I was not a dog person. I’ve been told when I was two years old I was mauled by a family dog. Perhaps I’ve had a subconscious fear of dogs for a long time. As I grew older, I came to think dogs were much like kids – an entertaining responsibility… a responsibility that never ends. Dogs need a lot of things – constant walks, vet appointments, boarding appointments, medicines. When my wife brought home several dogs to watch over the course of several months my position didn’t change much. Then, one dog, Wobbit was house trained and could relieve herself on blue pads. Suddenly this seemed like a panacea. The dog, however, was not easy to care for and had separation anxiety. After much stress in my wife’s life in recent weeks, I decided to cave on getting a dog. She lived with dogs her whole life and my siblings had some well-behaved dogs, so I became warmed to the idea of caring for a small furry animal.
Working with a Dog in the Home Office
While Wobbit was an ill-behaved dog, I noticed she did behave when I was working at my computer or, surprisingly, on the phone talking to clients. What I came to learn is that dogs love being around people. In fact, they get stressed when they can’t see you and when you leave for the day. But if they can see you and are in the same room with you, they are super relaxed and content.
Picking the Right Dog for the Home Office
I am not a dog expert, but I do believe certain dogs are best for “working” with you in your home office. For me, I now have a Shih Tzu mix named Waffle. Shih Tzus are perfect home office companions. They are relaxed and while they do need you around, they don’t bark a lot like terriers. Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean it would be a good fit for working at home. I would expect large dogs to get in your face more and possibly knock things over in your office. Ask a friend or look online for breed characteristics. Dogs, just like people, are individuals so they may have more extreme or subdued characteristics.
The key is having a dog that is calm and can let you just work.
I’m currently have an unexpected problem with Waffle… he’s peeing under my desk. I don’t have the heart to lock him up in his crate, so I’ll need to explore some options.
Not Convinced a Dog is Right for your Home Office?
Cats – cats are great home office companions. They pretty much keep to themselves and only meow when they need food. They love to lounge.
If you still want a dog but are not entirely sure if it’s a good fit, you can split the difference and work in a co-working space for part of the day if you need to get away from your dog. Some co-working spaces like Local Office in Houston have a “community dog” that roams mostly unnoticed in common areas of an office building.
Dogs are Business Partners
If you have a home office, chances are you will get lonely. Dogs make excellent “silent” partners. I think you can be more productive when you don’t feel so lonely.
Network with Ease When Walking Your Dog
Here in Houston, I walk a lot. People rarely if ever speak to me when walking. I figured it was mostly because I’m a little on the larger side at 6 feet, weigh close to 200 pounds, and have facial hair. Turns out people LOVE to talk to me when I walk my dog. It’s an opener. Every good salesperson knows icebreakers are a must. Most people have good associations with dogs, and through what psychiatrists call transference, those good associations can be transferred to YOU.
Since people will easily talk to you when walking the dog, maybe you can try to network and make some deals. Perhaps they will “throw you a bone” … (pun absolutely intended).
Give a Home Office Dog a Try
Actually, it’s pretty easy to release a dog to new owners if you find your home office dog isn’t a fit. I’ve found that as long as the dog is fairly young and cute someone will make a new home for the dog right away. So try getting a home office dog now!!