Dogs in the workplace isn't a completely new idea, of course. Back in the 80's, I was taking my dog to work with me. I was a graduate student at UC Davis, slogging through classes, student teaching, and long hours in my office. Having Shadow with me meant I didn't have to run home several times each day, and she wasn't lonely. It also meant that stressed out undergrads who came to my office hours could pet Shadow and (hopefully) feel a little better. I have certainly been into many small businesses where dogs (and cats) are on site, cuddling up to patrons and welcoming you to their shops. Frankly, I love seeing dogs and cats holding court in indie bookstores, antique shops, and home stores. However, I also know there are people who don't like animals or are afraid of them. Do they avoid patronizing these businesses where there is an obvious animal on the premises? According to The Hartford, a major business insurer, the answer is an unequivocal yes. So, if you are a business owner that has an animal on your premises, and you are in a customer service type business like a shop or store, what can you do to insure that you don't lose that potential sale?
I think the real issue here is the behavior of the animals on the premises. If your pet is well-behaved, approachable, well-groomed, and outgoing, but not pushy, I doubt that their presence will be a huge deterrent. If, however, your store pet isn't well-behaved, or appears threatening in any way, I can understand why people shy away from coming in. Even if you work in an office where pets are allowed in your office or cubicle, it is still important that they be well-behaved, well-groomed, etc. You are still working with other people and it isn't fair for your dog's behavior (or their odor!) to impinge upon someone else's work experience. In fact I had one client reach out to me because she'd been told she couldn't bring her dog to work anymore until she got his lunging and barking under control! And if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, taking them to work with you doesn't solve the problem, in fact, your dog will likely still exhibit symptoms there if you walk away from them for a moment, thus disrupting your workplace and jeopardizing your ability to bring them with you.
Bottom line here is that I like to see animals going to work with their humans, hanging out in stores, etc. As long as those animals are well-behaved, I will always welcome them in my space. How do you feel about animals in stores? In offices? Do you take your pet to work with you? As always, if you need help getting your dog's behavior "office ready," you know where to find me.
Desi and Pearl used to love loading up in the truck
and heading to bookstore with me when I worked there.