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February 2024

Dog Friendly Workplaces and the Benefits


Dogs at work? For many, it’s the dream. Luckily, it has become more common in Australia and internationally. Gone are the days where we consider dogs to be a disruption to our work routines. In fact, dogs can make work better.

Petstock is one of many dog friendly workplaces in Australia all year round, and it’s truly a game changer.

So, in celebration of International Take your Dog to Work Day, we want to remind everyone how beneficial pets at the office can be!

Are Dog-friendly Workplaces Good for Morale?

It’s widely accepted that dogs, and pets in general, help boost your mood and reduce stress. Dogs have been shown to benefit the mental and physical health of those around them. The office can be a fast-paced, high-stress environment, so the calming quality of dogs is even more important. Just patting a dog can calm an anxious worker, to the extent that some businesses now have trained therapy dogs entering workplaces on a regular basis.

In especially high-stress workplaces, such as emergency call centres and service offices, therapy dogs visit multiple times a week to lend a paw to those who are struggling, or those who just need a little extra support to get through the week. There are also dogs who are not formally trained as therapy dogs, but still assist humans in need. Each of these dogs deserve medals!

Emergency Service Dogs

Meet Addis-Bell: A Dog Who Brings Smiles, Cuddles and Comfort

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At Ambulance Victoria, the work is highly rewarding but can be challenging. What can really lift the mood is a dog. Jacqui, who works as a Graduate Progression Coordinator, often brings her beautiful Newfoundland, Addis-Bell (AB), into the office. She brings joy to not only Jacqui's day, but also to colleagues and graduates.

"Assessment day for graduates can be a time of high anxiety and stress, so AB will often come in on those days to act as a source of comfort for those undertaking exams and assessments. You can really feel the change of atmosphere in the room when she's around, she just makes everyone feel so relaxed. In-between assessments, some of the graduates will sit with her, pat her and talk to her for comfort," says Jacqui.

And it is not just Ambulance Victoria that Addis-Bell visits. On the days she isn't at work with Jacqui, she's on the worksite as a tradie dog with Jacqui's husband – high-vis vest and all!

"I think everyone should be able to bring their dog to work! That's the dream, right? Of course, it is essential that your dog is relaxed and happy to be there. For AB, she's comfortable curling up next to my desk when she's not interacting with anyone else or being a practice patient for the graduates."

Did you know Ambulance Victoria also have trained Peer Support dogs? These dogs come into Ambulance Victoria offices across the state, specifically to assist with the mental health and wellbeing of employees.

Can Dogs Improve Your Customer's Experience?

If you have a dog-friendly workplace, it not only makes the workplace more joyful and relaxed for team members, but also a whole lot more interesting for guests. Without a doubt, animal lovers and, specifically, dog lovers can’t deny how a chance meeting with a friendly dog can improve their day. Plus, it also makes for a great start way to engage with customers or clients.

Dog-Friendly Shopping

Meet Chubbs and Angel: A-list Influencers Bringing Their A Game

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Chubbs and Angel love coming into work with their owner Teisha at PETstock Artarmon, New South Wales. These two have been permanent fixtures at the store for a stellar nine years, and love interacting with new friends daily. They’re also so well behaved that they know all the store treats are off-limits – until provided one of course!

“They love greeting customers much more than being at home all day. Meeting all the people and pets who walk through our doors is great for their mental stimulation and socialisation. You see the smiles on customers’ faces when the dogs are in-store to greet them; they know them by name, and you can see their disappointment on the days I do not bring them with me. My dogs are my world, and I am grateful that I can spend as much time with them as possible on a day-to-day basis.” – Teisha, PETstock Artarmon

Is It Good for Your Dog If You Bring Them to Work?

We all love the idea of dogs bringing joy and emotional support, but bringing dogs to work can be beneficial for them as well. It offers them an opportunity for enrichment. When you bring a dog into a new environment, especially from a young age, they become more adaptable and can engage in new, rewarding experiences. If you have a dog-friendly workplace that allows more than just one dog at a time, then you will also get the benefits of wider socialisation for your dog or puppy.

Dogs in the Office

Meet Delilah – the Best-Behaved Office Dog Around (Arguably)

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Delilah is one of many resident dogs at the South Melbourne Petstock Support Office. She is also in the running for best behaved and most level-headed dog. At just twelve weeks of age, this Bernese girl was brought into the office with owner Bec and adapted beautifully to the 9-5 life. For Bec, the benefits of bringing Delilah in so early in her life has meant she is accustomed to all sorts of things.

“Introducing Delilah to the office at such a young age meant she was able to encounter a lot of different dogs, people and situations. Plus, it also helped put into practice a lot of her early obedience training. We’re all incredibly lucky to have a dog-friendly workplace, and it means I have zero worries about bringing Delilah along wherever I go. Whether it’s cafes, bars or houses, she’s incredibly relaxed and well behaved,” says Bec

“At the beginning, I only brought her in one or two days a week, and made sure, on those days, I had minimal meetings and would mainly be at my desk. I also was prepared with a pen set-up, so she had her own little self-contained space where she felt comfortable. And like all puppies, she had a few more needs than adult dogs, so I had a day bag to hold all the puppy essentials.”

All in all with preparation, consistency and a dog-friendly workplace, the whole arrangement has worked out great for both Bec and Delilah.

“Delilah is very comfortable at work now and is never a distraction from my work. In fact, having her at work makes me happy, along with my co-workers, which I believe increases our productivity.”

If you can't take your dog to work, consider daycare as an option for socialisation and enrichment. We recommend Diggiddy doggy daycare.

Tips for Bringing Your Dog to Work

While we would all love to pack our dog up and let them run free in the workplace, the reality is every dog is unique, and every dog-friendly workplace will have different rules or restrictions. To ensure a successful integration to workplace life for your pooch, it is important to take some tips from trainers who have seen it all before. Dog trainer Lara Shannon, behaviourist and Pooches at Play host, has some handy tips of her own.

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Lara Shannon

Lara Shannon is co-host of Pooches at Play and as completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne's Bayside

Pooches at Play

Lara's Top Tips:

  • Make sure you make the introduction to this new environment a positive one. Use treats, praise, and pats to reinforce calm behaviour and create a positive association with the workplace and new people.
  • If your dog is reactive (in excitement) then keep them on a leash and ask people to stay at a distance that does not cause your dog to be anxious. The signs of an anxious dog can include licking their lips, flicking their tongue and yawning.
  • Place or mat training (such as commanding ‘on your bed’) will be helpful for your dog within a controlled workplace environment. You want your dog to be happy and comfortable staying in one place for periods of time.
  • Long lasting chews and interactive toys are great for keeping your dog busy while they remain in their ‘place’.
  • Make sure you know if other dogs will be in the office and if they may be reactive. The more information you know about possible four-legged colleagues the better. If you know another dog is reactive, you can then work out if you and your dog may need to sit somewhere else in the office for the day.
  • Know your dog’s ‘critical distance’ if they have one. Critical distance is the minimal distance your dog feels safe before reacting or becoming reactive. Ensure your colleagues understand your dog’s critical distance too.

Tips for Dog-Friendly Workplaces

  • Are there other pets or dogs in the office? Consider mandatory meet-and-greets to ensure dogs are compatible, before you allow lots of dogs in the office for the day.
  • Encourage employee pets to be microchipped and have up-to-date registration.
  • Ensure pets have appropriate collars and leads.
  • Make use of warning sign for visitors who may be allergic to or fearful of cats or dogs.
  • Discourage owners and other employees to feed pets human food or leftover snacks from the tearoom, as this can cause them to become ill.
  • Have a pet calendar or organised system to manage when pets will be in the office.

If you needed to know how good pet-friendly workplaces can be, here’s the proof! While it doesn’t work for all workplaces, it can work for many – and it should work for more. With the right attitude, planning and preparation, more pets can be welcomed into the workplace.

So, whether it’s Take Your Dog to Work Day or just another day at the office, we hope to see more furry team members making their mark and spreading some joy!


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