5 Tips to Communicating with Office Dogs
October 8, 2019
This week we have a 4-month old little one joining the TalkMeUp team. His name is Otto and like most babies, he walks on four feet. Unlike most babies, he can’t wear a diaper, which means our CEO JJ is now on poo patrol around the office.
Here’s a picture of him:
Otto the German Shepherd
Since Otto’s joining our family, and we’re all about better communication here at TalkMeUp, I want to write a blog post about how you can communicate better with the doggos in your office. A lack of proper communication between people and dogs can lead to unwanted incidents at work, like dog aggression, excessive barking or wild jumping, all of which can be avoided.
So whether it’s a resident pup or one of your colleagues’ dogs on a visit, keep these tips in mind if you want to get man’s best friend to wag their tail in the best way.
Give the dog a neutral space and take it for a communal walk
If the dog is new to the office, you want to introduce it in a neutral, open space so the dog feels safe and respected. Once they’re comfortable, take them on a communal office walk so the dog becomes familiar with the people and setting.
Use calming signals
Often, dogs need weeks to feel comfortable in the office. Do your part to make this transition easier by using calming signals that tell the dog there’s no reason to be anxious. Speak in a slightly higher-pitched, soothing voice; approach them at a curved angle instead of directly; lick your lips, yawn, and look away to show you’re friendly and boundary-conscious.
Use appropriate eye contact
As far as eye contact goes: build trust by turning your head away from the dog or averting your eyes until the dog comes to you on their own. Avoid staring with hard eye contact.
Watch their body language
Our furry friends are masters at nonverbal communication. Watch out for a dog that has pinback ears or curls in retreat—they’re either anxious or scared. If a dog’s ears are forward or raised, the dog is comfortable, alert, and in an assertive position– that’s the kind of body language that gets them to open up and be playful.
Don’t do the following with the office dog: tower over the dog (that’s intimidating—instead crouch or kneel); stare with hard eye contact (that’s intimidating too); or hug the dog (unfortunately, they don’t enjoy it).