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Tips For Friday’s ‘take Your Dog To Work Day®’
Friday, Jun 26 is the 11th annual 'Take Your Dog to Work Day'. Bark Busters' Tucson Dog behavioral therapist and trainer, Gerard Raneri offers some common-sense pointers on how to prepare yourself and your dog for a successful workplace experience.
The event helps to raise awareness of the importance of the human-animal bond, educate the public on the benefits of responsible pet ownership, and support the efforts of our local animal shelters, rescues and humane societies. For Bark Busters dog behavioral therapists and trainers, like Tucson’s Gerard Raneri, ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’ comes every day.
According to Raneri, the tips Bark Busters dog behavioral therapists provide their clients are not only based on good common sense, but also have been well tested during the company’s 20 years of experience in training more than 500,000 dogs worldwide.
“When it comes to taking your dog to the office,” says Raneri, “the key to a safe and successful experience is to prepare yourself and your dog in advance, and to recognize potential problem situations before they happen.”
Raneri relates, “A couple of years ago, one of my coworkers treated our office to a visit from his cute little pooch. Everyone made over the dog, petting him, talking to him, and spoiling him with doggie treats and their lunch tidbits.
“You can imagine what happened later that afternoon,” said Raneri. “Yes, those treats and human food were rapidly converted and returned to the office in less than palatable ways. The resulting smelly mess was compounded by Fido’s profusely shedding hair, which floated liberally onto computer keyboards, clung to chair seats, attached stubbornly to dark suits, and tickled noses all over the office. Fido soon became a less than welcome guest, and the idea of bringing pets to the office was immediately re-evaluated.
Raneri points out that all of this could have been avoided with a little planning, and offers these pointers for dog owners who intend to bring their canine companions to work:
Items to Bring
•Bring along his dog pillow or blanket so he has something familiar to comfort him. Experiencing a new environment can be a stressful experience for your dog, causing apprehension and uncharacteristic behavior.
•Bring a leash to walk your dog from the car to the office. The leash will also help you control him in the office.
•Bring food or familiar treats and a water bowl so your canine friend can stay well hydrated.
•Bring along dog toys, such as the Buster Cube® or KONG® to help your dog pass the time.
Situations to Avoid
•When nervous, dogs tend to shed, so be sure to brush your dog prior to the visit.
•Nervousness sometimes brings on the need for unexpected bathroom breaks, so walk your dog prior to the visit and take him out frequently throughout the day.
•Don’t let coworkers give your dog human food or unfamiliar treats. Bring along nutritious treats that your dog is accustomed to for those coworkers who just have to give him a cookie – and not too many.
•Don’t leave your dog alone with other dogs. If you must leave for a meeting, isolate your dog in a closed office or have a dog-familiar friend sit in until you return.
•Other dogs might not be as well behaved as your dog. Watch for signs of dog aggressiveness, such as growling, staring, raised hackles, and stiff body posture. Diffuse potential conflict by removing your dog from the area.
•Don’t try to force unfamiliar dogs to “become friends.”
•Check with your supervisor to get an okay to leave work early if your dog can’t handle the new environment. If he becomes too stressed, overexcited or inhibited, it’s best to just take him home.
•Needless to say, in Tucson, leaving him in your vehicle while you continue to work is not an option.
Stopping a Dog Fight
•Obviously, the best solution is to avoid bad situations altogether by closely monitoring dog interaction.
•If a dog scuffle occurs, don’t lunge in and try to break it up by hand (you could get bitten accidently). Use your dog’s blanket to throw over the heads of the fighting dogs. This will confuse the combatants long enough for you to defuse the situation.
Keys to Providing Good Leadership
According to Raneri, preparing for a safe and successful ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’ includes making sure that your dog accepts you as his leader.
•Dogs crave good leadership. If they don’t get it from their owner, they’ll take charge. That leads to bad behaviors, such as barking, jumping, aggression and pulling on the leash—each examples of the dog taking charge. Dogs will challenge for leadership in the home (and in the office), just as a wolf in the wild will do. The dog owner needs to win all challenges to demonstrate good leadership.
•Establish a clear leadership role with your dog before the office field trip. One way to do this is to ignore all requests from the dog, such as nudges to be petted or to play. Ignore him by breaking eye contact and turning away from him. When he has “given up” trying to get your attention, call him back to you to be petted or to play. When he responds to your requests and actions, versus you responding to his, he sees you as the leader.
•If your dog misbehaves, correct his behavior with a forceful, low-toned growl (“BAH!”), which is a form of communication that your dog can understand. As soon as he stops, offer pleasant, high-toned praise. He will understand his mistake and respect you as his leader.
•In the wild, the leader physically leads the pack. Establish your leadership by always leading your dog—up and down stairs, through doorways, and especially on walks. Remember, the leader always leads. This establishes you as “top dog” and gains your dog’s respect.
“Most dog owners simply accept the bad behavior of their pets because they don’t know how to change it,” says Raneri. “Learning how to communicate effectively with your dog in a language he understands, through voice control and body language, is the key to providing the leadership needed to have authority over your dog at all times.”
To fetch a Bark Busters trainer in your area, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or in Tucson and all of Pima County, AZ, call Gerard Raneri at (520) 440-8848, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.BarkBustersTucson.com. Dog owners can complete an online Dog Behavioral Quiz to rate your dog’s behavior and see if he is ready for his workplace appearance.
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