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Vincent Grovestine
Vincent Grovestine

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Office Dogs

Technically, my workplace isn't dog-friendly, but since it's the last Friday before Christmas, I'm breaking the rules. These are my 4-legged coworkers for the day.

Dec 22/17 office chihuahuas

Does anyone else bring their dogs to the office? Do you find it has a positive (or negative) effect on morale and productivity?

Top comments (11)

ditn profile image
Adam Bennett • Edited

We have dogs in the office fairly regularly, including puppies. Personally I find it quite distracting at times, but there's no doubt that having dogs in the office raises everyone's spirits. I'd much rather have dogs in the office than not, I can always hide somewhere if they're being noisy.

This is Leeloo, she's the co-founder's dog. She's a beaut.


mattstratton profile image
Matty Stratton • Edited

My office is my house, erm, I meant that the other way around.

I wish we could have a dog in the office, but my wife says no.

However, we have a cat. I always hated cats before, but Fancy is great. I still hate cats. I just love Fancy.

amcaplan profile image
Ariel Caplan • Edited

Someone's gotta be the Debbie Downer here, so:

I volunteer!

True story: Once upon a time, my family and I moved across an ocean to a faraway land. We were going to stay at some family initially, and then move into a more permanent location. We reached our destination... and a few hours later we were in an emergency clinic because my 5-months-pregnant wife couldn't breathe. The reason: They have cats, and apparently she's deathly allergic to them.

I get the idea of offices being baby- and child-friendly. Yes, it creates distractions for people (though it wouldn't if open-office plans weren't standard!) but it allows parents to have a sane work-life balance, lets moms get back to work while breastfeeding exclusively, lets parents not miss a day of work if kids are sick, etc. No one's saying it's good because it "raises spirits" or whatever nonsense. It's a practical accommodation that, yes, hurts the workplace somewhat but at the same time makes it a more humane environment, which is more important.

Having dogs in the office isn't about making the environment more humane. It's about preferring certain people's definition of fun over others' comfort. I strongly questioned whether I'd take my current job (at a company I love enough to have stuck with for the last 3+ years!) because there was an office dog. I'm not against people having dogs in their homes. Put whatever you want in your home, what do I care? But leave it there. I have no interest in smelling the dog, listening to it bark or growl, getting licked by the animal against my will, and thank goodness I'm not allergic because that's more important than everything else combined.

I'm not comfortable around dogs, never have been, never will. There are a lot of people like me. And no one wants to be the person who says "Yeah, I'd love to come work with you, but I'm allergic to dogs" or "I'm not comfortable around dogs, so ditch the animal and I'll join your team." Most people who aren't comfortable around dogs just won't want to come to work for you.

And honestly, of all the things we do as an industry to alienate people and unnecessarily thin out our candidate pool, this is probably the easiest to fix.

Then there's the other problem, that it's eventually going to happen that a new hire or a client comes to the office and goes into anaphylactic shock because they didn't realize it was a pet-friendly office and they're allergic to dogs/cats/whatever. Here's a not-lethal-but-still-horrible story: (you can get a sense of it from the URL...)

The only exception I'd make is for service dogs. It is VERY important that we figure out how to accommodate people who need service dogs. Because that is actually about creating a humane environment.

P.S. Drop me a unicorn if you agree, comment if you think I'm off my rocker here.

EDIT: Apparently you can only leave unicorns for post authors, and this is just a comment, so hearts only. I'm super bummed now.

amcaplan profile image
Ariel Caplan

So this wasn't even my original thought, but apparently dog-friendly offices are likely harming their diversity efforts: African Americans, people middle-aged and above, and women are all more likely than young white dudes to be afraid of dogs.


You can see pull quotes on this Twitter thread:

vgrovestine profile image
Vincent Grovestine

I'm late getting back to my own post... Took a much needed break from the computer over the holidays!

So, the furkids came to the office with me on the last day before the Christmas break. My dogs were quite well behaved. Most disruptions came from coworkers: Pet the dogs, baby-talk to the dogs, discuss the dogs, etc. Thankfully I didn't have much real work planned that day. :)

The day before I brought the dogs to work, I asked my office-neighbours if they would mind having four-legged visitors. No one objected, but had someone preferred I not bring them in for whatever reason, my dogs would have remained at home.

The day of their visit, I constructed a makeshift gate from a couple cardboard boxes so that the dogs would remain in my office and not wander the department at large. Again, as a courtesy to my coworkers.

As I said, the day's disruptions were not directly caused by my dogs--they sat quietly on the couch much of the time (as per the picture). Interruptions from coworkers at the novelty of having pups at work for the day was the problem.

If the "no dogs at work" rule was lifted tomorrow, would I bring my pups to the office daily? Probably not! They're great company, but their presence hinders high-concentration work. (Impossible to achieve "flow" when there's someone at my door every 30 minutes to visit the dogs!)

I might, however, consider bringing them to the office on say Fridays, or even just one day a month, as a morale booster. I'm sure once the novelty of having dogs visit the office wore off that disruptions would subside.

darjun0812 profile image

Animals (any kind) and plants (any kind) are always a plus for me! Super powerful morale boosts which then leads to greater productivity in my opinion! I've worked at a VERY dog friendly office in the past - where dogs would run around and chase each other, the noise and random yelps were actually helpful during the day in giving me a jolt during afternoon slumps!

rickhanlonii profile image
Rick Hanlon • Edited

I also used the holiday to break the rules, here's Eloise at my desk!

The response was universally positive, although half the office was either out or remote that day. After talking with a few co-workers we agreed that this was more of a special occasion scenario due to the distraction, foot traffic, and office size.

carlymho profile image
Carly Ho 🌈 • Edited

I have co-workers with various animal allergies, so no office animals (...I'm also not sure if our building would allow it), but we do have a slack channel for sharing pictures of our furry friends, and it's very popular!

(ps your dogs are very cute)

haydndias profile image
Haydn Dias

We have dogs in all the time, a small software house in the countryside (about 15 of us in the office which we own), we have 2-3 regular dogs which are in most days, and then other dogs come into visit occasionally, it's great for morale, especially on dreary days!

aarohmankad profile image
Aaroh Mankad

I don't have a dog, but I think bringing dogs to the office is a great boost to morale!

However, I can definitely see it getting distracting and hurting productivity of some people, especially in addition to a large open-office floor plan.

A good middle ground might be to have dedicated rooms/areas for pets?

stealthmusic profile image
Jan Wedel

We have an office of about 200 people and one dog (not mine). It’s a rather small and cute little one, however I know a colleague who is very afraid of dogs. The dog was there before her and obviously it’s hard to ask every new colleague if it’s ok and there is no official policy if it’s ok or not. But If it was my dog, I wouldn’t bring it to office since unless I am very shure that every one is OK with it.