Dog-Friendly Office Project Training 2: Getting Dogs to Greet and Socialize in the Office

In the spirit of ‘Enriching the Workplace with Your Dog' at free stitch, we started the ‘Dog-Friendly Office Project’ in September 2019.

At free stitch, we are always brainstorming new ways to develop our ever-popular Dog-friendly Office Project movement - with the simple goal of creating an office environment where people can enjoy working alongside their pets and improve their overall quality of life. 

Naturally, there are some dogs or cats who may not feel comfortable being in a new environment, or being around new people and unfamiliar animals. As part of the ongoing activities of the Dog-friendly Office Project, we would like to encourage those pets to gradually develop their socialization skills and build their confidence in the workplace.  

The other day, we had an 11-year old chihuahua called Lily visit us at the office. Lily is not so confident with meeting or spending time around other dogs and tends to hide inside her carry bag under her owner’s desk. To help bring her out of her shell, we invited another member of staff to bring in their labrador called Milo on the day of Lily’s visit to free stitch. Milo is naturally quiet and not aggressive towards other dogs, so his owner thought it would be good for Lily to practice greeting him. Lily was especially nervous at first, but as time went by she built up the confidence to greet and interact with Milo, and, as a result, she was finally able to move freely around the office.  

The above case may have been a success; however, if we force two dogs to greet each other, there is a chance that either one might get scared and lose their confidence completely. 

At free stitch, we created guidelines and a consent form for those who wish to bring their pets to the office. In our guidelines, it states ‘if a large number of staff members apply to bring their pets to the office on the same day, the compatibility of attending pets may be checked and you may be asked to select another day to bring your pet.’ Before bringing our pets to the office each time, we inform our designated representative of the Dog-friendly Office Project and a compatibility check will be carried out between the pets applying to come to the office on the designated day. If it is deemed that two or more pets may not get along or may have difficulty adjusting to being in a work environment, the owner will be asked to choose another day to bring their pet in. 

In addition to the above, we have started our aforementioned in-house pet training program to help dogs like Lily to adjust to being around new faces and unfamiliar situations. 

In our next series of posts, we will continue to provide updates on the training methods we will use and which of the free stitch dogs have improved as a result. 

For more information on the Dog-Friendly Office Project, please click here.

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