The ten worst things your dog can do in the office

As the nation starts to head back to desktop computers and ten minute tea breaks, Alexandra Fraser lives in fear of Wilfred disgracing himself as a new office dog.

I always knew the day would come when Wilf would have to become an office dog, and if I’m honest, I was dreading it.

Not because he’s a bad dog by any stretch of the imagination, and not because I didn’t think he could handle it. But because if I had to be in an office for at least two days a week and he hated it, we would have a problem.

Wilf's new view - Hammersmith Bridge in the sunshine.

Wilf’s new view – Hammersmith Bridge in the sunshine.

I’d gone over my options in my head a million times before I took Wilf home. For one, I was convinced that I would never want to work in an office full time again. I had transferable skills, I could always start my own business. And if all else failed, Wilf and I could move to Scotland and start our own doggy commune.

‘So, how many days do you think you’ll be in the office?’

Even so, I dreaded it.

My recent job move was a rapid one – I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on my first day, by my new boss’s opening line was music to my ears: ‘So, how many days do you think you’ll be in the office?’

Wilf's other office - a boathouse in Hampshire.

Wilf’s other office – a boathouse in Hampshire.

Flexibility is key when you’re a dog owner. Being able to pick and choose when I went into the office meant that there was only one day a week where Wilf had to join me in the car for the drive from Winch to London.

There were things I did to make Wilf’s transition to office dog easier. For the last week of home working I tethered him to the kitchen table and put his bed by my chair – he slept there anyway most days.

‘He did once try to mark the curtains of my favourite lunchtime cafe on the week he learned to lift his leg up’

I made sure that he had toys that would entertain him in smaller spaces. I took him out for regular walks in between zoom meetings. I made sure he was used to travelling in the crate with me.

For the most part, he’s a good boy. His first day in the office was marred only by a minor barking fit. He’s had a few incidents where he’s been none-too-pleased with the length of a meeting, but luckily he’s very cute.

Wilf the cocker spaniel looks out the window

Is it time to go home yet?

Anyway, I digress. To the list!

The ten worst things your dog can do in the office

Continuous Barking. This is top of my list because of the expanding waves of disruption they deliver from the epicentre of your desk. Wilf is fairly vocal by nature, especially when he gets bored. Once that happens there’s no warning whine, it’s 0 to 100 decibels in a millisecond flat.

Unsavoury deposits. Thankfully, Wilf has not disgraced himself in the office. That being said, he did once try to mark the curtains of my favourite lunchtime cafe on the week he learned to lift his leg up.

Chew the furniture. As a general point, you should check that the lever that stops the table rolling away in meeting room 2 cannot be chewed off.

Bark specifically loudly at your mother’s new boss on her second day in the office. And ignore all of his (and her) attempts to calm you down. Continue to bark at your mother’s feet regardless of the treats she offers. Leave her having to awkwardly laugh and say “he’s just really tired.” Stop barking the minute he walks away. Fall asleep immediately.

Pretend to forget colleagues who were your best friends yesterday. And make your mother explain away your intentional rudeness with “I think he’s still got too much energy from the car ride!”

Climb directly onto the table in the building’s oldest conference room during a budget meeting. No apologies were made.

Refuse to make friends with other office dogs. Luckily the only other dog in the office at the minute is a Newfoundland called Mabel. Wilf seems to realise that should he annoy her, she could eat him. He submits and rolls over as soon as she enters a room.

(On a serious note, this can get really awkward and I feel for you if it’s happening to you. Just do your best to chat to the owner and come up with a solution – leads, separate sides of the office, crates etc.)

Single out the finance director as another barking target. Again, these points are very general and could apply to any dog in any workplace.

Stick their nose into other people’s bags. “It’s alright, it’s fine.” Wendy says politely as I pull Wilf’s head from her rucksack. You’re lovely Wendy but we both know it’s not fine and that my dog has no manners. I apologise.

Not be cute enough to pull all of the above off without criticism. We’re lucky he’s cute.

New to The Puppy Diaries? Catch up on Wilf’s antics here!