Science establishes that dogs help at work
Is this an index of human level of insanity?It’s been known for some time that dogs can reduce levels of stress and anxiety in humans who stroke them, but society has been slow to apply the knowledge. Perhaps now steps will be taken across America and the world to stop eating our four footed brothers (pigs, cows) and incorporate them (dogs) into our working lives.
Bringing your dog to the office could lower your stress levels and improve morale among your fellow employees, a study suggests.
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University studied 75 people at a manufacturing company where each day for a trial week 20 to 30 people were allowed to bring their dogs to work.
Although bringing a pet to work could come with practical difficulties, a trial at an American company suggested it improved people’s job satisfaction.
Dog owners also reported that it reduced their feelings of stress, which previous studies suggest can lead to higher rates of absence and lower productivity.
Using samples of saliva taken throughout the day they compared levels of stress hormones among people who brought in their pets, people who owned dogs but left them at home, and staff who did not have pets.
First thing in the morning there was no difference between the groups, but during the day stress levels declined among people who had their dogs by their side and increased among the other two groups.
Having dogs in the workplace appeared to improve morale among all members of staff, regardless of whether their pets were present, the researchers reported in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
Randolph Barker, who led the study, said: “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”
UPDATE:The secret to exam success: puppy love
Students at a Scottish university have begun “puppy patting” sessions in an effort to improve their exam grades.
Undergraduates at Aberdeen University will be able to avoid the pressures of study in a special “puppy room”.
The sessions, part of the exam welfare initiative by the university’s students’ association, will be held over four days next month.
Emma Carlen, the university’s president of societies and student activities, said a trial run in February with golden retrievers and labradors was a success.
“We got a really positive reaction to that from the guide dogs and the students,” she said. “It really chilled them out, so that encouraged us to get this set up for the exam period.”
The puppy programme is thought to have originated in American and Canadian universities. Top universities such as Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School have dogs on site that students can borrow like books.
Miss Carlen said the sessions helped students to relax in the most stressful period of their academic year. She said it would help push up grades.
She said: “Hopefully we can boost their health and grades. We also hand out advice on what to eat and drink.”
Studies have shown that interaction with pets can reduce levels of cortisol – a hormone associated with stress – and releases endorphins.