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Man’s best friend: Learn about the benefits to the workplace

FOR millions of dog owners, the last two years or so has brought a stronger bond between them and their pets. Now, as millions of us return to the workplace and the post-pandemic age begins, employers are being urged to consider the benefits of allowing dogs into the workplace.

Better mental health and wellbeing, reduced stress levels, higher staff morale and a reason for a break from the office to take in some fresh air are among the reasons, according to research.

Indeed, a recent study by separation anxiety expert and author Julie Naismith reveals that 85% of those surveyed would consider taking time off sick to look after their pets. And 54% of pet owners would consider quitting their job if their employer did not allow them to bring their dog to work.

Now, with many employers not fully understanding the implications of having a dog in the workplace, a new online course is available to enable employers and employees to welcome dogs in the workplace responsibly and safely.

The Dogs in the Workplace online course, delivered by the National Pet College in Olney, aims to give  assurance to both management and team members that dogs in the workplace is a positive step for the business to take. The NPC’s online training portal will guide learners through a six-step process to overcome the challenges and develop a positive, dog-friendly culture.

The course focuses on the sensible and robust procedures that should be in place to protect the business, colleagues and clients and to ensure the welfare of the dogs. This includes risk assessments and how to develop a ‘doggy code of conduct’. Dog owners also receive basic guidance in dog behaviour.

“The demand for dogs in workplaces has increased significantly since lockdown ended and we believe that soon dogs could become a permanent fixture in many offices, supporting their owners with wellbeing and enhancing the work/life balance,” says Vicky Skinner, the National Pet College’s head of education.

“We have long been aware of the benefits of having dogs in the workplace, be it as companionship or as therapy. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of these benefits, including productivity, employee morale and attracting new talent and, with the right training, will be suitably equipped with the tools to ensure that dogs are integrated into the workplace smoothly and with consideration to other staff and the dog’s welfare.”

The National Pet College is the first education provider in the UK to recognise the need to deliver such training and provide accreditation that will ensure both employers and employees feel confident about having dogs in their place of work, she adds

The initiative and training course is supported by the Pet Industry Federation – the membership association for the industry specialists – and the magazine DogFriendly.

National Pet College delivers Ofqual-regulated qualifications and professional training courses for pet professionals throughout the UK aimed at ensuring that pet professionals meet the welfare needs of the animals in their care. 

It works with Ofqual-regulated awarding bodies and training partners including the Pet Industry Federation, City & Guilds, Pearson, LANTRA, City of London Corporation and the Pet Accountant.

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