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August 17, 2010

Recent Study Affirms Benefits of Dogs in the Workplace

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States encourages employers to implement programs to allow dogs in the workplace, and a recent study conducted by Central Michigan University confirms the benefits of such programs. The new research found that when dogs were present in a group, employees were more likely to trust each other and collaborate more effectively in the office.

 "It's heartening when research confirms our instincts and our practices," commented Jennifer Fearing, co-author of Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces and California senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "We heartily agree with the positive impact that dogs can have on workplace morale, collaboration and productivity. The more than 50 dogs that 'work' in The HSUS offices every day have been a huge boost that more companies should be enjoying."

The CMU study involved several experiments; one involving groups of four individuals, some with or without dogs. Each group member was charged with a fake crime, and surveyed to see if they would report their fellow group members. Groups with dogs present made employees 30 percent less likely to report each other, showing that canine co-workers make for a more cohesive and trustworthy workplace environment. To assist employers in implementing a dogs at work program, Humane Society Press, the publishing division of The HSUS, published Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces, the definitive guide to creating a business environment where employees' dogs are welcome.

Authors Fearing and Liz Palika present the tangible benefits of dog-friendly policies and provide step-by-step advice on obtaining management buy-in, setting fair procedures and protocols, and dealing with any concerns about dog-friendly policies in the workplace. Dogs at Work also includes detailed advice about how to prepare dogs for the office environment, provides sample policies and handouts and provides two comprehensive case studies describing successful dog-friendly workplaces.

The 202-page soft-cover book, Dogs at Work, lists for $21.95 and is available for purchase here

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