International Journal of Workplace Health Management

Barker, R.T., Knisely, J.S, Barker, S.B., Cobb, R.K., & Schubert, C.M. (2012). Preliminary Investigation of Employee’s Dog Presence on Stress and Organizational Perceptions. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 5(1), 15-30.

The purpose of this paper is to present a preliminary study of the effect of employees’ dogs presence at work on stress and organizational perceptions. A pre-post between-group design with repeated measures was used to compare differences between employees who bring their dogs to work (DOG group), employees who do not bring their dogs to work (NODOG group), and employees without pets (NOPET group) on physiological and perceived stress, perceptions of job satisfaction, organizational affective commitment, and perceived organizational support. Combined groups scored significantly higher (p<0.0001) on multiple job satisfaction subscales than the reference norm group for these scales. No significant differences were found between the groups on physiological stress or perceived organizational support. Although perceived stress was similar at baseline; over the course of the day, stress declined for the DOG group with their dogs present and increased for the NODOG and NOPET groups. The NODOG group had significantly higher stress (p<0.005) than the DOG group by the end of the day. A significant difference (p<0.02) was found in the stress patterns for the DOG group on days their dogs were present and absent. On dog absent days, owners’ stress increased throughout the day, mirroring the pattern of the NODOG group. Preliminary findings suggest pet dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and may also contribute to higher job satisfaction for all employees in the organization, regardless of dog or pet ownership.