Bringing canines to work is doggone good idea

Doggone good idea

Boss got you on a short leash? Been working you like a dog? Here's a solution: Bring yours to the office.

Dogs can foster greater employee trust and collaboration in the workplace, researchers at Central Michigan University say.

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Their study included experiments such as giving groups the task of developing advertisements for fake products or "charging" members with fake crimes only to see who would snitch on whom. Some groups had dogs, others did not. Across the board, researchers said, trust and cohesion were higher among the groups with dogs.

"It's heartening when research confirms our instincts and our practices," said 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."

So, what makes man's best friend so ideally equipped to help lick workers' problems in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate America?

"It proves a really good stress reliever if you can bend down and pet your own dog, or you can walk down to the cubicle next to you and pet an animal. It can even reduce your blood pressure," said Betsy McFarland, senior director for companion animals at the Humane Society's Gaithersburg, Md., office.

She said 30 to 40 dogs come to work with their owners there every day. "It's a great way to get people out of their cubicles and getting them to interact more often."

Of course, there are practical concerns: Sneezing co-workers, sloshing water bowls and the fact those walks will inevitably cut into your coffee breaks. But maybe it's worth it.

So the next time you think you're in the doghouse, bring Fido along. Unless, of course, your boss is a cat person.

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