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We work in a large open space. The facilities are pet-friendly, so one person brings a dog to work. The dog sleeps most of the time and when it is sleeping, it snores very loudly.

All the people I interact in the course of my duties are in a different city, so all my work-related communications are done over the e-mail and phone. I am also quite introverted, which limits my social interaction at work (so it is not easy for me to measure how much the snoring bothers all the others).

What can I do?

I already work from home a couple of days a week, but I don't want (and probably can't) telecommute 100%.

I don't want to come across as "uncooperative" or "hostile" or "troublemaker" &c.

EDIT1: I don't interact with customers. My problem is that I find it hard to tune out the snoring (as opposed to the general chatter which, decibel-wise, is probably almost is loud).

EDIT2: I (and a few others!) am now trying to pretend-snore whenever the dog's snoring gets above a certain noise threshold. People are laughing...

marked as duplicate by Jim G., bytebuster, Michael Grubey, jcmeloni, IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 28 '13 at 13:32

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    Bring a cat with you. No more snoring. – Deer Hunter Aug 27 '13 at 19:38
  • @DeerHunter: Wouldn't that replace the snoring with hissing and growling and chasing? I'm not sure that would be better... – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Aug 27 '13 at 19:44
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    Oh, a dog! That's not at all what I thought when I saw the title. :-) – Monica Cellio Aug 27 '13 at 21:34
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What can I do?

Whenever you have a disturbance like this that hurts your work, the solution is virtually always the same - talk directly with the person who can help solve the problem.

In this case, you should talk with the dog's owner, and explain how the dog's snoring interferes with your productivity. Perhaps the owner doesn't even realize the problem this is causing, and perhaps there's something simple (another sleeping location, a different dog bed, etc) that can be done.

If that fails (either because the owner isn't reacting, or because the owner's changes haven't solved the problem), you'll need to escalate the issue to your boss, and perhaps the dog owner's boss. There are dozens of possible solutions here - from disallowing pets to moving your workspace.

But first, talk to the owner.

Good luck!

  • the solution is virtually always the same <-- no kidding. We should make an FAQ question about this, because we get variants always! – enderland Aug 27 '13 at 22:49
  • @JoeStrazzere: some people are introverted. some have poor person skills. some want to understand their rights before talking to the culprit so that they are prepared to respond to a (veiled?) "f..k off". – sds Oct 18 '13 at 15:42
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I'm guessing that the snoring interferes with phone conversations. If it is disturbing the clients/co-workers you are speaking with, it is definitely a problem.

Before going to your manager, you might want to talk to the owner of the loud-snoring dog. If you want to avoid sounding "uncooperative" or "hostile" or "troublemaker", try to keep a positive/constructive tone when you bring this up, such as:

Hi $Co-worker, I've noticed your dog $MrSnore snores very loudly when sleeping. Actually, some of our clients have noticed too and have commented that they have a hard time hearing me when the snoring is going on. Do you think we could find a new place for $MrSnore to sleep, maybe further from my desk, or in a small side room? Or maybe give him a pillow/blanket to muffle the sound?

Of course, if this work environment advertises itself as being "pet-friendly", I'm not sure how well this will work, but I would hope the manager would agree that "pet-friendly" can't accommodate animal behaviour that is disruptive to the workplace (I can't imagine that they'd want "sales lost due to dog-snoring" happening on their watch).

  • I don't interact with customers. – sds Aug 27 '13 at 20:04
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    @sds: Ok, you can change the phrasing as you see fit. Either way, if the snoring is interfering with your phone conversations, it's interfering with your work, and that's still something that needs to be discussed. If it's so loud that you can't work without being distracted, that's something that needs to be discussed. Have you actually measured the sound level at your desk when the dog is snoring? If you can show numbers that are very loud, I think you'd have a pretty solid argument. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Aug 27 '13 at 20:07
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Some things just can't be helped. The sound bothers you and I'm guessing affects your work. Work with the dog owner and suggest the dog sleep somewhere else. Maybe an enclosure to lower the sound? Dogs like to have their own little den. Don't think of it as a cage. Just a place to sleep.

Most people who do creative and complex work need quiet to concentrate. This isn't such an unreasonable request, but consider some dog owners can get pretty protective of their pooches.

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