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New Study Claims Take a Dog to Work and Reduce Stress? - Not so fast. The Truth May Actually Be
A professional dog trainer’s take on having dogs at work and why bringing your dog to work may be a bad idea.
It’s all over the news. A new study shows that having dogs at work can reduce stress, helps workers to exercise more on breaks, and makes the job more satisfying. But the question Lisa Flynn, certified dog trainer asks is “Does having dogs at work cause more stress than if their furry friends were left at home alone?”
Ill-behaved dogs that jump on co-workers, dash out of the building, and generally run amuck can cause employees and bosses alike to resent their co-workers and sometimes even dogs in general. Lisa Flynn, founder of TruetoDogs.com says “Believe it or not there are people in this world who don’t like dogs at all, never mind your dog. It’s important to remember that NOBODY loves your dog like you do. Your co-workers are not going to be as understanding and forgiving as you are when your dog behaves badly”.
Ms. Flynn suggests that before bringing your dog to work you must be sure that he understands three crucial things. Otherwise you could risk losing the privilege for both you and your co-workers.
1. Dashing out of doors: It is imperative that your dog understands to wait for permission before going through a doorway out. You may even insist that he wait before going through your office door as well. Waiting at doors not only teaches your dog impulse control but is also for your dog’s safety. “I usually don’t tell a dog to sit or stay at the door” says Lisa. “Instead just say ‘NO’ and insists that they wait. You are not always going to be there to say sit or stay. A delivery person may just open the door without realizing that there is a dog inside. Make it automatic that your dog does not go through without permission.”
2. The Place command: Teaching your dog to stay on a dog bed or a mat while you are working can make all the difference in your stress level if you take a dog to work. You can’t be chasing your dog around the office while you are on the phone with a client. Use the leash on your dog in the beginning stages of training “Place” so that you can reinforce the command if your dog leaves his spot. You can even hook the leash up to the desk so that your dog can’t roam too far when you can’t pay 100% attention to him.
3. Speaking of attention…As difficult as it might be for your dog to understand, you are at the office to work. There are going to be times when you will not be able to give your dog the attention he expects when he’s home with you. Ms. Flynn reminds us that “Of course there is nothing wrong with paying attention to your dog. Just not every time he tells you to! Teaching your dog that you are not going to pay attention to him whenever he demands it is crucial to being successful with having your dog at work.” Spending time purposely and intentionally ignoring your dog will help him be more comfortable for those times that you really do need to focus on finishing that report instead of massaging your dog’s ears.
All professional dog trainers agree that consistency is important. Practice and teach your dog first at home where there will be less distraction. If the only time you are telling your dog to go to his “Place” is when your boss is coming down the hallway you don’t stand a chance. Incorporate these exercises into your daily life with your dog so that he understands the rules in all contexts.
Being successful at teaching your dog these three crucial things will determine whether or not having a dog at work will reduce stress for you and your co-workers or cause a feud in the office.
For more tips on how to successfully bring your dog to work please visit http://Truetodogs.com
Lisa Flynn is a trusted authority on dog training and animal behavior. Ms. Flynn has been certified as a master trainer by the National K9 School for Dog Trainers and is a professional member of the International Association of Canine Professionals. She has spoken to thousands on such topics as Behavior Modification, Obedience Training, and Leadership. TruetoDogs is headquartered in Boston, MA, USA. Lisa has personally trained over 5,000 dogs and their owners.
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True to Dogs offers tips, techniques, and insider secrets from a professional dog trainer.
True to Dogs, not exclusively, but primarily helps women dog owners gain control of their dogs and develop a better relationship with their pets.