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Our Dog Friendly Workplace Policy, why and how it works

A Dog-Friendly Workplace

Trakstar is home to great employees and their dogs. The pets in our office bring joy and companionship and add to our culture. We enjoy their playfulness and the connections we make with the dogs and with each other through them.

A few things made the inclusion of dogs in our workplace an easier fit.

  1. Our office is located in a renovated, 1920’s auto showroom. It’s pretty cool. The walls are brick and the floor is concrete. We have floor to ceiling windows, with cubes around the perimeter and a big open space in the middle. The space is bright.
  2. There’s a record store beneath us. That’s to say that a dog’s occasional bark will likely be quieter than whatever bass-thumping is coming from their space.
  3. Our landlord does not object, and the building manager knows the dogs.
  4. Our liability insurance does not have an exclusion for dogs, and a part of our policy requires that pet owners carry a homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy that does not have dog bite or breed exclusions.
  5. We have conference rooms for quiet activities.
  6. There’s no carpet to worry about, and our furniture is comfortable yet modest.  This makes for easy maintenance and housekeeping with dogs.

Just in case you are considering something similar at your company, here’s an outline of the pet-friendly workplace policy we designed. We borrowed pieces and parts of policies we saw in other places, then compiled our own.

http://trupanion.com/pets-in-the-workplace/getting-started

http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/general/workplace/petpolicy.shtml

Basic Agreements in the Company Dog Policy

Collectively, we agree that dogs are a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. Here’s an overview of our company dog policies included in the Trakstar Employee Handbook. These might be helpful when building your own company dog policy.

At Trakstar, we have the privilege of being a dog-friendly workplace. Pet owners shall be respectfully attentive to coworkers who may be uncomfortable or distracted by the pet’s behavior and proactively address distractions as well as be open to co-workers suggestions on how to improve distractions.

  • Dog owners are 100% responsible, 100% of the time, for their pet’s wellbeing, behavior, Behavior, and biological needs, including: scooping, bagging, cleaning, and sanitizing as needed.
  • Dog owners must maintain a homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy that does NOT exclude dog bites or have specific breed exclusions. This is to protect both Trakstar and the employee.
  • Dogs must be at least 12 months old.
  • Dog owners must clean up after their dog goes to the bathroom outside. Waste should be disposed of properly in a trash receptacle outside.

All pets MUST be:

  1. Owned and housed by pet owner for at least 30 days
  2. Current on vaccinations including DDTP and Rabies, at all times
  3. Parasite-free (fleas, ticks, etc.)
  4. Spayed or neutered
  5. Obedient
  6. Potty trained and of good hygiene (e.g., no foul, unpleasant or strong odors).
  7. Positively attended to 100% of the time
  8. Covered under the owner’s homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, which must cover dog bites and have no breed exclusions.

NO pet shall:

  • Exhibit aggressive behavior
  • Be disruptive to co-workers, and/or inhibit work productivity
  • Bark excessively

Pet Profile and Waiver of Liability

Owner’s Name:

Pet’s Name:

Breed:

Age:

How long have you owned him/her?

Spayed or Neutered? Yes or No

Male or Female?

Any food restrictions?

Does your pet have any current health concerns?

Has your pet ever displayed any aggressive tendencies (growling, lunging, nipping, biting, etc.) towards humans or pets? If yes, please explain.

Do you anticipate chewing problems (wires, trash, food, etc.) Yes or No. If yes, please explain.

Did you disclose all pertinent health or behavioral concerns?

Please explain any other information that Trakstar, Inc. should be aware of:

WAIVER OF LIABILITY:

In consideration of being permitted to bring one’s dog to the work place, I _________________ (the dog owner) does hereby unconditionally release, indemnify, waive, discharge and agree to hold harmless Promantek, Inc. from any loss, damage, liability and expense, including court costs and attorney fees, that may be incurred as a result of injuries, including death to persons or dogs, or damage to property, directly or indirectly associated with the owner bringing his/her dog to the work place, whether caused by the negligence of other staff or guests, or otherwise.

Additionally, I am willing accept that my dog may be the aggressor in a fight; willing to accept responsibility for any costs incurred if my dog bites another person or destroys individual or company property, willing to provide evidence of my homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy if requested by management, and willing to accept cues from co-workers about my dog’s behavior, without defensiveness, if concerns are brought forward to me about my pet.

BY SIGNING THIS AUTHORIZATION AND RELEASE, THE DOG OWNER EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGES AND REPRESENTS that he/she has carefully read the foregoing terms and conditions, understands the contents thereof and signs voluntarily; he/she is at least eighteen (18) years of age and fully competent; and executes this Authorization and Release intending that he/she, his/her spouse and family members, and his/her heirs, assigns and personal representatives if deceased, be legally bound by same.

A Dog Calendar

Additionally, our employees started a Dog Calendar (on Google Docs) where employees may schedule a day to bring their dog to work. This allows employees to plan so that the office will have a maximum of 3 dogs in the office at a time, and helps keep the dog party to a low roar.