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ETIQUETTE AT WORK

Man’s best friend must behave at work

Avery came into my office a little while ago. She rubbed up against me, started panting, and getting excited, and then lay down and rolled over for a tummy rub. Avery, as you might have surmised, is my dog, a 10-year-old black Lab, for whom tummy rubs are the ultimate joy in life. Well, perhaps only surpassed by a treat.

One of my great stress releases is rubbing Avery’s tummy. She is simply in heaven, and no amount of belly rub is too much. There is a real satisfaction in having such a simple act deliver so much pleasure.

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Avery is an office dog. When she comes to the office, she greets you with tail wagging a mile a minute. You think it’s her joy in seeing you, but in reality it’s in anticipation of the treat you now have to give her.

Dogs can be a boon to the atmosphere in the office, a tonic for the stress of the working environment. But they must also meet company standards. The main issue is the office dog absolutely, positively must present the same positive image of your workplace that (hopefully) all the employees present.

Having worked with dogs at both the Emily Post Institute and at an advertising agency I ran for 20 years, three inviolable rules for having dogs at the office stand out:

The dog must be under control. Visitors shouldn’t be accosted by an animal that charges up to them as they arrive, or who jumps up on them in greeting. If there is any question at all about a visitor’s discomfort with a dog, the dog should be removed. The best way to be sure the dog is under control is to have it on a leash and to have a pet gate on an office door so visitors are protected from an overly rambunctious greeting.

The dog can’t be a barker. Not only is the barking annoying to people in your office, it is disturbing to business neighbors nearby.

The dog can’t make messes. It should be obvious that a dog that can’t wait to go outside when nature calls is a dog that can’t come to the office. On the plus side, a short walk outside is good not only for the dog, but also for the employee dog walker. In addition, the dog owner should make sure that any shed hair is routinely cleaned up.

E-mail questions about business etiquette to etiquetteatwork@emilypost.com.
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