Dog Policy

Introduction

This is the SparkFun Electronics Dog Policy. It is a living document used to govern the perk of bringing dogs to work as an employee of SparkFun. The canonical form of this document lives in SparkFun’s internal wiki site. This version is up to date as of January 24, 2014.

License Information

This document is open sourced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Dogs with Guests of SparkFun

This is the internal company policy for employees bringing dogs to work. If you are a guest of SparkFun and wish to bring your dog with you do not assume that’s okay - please ask your contact at SparkFun first.


Bringing Issues to the Dog Tribunal

If there is ever an issue with a dog, please add a note to the dog tribunal complaint box and it will be addressed at the next tribunal meeting. If the issue requires immediate attention please find an acting dog tribunal member or talk to HR if a tribunal member is not available.

Definition of the Dog Perk

The Dog Perk is indeed a perk and not a benefit. This means you are not entitled to bringing your dog to work, and if you are in violation of certain dog rules or values, the Dog Tribunal can decide that you can’t bring your dog to work anymore. It’s like having a driver’s license - it can be taken away. Act accordingly!

Foundational Values

We expect everyone at SparkFun to intrinsically hold these values near and dear to their hearts and act accordingly… even when no one else is around!

  1. Safe: Coming to work at SparkFun should not be a fearful experience for anyone. If you bring your dog to work, you are responsible for ensuring the physical safety of those around you.
  2. Clean: No one at SparkFun should expect to have to work around excrement, offensive dog smell, excessive dog hair, slobber, and so on. If you bring your dog to work, we expect that you keep a clean, hygienic office environment. This includes the environment inside the building as well as outside the building.
  3. Productive: There are good and truly measurable benefits to having dogs at work, such as reducing stress and improving productivity. But dogs can also cause negative and disruptive distractions that inhibit morale and productivity. Understand that not everyone loves dogs the way you might, and individual tolerances for dog behavior may vary. If you bring your dog to work, we expect that you minimize the negative impact of any sort of distractions your dog may cause.
  4. Profitable: We believe that having dogs here will have a negligible impact on our profitability. If your dog causes negative distractions, destroys SparkFun property (inventory, equipment, furnishings, grounds, etc.), or causes lawsuits or negative press, you are costing the company money. We expect you to minimize any negative impact your dog could have on SparkFun’s cash flow.
  5. Individually Accountable: We expect that everyone here is a reasonable, mature person with the ability to think on your feet and make responsible decisions. We expect you to be capable of reading other people’s body language and gauging whether someone is fearful, happy, distracted, and so on. We expect you to understand the effects your actions have on those around you and the company as a whole. If you bring your dog to work, we expect you will act in a reasonable, mature manner in making decisions regarding your dog here at work – even when no one else is around. We also foster an environment where everyone can be comfortable speaking up and making others aware of how they feel.
  6. Respectful: Be respectful of other people and their property. This includes common spaces here at work too. We expect you to be able to give and take constructive criticism, suggestions, or requests in a respectful manner. If you bring your dog to work, we expect you to be respectful and proactive in making sure your dog is also behaving respectfully towards other people and their property.

Tribunal Governing Details

Tribunal Purpose

The purpose of the Dog Tribunal is to navigate differences of opinions, help apply our values framework to specific situations, uphold the spirit of the framework, and recommend enhancements for the dog policy.

Tribunal Structure

The Dog Tribunal will consist of 4 employees + 1 director each selected at random per month. The dog tribunal has the full support of the CEO, the Directors, and Human Resources, and has the power to edit and amend this policy.

Tribunal Method

Reference information shall be present at each tribunal meeting, including the dog policy and record of past incidents to help guide consistent decisions. The discussion & decision-making should roughly follow the following topics:

  1. Discuss any feedback and issues from the Tribunal comment box located outside of the HR department. Decide upon punishments, additions/amendments to the Dog Policy Punishable Behaviors. Document the issues and actions set by the Tribunal for company reference and the next Tribunal members to base future actions on.
  2. As an exercise each month, unless there are more pressing issues to deal with, the Tribunal will create and document 1-2 more hypothetical situations to practice applying the Dog Policy Values until the Values are so ingrained into the culture that the exercise becomes unnecessary.
  3. After each Tribunal meeting, one member from the team will update the Wiki page as needed and send out a summary email to the moderated company-wide mailing list noting policy additions, offenses, and other issues. This email will also pass down the next actions for the following month’s Tribunal members along with the new list of Tribunal members.
  4. Every 6 months (September & March), the Dog Tribunal will send out a survey in order to keep an objective pulse on the SparkFun employee sentiment regarding dogs at work. The survey results will be documented on the Wiki page.

Leash Laws

City of Boulder

All dogs in the City of Boulder must be kept on leashes at all times unless they are confined to their owners' property. Dogs who roam loose present a danger to the public and may be in danger themselves by being hit by a car or possibly attacked by other animals. An exception for your dog to run free is to utilize one of the four designated off-leash dog parks.

Full regulations for reference

SparkFun Electronics

Any dog within SparkFun must be leashed at all times. The purpose of the leash is to create a safety radius for anyone who does not wish to interact with a dog.

Dog leashes must be of “reasonable” length. Reasonable means the leash does not present a tripping hazard or impede movement in open walkways, especially when a dog is leashed to a stationary object.

The leash law will be in effect until a future tribunal deems the law unnecessary. Any time there is a bite, the leash law will be automatically reinstated.

A Dog can be off leash if it is contained in an office with the door shut or with a secured gate to contain the dog.

SparkFun Electronics Dog Agreement

Each employee who takes advantage of the dog perk must read, sign, and submit this agreement to Human Resources. Doing so will grant the employee and dog a SparkFun dog tag as proof of a signed agreement.

Every time I enter the doors of SparkFun with my dog, I agree to abide by the rules set forth by the dog community at SparkFun. I will do my best to police my own dog as well as other dogs around me so that everyone may continue to bring their dog to work. Because bringing my dog to work is a privilege, I will abide by all rulings made by the dog tribunal. I also understand that if my name is drawn, I will serve on the tribunal and set reasonable and understandable penalties for the dogs who are facing me. Dogs are a great perk at SparkFun, and I want to do everything I can to continue to have them here.

  • I will only have one dog per day.
  • If a leash law is in effect, I will leash my dog at all times. If a leash law is not in effect, I will carry my dog’s leash with me at all times and will leash my dog upon request from anyone, at anytime.
  • If my dog is over 1 year old and is not neutered or spayed, I will keep him/her on a leash at all times.
  • I will abide by the punishment set forth by the dog tribunal if my dog is in that position.
  • I will help to monitor the building so that dogs continue to be a positive piece of the SparkFun culture.
  • I have read and understand the current Dog Policy. I will continue to stay up-to-date on Dog Policy changes, happenings, issues, discussions, and such.

Established Rules

As a general rule dogs are not permitted in meetings. It is up to the organizer’s discretion whether or not to allow dogs in a meeting.

If you work in an open/collective work space you are expected to find a guardian to look after your dog.

If you have an office you must place a sign on your door stating that your dog is inside and you may not leave your dog unattended for longer than 1.5 hours.

To curb aggression, SparkFun urges dog owners to limit feeding at SparkFun.

The tribunal recommends folks look into the yellow ribbon campaign. There’s a large number of reasons for and against this idea, it is up to each dog owner to decide.

The Punishable Behaviors are applicable and tracked per dog.

Punishable Behaviors

Aggressive behavior towards a human (violation of values 1, 3, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Threatening or aggressive behavior towards a human, including but not limited to snarling, showing teeth, growling, lunging at a person.
  • First offense: 1 week expulsion from SparkFun.
  • Second offense: The dog in question is permanently banned from SparkFun.

Dog bite (violation of values 1, 3, 4, 5, 6)

  • Definition: A dog bite out of aggression.
  • First offense: The offending dog is immediately banned from SparkFun and can never return. A 5-day suspension for ALL dogs will take effect beginning on the next working day. If a bite occurs there will also be an automatic permanent leash law indoors for ALL dogs going forward. A dog can be off leash if it is contained in an office with the door shut.

Pooping or peeing in the building (violation of values 2, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Pooping or peeing in the building.
  • First offense: As long as the mess is cleaned up, this receives a warning.
  • Second offense: one week suspension
  • Third offense: one month suspension

Wandering/runaway dogs (violation of values 3, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Dog with an owner not close enough to catch the dog within 10 seconds. If your dog is left alone, please leave a sign on your office door letting them know the dog is unattended and when you will return.
  • First offense: warning
  • Second offense: one day suspension
  • Third offense: one week suspension

Dog fighting (violation of values 1, 3, 5, 6)

  • Definition: A rough, violent fight between 2 dogs.
  • First offense: one week suspension
  • Second offense: one month suspension
  • Third offense: one month suspension with consideration of permanent expulsion

Outdoor dog waste (violation of values 2, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Not picking up dog waste outdoors
  • First offense: clean up all the poop outside
  • Second offense: to be defined
  • Third offense: to be defined

In-office barking (violation of values 3, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Barking in office loud enough to receive complaints. One warning complaint should be given to the owner, and this should move to the dog tribunal if the barking continues.
  • First offense: warning
  • Second offense: one week suspension
  • Third offense: two week suspension

Not being contained in an open environment (violation of values 1, 3, 5, 6)

  • Definition: In shared spaces, dogs must be contained so that no dogs in the environment feel threatened. Each area may have slightly different rules, but all dogs must be given an equal say (no “bully” dogs or “my dog was here first”).
  • First offense: Leash dog for one day
  • Second offense: Leash dog for one week
  • Third offense: Leash dog for one month

Dog rough-housing (violation of values 1, 3, 5, 6)

  • Definition: dogs playing in a non-aggressive but overly enthusiastic manner.
  • First offense: warning
  • Second offense: one day suspension
  • Third offense: one week suspension

Property destruction (violation of values 2, 4, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Dog(s) cause destruction to SparkFun property.
  • First offense: Owner is responsible for financial restitution of damaged property and dog is suspended for one week.
  • Second offense: Owner is responsible for financial restitution of damaged property and dog is indefinitely suspended.

Dog off-leash indoors

  • Definition: A dog is seen in the building not on leash.
  • First offense: warning + leashed immediately
  • Second offense: one day suspension

Playing off leash in the field behind the building (potential violation of values 1, 2, 5, 6)

  • Dogs are permitted to be off leash in the field behind the building so long as they do not violate any of the punishable behaviors. Any violations will be punished as previously stated under said violation.

Off leash in the parking lot ( potential violation of values 1, 2, 5, 6)

  • Dogs are permitted to be off leash in the parking lot so long as they do not violate any of the punishable behaviors. Any violations will be punished as previously stated under said violation.
  • We encourage owners to be mindful of the discipline of their dogs as the worst case scenario is an awful situation for all parties involved.

Left alone in your office (potential violation of values 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

  • Dogs are permitted to be left alone in an office for a maximum of 1.5 hours under the assumption that they do not violate any of the punishable behaviors.
  • Owners must place a sign on the door(s) alerting people that a dog is inside the office.

Running up to greet someone who has just walked into a common space (violation of values 1, 5, 6)

  • Definition: Dog runs up to greet someone who has not welcomed this attention.
  • First offense: Dog must be leashed for one full work day.
  • Second offense: Dog must be leased at all times for one week.
  • Third offense: Dog must remain on a permanent leash.

A dirty spot on floor or couch that your dog has created over time (violation of values 2, 5, 6)

  • Definition: A stain or wear, created over time, in the work area of one or more dog owners that is attributed to the dog(s).
  • First Offense: Dog Owner(s) clean it up - appropriate cleaning supplies are readily available to all employees.
  • Second Offence: A complaint for inconsiderate workplace behavior to a supervisor, and organization of work-space upkeep schedule among the affected dog owners.

Feedback

Do you have comments on our dog policy? Please leave them below. It’s taken us a few years to develop this policy and it’s always evolving with the needs of the company.

Comments 2 comments

  • I love it! How wonderful it is for a company to have grown around and adopted such a wonderful concept. I would have loved to been able to take my dog(s) to work.

  • Why is Outdoor Dog Waste offense 2 & 3 “undefined?” I’m thinking it is obvious, but just want to be sure.

    Edit: The Dog Policy sounds just and fair.