Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Bizarre Behaviors Pets Fear Jokes and Jokers

The owner of the company brings his dog to work, and I've always been afraid of dogs. The owner half-jokingly says that his dog is the best judge of people, and since the dog snarls at me, I must have some kind of problem. How does this sound to you?

There are increasing numbers of pets at work these days, including dogs, cats, birds, and bunnies, and concern about a manager showing favoritism toward a pet has taken on a whole new meaning. Either way, no matter what kind of pet may be in the company menagerie, it should not be snarling at anyone.

Pets in the work environment have been linked to reduced stress and tension, along with an increased sense of family atmosphere, but this is not the case when such pets view various employees as possible intruders or biscuits. Although the owner may claim that if his pet is snarling at you, the problem must be you, the real problem is the pet and the owner.

If the owner enjoys seeing employees squirm in the presence of his pet, then the owner as well as his pet could use some obedience training. The snarling pet may be a funny joke for him, but there is not much laughter when increases in tension cause an accident, when communication lines are blocked because employees fear going into the owner's office, or when an employee contacts an attorney because poochie's bite was worse than its bark.

When you need to meet with the owner, ask him to please put the dog on a leash, let it go for a walk, have it fetch the paper, or have it occupied or restrained in some other way. This should not create a problem, but if it does, then perhaps the whole company is going to the dogs.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!