Does your dog “assist” you in the shop? If so you’re not alone. A recent pet thread at WoodNet revealed the habits of many woodworkers who own dogs. The thread started with a simple question: “How do your shop critters respond to machines?” Some interesting attitudes and patterns emerged over the 100+ replies in this very popular discussion. Check out the original thread here: A Question To Those With 4-legged “Helpers” In the Shop.

The thread gets heated, especially when it comes to questions of a dog’s capacity to love and protecting dogs from sawdust or noise. That stuff’s not as interesting to us. Instead we took notable quotes from folks in the thread and arranged them into sections. Here’s what you’ll find:

>> Keeping the Dogs Outside for Safety
>> Dogs That Attack Power Tools
>> Dogs With Free Shop Passes
>> Funny Dog in the Shop Responses

Before getting into it, here’s a picture shared by WoodNetter Berone that sums up how many woodworkers feel about dogs in the shop:

>> Keep the Dogs Outside for Safety
As safety-conscious folks, we at have to advocate for a dog-free shop, especially when the power tools are on. We’re in the minority, but hey, we’re used to that too ;) Here are the folks who share our position.

“Just a WAG on my part but dogs in the shop could easily cause it to become a much worse hazard to you then it already is. It only takes a split second to lop off a couple of fingers because the pooch got in the way of your feet…. and I am a dog lover but not willing to give up some body parts to prove it..”

“Mine just looks around for some cardboard to chew, ignores the machines. Have to tell her to go outside when I use the big machines so I don’t trip on her.”

“The male (Lego) is my shadow. The few times I allowed him in my shop while working he finds a nice spot where he can lay and watch me. Noise or not, he is well behaved. One the other hand the female (Lucy) aka scurry-rat……well any noise and she is GONE in flash. However most of the time I do not let them hang out much for safety reasons. ”

“Lady is allowed in the shop only when I’m not running the saws and the router. They are very noisey, and I usually have my earplugs attached. Her hearing is spectacular, far better than mine”
Edwin Hackleman

“The dogs ain’t allowed in my shop. It rains here 8-9 months of the year. The dogs are always wet. They come into a dry spot, they like to shake themselves off. In the shop, that’s all over some expensive cast iron.”

“I work in an open garage, when I cut sand route etc., out they go, but very close by”

>> Dogs That Attack Power Tools
There’s one in every pack – the wacko dog who gets overexcited by power tools and wants to shove his nose where it doesn’t belong. Chances are good yours doesn’t do this, but here’s some stories from folks whose dogs DO go for the tools.

“Am dog-sitting with the neighbors Sheltie and he followed me into the shop this morning. No harm and I figured the first time I turned on a machine, he would get spooked and leave. WRONG! I pulled the trigger on the miter saw and he was right underfoot. Got so excited, I was afraid he would take a jump at it. (He isn’t very bright.) Had to put him outside for both his and my safety.”

“I was on a jobsite using a chop saw. Fired it up and this little pug comes running over to inspect it. I think he would have put his nose in the blade if I had let him. That sort of behavior is the exception however. Most dogs are smart enough to head the opposite direction of the noise. Again, you win some and you lose some. There have to be some dumb ones to make the rest look good.”

>> Dogs With Free Shop Passes
Some people have an open door policy with their dogs in the shop. In many cases the dogs use that open door to exit on their own when the big tools go on. However, some dogs just keep napping. Here are stories from folks who let the dogs come and go as they want.

“Mine is very rarely out there, but she just ignores them. Mostly she just chews on scraps in the cut off bin.”

“As the LOML tends to spoil them rottom they are basicly like a couple of extra kids in the family. They usually find a scrap piece of wood to chew on and find a place to lay down and amuse themselfs. At least untill I turn the router table or planer on. Other than that they are content to watch me work and usually don’t get under foot.”

“Okay, here’s my pal for the past 13 years. Used to run out when the planer started until i got the spiral. When she could see, she’d answer to hand commands. Basically finds the coolest spot and curls up. Used to move when you came near, now you have to move around her.”

“Our Cocker Spaniel goes right to the treat drawer in the shop. Then finds the largest sawdust pile, and lay’s in it. She is no problem at all.”

“One hates them the other doesn’t seem to pay them any mind. Just like people. They all have different personalities I guess”

“Mine shys away when machines are running but when they shut of she runs in to make sure I’m ok.”

“A trained dog is a safe dog. Teach her to “stay” in one spot if she’s gotta be in the shop with you and you’ll be fine. Most dogs just want to watch what their “alpha” does, but the herding dogs, like Shelties (and my Australian Blue Heeler/mix) want to be under your feet and therefore the need to train them to stay away. With my dog, she wants to be underfoot when I’m cooking, so now she’s got her own spot where she can watch me, but not be in the way. I just tell her to “go lie down” and she’s happily in that spot until I’m done.”

>> Funny Dog in the Shop Responses
Some people are funny. If I laughed or even smiled and nodded my head, it went in this section ;)

“It is so time consuming to outfit my dog with the respirator, goggles and hearing protection, that, I leave her outside when the machines are in use.”

“My two springer spaniels are obsessed with playing fetch. If I ignore them they drop the ball under a cabinet or table and then whine until I retrive it for them. I’m sure I could have completed every project I’ve ever thought about doing years ago if I didn’t have to keep stoppingt to throw the ball.”

“Mine finds the spot with the highest traffic pattern for that day and lays down right in the middle of it.”
Lance H

Check out the original thread here: A Question To Those With 4-legged “Helpers” In the Shop. Is your dog allowed in the shop?