Dog-Friendly Work Environment: 4 Essential Tips for Remote Workers

The rise of remote work has transformed traditional office setups into custom home offices, co-working spaces, and digital nomad destinations.

What makes remote work even more desirable and fulfilling is its flexibility and autonomy—and notably, the integration of our personal lives into our workspaces.

One aspect of merging our personal lives with work is the concept of pet-friendly workplaces. It applies to both on-site and remote roles.

Picture this: you’ve landed your dream work-from-home job and can now work in the company of your dog. Fulfilling, right?

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.” — Doris Day

Dogs can bring a sense of comfort, joy, and normalcy to your workdays. They’re like your co-workers, offering silent support during challenging tasks and serving as a playful distraction during breaks.

So, how do you create a dog-friendly work environment at home? You need to create a dedicated space and routines for your furry friend. This article examines these and more tips to help you make your home office dog-friendly.

But first, the top benefits of a dog-friendly workplace include:

Tip 1 - Create a Dedicated Space for Your Dog

dog lying on carpet, upside down collie

Photo by Mike McCune

You’ve set up your remote work office. Now it’s time to create a dedicated space for your dog. Think of it like your pup’s own little “office” within your home. Sure. It might seem cute at first to have them curled up on your keyboard, but the novelty wears off quickly.

A dedicated workspace makes it convenient when working with your dog and enhances your overall productivity.

A study by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) found that pets in the workplace are good for employee morale, which in turn is good for business. This applies to your remote work environment as well.

The dedicated workspace should be close enough for you to keep an eye on your pet, but not so close that your dog becomes a constant distraction. If possible, choose a quiet area where your dog won’t be disturbed by outside noise or other household activities.

A separate space for your dog is so important because it:

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. So, consider your dog’s size, breed, and temperament when setting up their space. For example, smaller dogs may feel more secure in a compact area, while larger breeds may require more room to stretch out.

Key Takeaway:

Your workspace doesn't have to be a whole separate room. A designated corner or quiet area can work just as well, as long as it offers some visual separation for both you and your furry coworker.

Tip 2 - Establish a Routine (for You and Your Dog)

dog owner petting their pups at the park

Photo by PNW Production

Dogs thrive better on routines. And setting a routine can help them understand when it’s time to work, play, eat, and rest. This can also help prevent unwanted behaviors like barking or chewing during your work hours.

Studies also show that a daily routine gives dogs a sense of security and predictability. This translates into a calmer and happier pup, which makes for a more harmonious work-from-home environment.

Here's how to create a reliable routine for you and your dog:

Leave some room for flexibility because no routine is perfect. Think of the impromptu work calls or odd vet appointments that throw things off temporarily.

Not sure how to create a daily routine for your dog when working from home? The table below shows a sample daily routine for a dog.

Time Block Your Activity Dog's Activity
7:00–8:00 AM Morning walk & breakfast Eats breakfast, supervised potty time in the yard
8:00–10:00 AM Focused work session Settles with a long-lasting chew or puzzle toy
10:00–10:15 AM Break Quick playtime (fetch, tug, or a short walk)
10:15–12:00 PM Calls & meetings Naps or relaxes in their designated space
12:00–1:00 PM Lunch break Lunch followed by a midday walk and potty break
1:00–3:00 PM Afternoon work tasks Independent playtime with a variety of toys
3:00–3:15 PM Break Brief training session or cuddle time
3:15–5:00 PM Wrap up work Supervised free time or another enrichment activity
5:00–6:00 PM Evening walk & dinner Eats dinner, relaxes while you prepare your meal

Tip 3 - Balance Work and Play

dog sitting on person’s lap at home office setup

“I want to work like a dog, doing what I was born to do with joy and purpose. I want to play like a dog, with total, jolly abandon.” — Oprah Winfrey

In a dog-friendly home office, work and place balance is beyond managing your professional responsibilities and personal downtime. It’s also about ensuring that your dog lives their best life, right alongside you.

Here are some strategies to help you strike the right balance:

While you can work the above strategies seamlessly in your work routine, don’t forget to take advantage of work breaks. Remote work doesn’t mean you’re stuck to your desk all day.

Include your furry friend in your breaks to get the most out of them. For example, you can use breaks to get some fresh air and sunshine alongside your dog. It’s a great way to reset your mental state and avoid burnout during long workdays.

Tip 4 - Train Your Dog for Work Environment

dog wearing glasses in front of MacBook Pro

Look. Creating a dog-friendly work environment at home involves more than just allowing your furry friend to sit beside you as you work. It requires an approach that includes training your dog to adapt to your work schedule and environment.

Start by teaching your dog to understand the boundaries of your workspace. Use a command like “leave” to keep them out of your workspace when you’re working.

Train your dog to understand that loud noises can disrupt your work. Use a command like “quiet” when they start barking or making noise.

What if your dog is the visual type? Add some fun to your workspace by using some signals. For example, use a ‘Do Not Disturb’ signal, like a specific collar or bandana, to let your dog know when you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed.

Sometimes your dog might not be comfortable being alone for periods. You need to teach them to practice some alone time. For example, leave them alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration. This will help reduce separation anxiety and allow you to focus on your work that requires 100% concentration.

Always reward your dog for good behavior with treats, praise, or toys. Such rewards reinforce the specific good behavior and encourage them to repeat it.

The table below is a quick summary of basic dog training commands for a homework environment.

Command Purpose Training Tips
“Quiet” To stop barking during calls Reward silence with treats
“Off” To prevent jumping on furniture Teach an alternative behavior like “Sit”
“Place” To stay in a specific area Start with short durations and gradually increase
“Leave it” To avoid distractions like cords Practice with different objects
“Settle” To calm down and relax Use in conjunction with a specific spot like a bed

Make Your WFH Environment Dog-Friendly

woman working on phone with their pup on couch

Photo by RDNE Stock Project

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” — John Grogan.

Grogan’s words paint the longing our furry friends feel when we’re away. But this waiting game changes in today’s work-from-home environments.

Now, our dogs don’t have to spend their days waiting for our return. Instead, they can be right there with us, sharing our workspace, and providing companionship and joy throughout the day.

By making our home offices dog-friendly, we not only enhance our dogs’ lives but also improve our own work experiences.

After all, a happy dog makes for a happy owner, and a happy owner makes for a productive worker.

Nondiah Khalayi

This article was written by Nondiah Khalayi, our cherished author and storyteller from Nairobi.