when they lie fully down or stretch out.
Increase the time they need to stay on it before rewarding and build this up over several sessions.
What Measures Should Be Taken to Ensure an Office is Dog-Friendly?
Up until now, offices have not been created with pets in mind. This means that offices can be hazardous places for pets, so always perform a risk assessment before bringing your dog in.
Beware of munching on exposed wires or chewing through furniture. If your dog is a chewer, you’ll need to have eyes on them 24/7 at first. It can be worth crating mischievous dogs, at least in their younger years.
Ensure co-workers are not leaving food or drinks unattended on the floor. Toxic plants, such as sago palms and daffodils, must not be kept in the same room as the dog.
You’ll also want to make sure there is a dedicated pet-free space for those employees who are allergic to dogs.
All of these are things to consider when introducing pets to the workspace to ensure each employee can make the most of the new environment.
Creating a happy and healthy working environment is essential to boost working efficiency, improve focus, and optimise productivity. Take a look at our workplace wellbeing solutions to learn how you can keep your office healthy and promote staff wellbeing.