Decoding dog behavior and understanding why our dogs act the way they do is important, not only at home but in the workplace.
With pets in the workplace on the rise, understanding what our dog is trying to communicate could not only help with ease the transition of a new pet in the workplace but also help alert owners or walkers of a potential “hair-raising” situation.
We all want our pups to have a wonderful experience at the office, so we sat down with our Trupanion pet program professionals to learn more about the behavior signs to watch out for and tips to achieve the best pup behavior in the workplace.
Decoding dog behavior: interpreting dog body language in the workplace
Dog body language
The ability to understand dog body language is important in and outside the office setting. Dog body language as a whole can indicate the state of mind or excitement level of a pup. “Understanding dog body language is important because it is your dog’s way of communicating to you and other dog’s, “states in-house animal behaviorist Camille Barrios UW-A.A.B. “We need to learn their language to interpret what they are saying to us in order to create a better, stronger bond and relationship with them.”
Types of tail wags
Often people assume that a tail wag is a good sign, but not necessarily. In fact, there are different types of tail wags that can indicate the different emotional states for a pup. If a dog has an overly stiff and quick tail wag, it could indicate the pup is anxious, overly excited, or uncomfortable. In contrast, a loose tail wag could indicate a happy and comfortable furry friend.
When assessing the type of tail wag your pup is exhibiting, also be aware of the environment. If your dog is in a new space, such as their first time in the office, they might be anxious or stressed. “By keeping a crate or dog bed in your workspace, it provides the opportunity for your pup to retreat to a safe space if they need to,” says Trupanion pet program manager J. Marmol.
Decoding dog behavior: five warning signs to watch out for
When a dog is trying to communicate they often exhibit warning signs of their mood before it becomes an escalated situation.
Here are five warning signs to watch for with our furry friends in the workplace.
1) Pinback ears
Pinback ears could indicate the dog is anxious.
2) Curl in/ retreat
If a dog is wanting to retreat or curl inwards, they might be feeling scared or uncomfortable with their surroundings.
3) Ears forward
In contrast to pinned ears, ears forward could indicate a dog that is super alert and is in a dominant stance.
A yawn is not only an indication of being tired but also a sign of anxiety. Unless you have had a full day of exercise, and if your pup is interacting with another dog at work, it might be a sign they need space.
When a dog is panting, it also can be a sign for anxiety. “If you are sitting in a cool room, and your pup is panting, they could be feeling anxious,” points out Barrios. Often, panting and yawning are behaviors that are exhibited together when a pup is experiencing stress and anxiety.
Decoding dog behavior: dog stretching and bowing
If you see your dog stretching and bowing, they might not just be stretching.
When a dog is stretching and bowing they are sending out a welcome greeting to you. “This is often a good sign to look for in an office space, as the dog is in a relaxed state. If you walk by a cubicle and see this, the dog is indicating they trust and like you,” explains Marmol. This decoding dog behavior tip is a great welcome addition to see in your workspace.
Five tips to achieve best dog behavior in office
Pick a neutral workspace for dog’s to be introduced and interact.
A communal dog walk might be a great way to introduce dog workspace mates.
Recognize behavior cues
Recognize and pay attention to your pup’s behavioral cues and what they are trying to communicate to you.
Don’t make assumptions
Don’t make assumptions on another pet’s behavior. For instance, how your pet exhibits stress and anxiety might be different than another.
Be mindful and watchful of your pup in any new environment, especially the workplace. Likewise, a new environment can be stressful for some pets, so pay attention to any new behaviors or warning signs.
Communication and dogs in the workplace
It is important to have an open line of communication and talk with your veterinarian if you feel your pet is experiencing any issues in the workplace. Also, in a workplace where there are multiple pets, talking with your co-workers about mapping out a plan for your pet’s daily interaction.
By assessing your pup’s body language in the workplace and watching out for behavior cues and warning signs it can help ensure a safe and fun work environment for your furry friend.