Take Your Dog To Work, Boost Profits & Performance

Until recently American dogs–especially the so called “working breeds”–have greatly resented their owners’ jobs. Left home alone and unemployed, with nothing to do but eat the couch, chew on the TV remote control, and flip cable channels, the stress of unemployment has gotten to them, writes Peggy Moran

Dark resentment has been building in the hearts of animals who once felt loyalty, devotion, and purpose. Forced into early retirement, depressed dogs are brought by their concerned owners to pet psychologists who prescribe mood elevating drugs and “busy work.” Agility class registration is booming, but tired owners can only run the course so many times. Office jobs and fast food leave them gasping for air and ready for reclining chairs well before their rampant, pent-up Rovers have even begun to pant.

Luckily times are changing: American dogs are getting off the couch and going to work. A survey conducted last year by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) indicated that 44 percent of North American pet owners have taken their pets to work.

]The phenomenon of pets in the workplace received an initial boost from the annual “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” which began on June 20, 1999 in the US. But this isn’t just a yearly novelty any more; a steadily increasing number of dogs are facing the grind alongside their owners on a daily basis.

Move over herding and sporting dogs; make room for the “cubicle canines,” a whole new class of working dog. All breeds may apply, and no special skills, beyond being friendly, mannerly, and potty trained, are required. These office dogs have easy jobs–keeping the bipeds on the other end of the leash feeling contented and productive; and apparently they are good at it.

A recent survey of fifty US businesses that allow pets in the workplace, conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, confirmed the benefits of a pet-friendly policy:

*73% of companies surveyed said pets create a more productive work environment
*27% showed a decrease in employee absenteeism
*73% indicated pets led to a more creative work environment
*73% said interpersonal skills improved, compared to a 42% improvement through business development or management courses
*96% said pets created positive work relations
*58% of employees stayed late with pets in the office
*100% of the companies surveyed said they would continue to have pets in the workplace.

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Employees–once too worried about home-alone animal friends to fully focus on the job–put out peak performance with pets by their side. According to an American Animal Hospitals Association report, 76 percent of American pet owners feel guilty over leaving their pets at home alone.

More than half of all people surveyed stated they would want their pet instead of another person with them if they were stranded on a desert island.

Dragging feet and dread are replaced by matching dog-and-owner briefcases and color coordinated ties and collars when pets are allowed to come to work. No longer left behind, the dogs are finally getting to do what they were bred for–assisting and cooperating with their human packs, and even helping “bring home the bacon.” Though they don’t actually punch a clock or collect a paycheck, there are certainly perks for dogs that go to work. Besides obviously improved quality of social life, and more opportunities for owner bonding at the park while on lunch break, many dogs in the workplace are getting their own company provided benefits such as veterinary insurance.

Granted life in the corporate fast lane can start to feel like a rat race; easiest for terrier breeds and sight hounds to deal with over a long haul. But there has never been a single reported case, to date, of any dog voicing a work-related complaint, or asking “Is it Friday yet?”

Job stress does exist, and there is the potential for social tension. The new dog in the office may not be totally adored by every coworker, but then–who is? As long as they don’t act out their fantasies of biting the bitch two cubicles down, or leave a few trinkets under the desk of the supposedly dog-allergic whiner across the way, they are unlikely to hear those two dreaded words:

“You’re fired!”

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Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine is the the online editor at MyDogMagazine.com. She is an experienced dog owner and professional writer who lives with her two beloved dogs, Mabel and Charlie.


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