Pet dogs are the new must-have accessory at the smarter office

Companies are employing animal magnetism to reduce stress in the workplace and hang on to staff

After a half-hour stroll to run each morning, Joy likes to grab a drink and head to her desk where she promptly curls up underneath it and has a nap.

Joy is an eight-month-old golden retriever and she goes to the office with her owner, Carol DuPuis. These days, especially at tech companies, youre as likely to find a dog in the office as you are a pot plant or watercooler. For startups especially, allowing dogs is an easy, cheap way of attracting and retaining millennials, on top of the free snacks, pinball machines and gym membership.

The Google code of conduct states affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. At Amazon, around 2,000 employees have registered their pets at its headquarters in Seattle so they can take them in reception desks are stocked with biscuits, some water fountains are set at dog height, and theres an off-leash park also open to the public where staff can exercise their pets.

DuPuis is a partnerships manager at ReachNow, a US car-sharing app. My favourite proportion about bringing Joy into the office is the joy she brings to my colleagues pun intended. Its tough not to love the puppy energy, it simply feels so nice, she said. Joy spends part of her day sleeping, but she also joins DuPuis for meetings and likes to sniff around for bits of peanut butter pretzel that have fallen on the floor.

Gemma Huckle, head of content and cultural activities at London brands bureau Rooster Punk, knows all about the pleasure puppies can bring. Her French bulldog, Amelie, has changed the mood in the office since her arrival two years ago.

Dogs in the canine play areas at Amazons headquarters in Seattle. Photo: Elaine Thompson/ AP

Huckle said: Shes built it feel like a home from home: the atmosphere is warmer and more sociable. If someones feeling a bit down in the dumps or stressed out, they usually come and assure the dog. Just five minutes pampering or playing with her seem to be perk everyone up. Having the dog is also great for our physical health, as it devotes everyone an excuse to get out of the office and get some air.

Amelie was crowned StartPup 2016 after Rooster Punk shot a video of her in the office and entered her in the worlds first competition to find the best puppy belonging to a startup. Huckle recommends having dogs at work. It helps personnel bond and I think it strengthens positive run behaviours people seem to be more friendly and approachable.

Around 8% of US and UK employers allow puppies at work. A 2016 survey by Banfield pet hospital found that 82% of employees feel a greater sense of loyalty to pet-friendly companies, 88% think pets at work improve morale and 86% “says hes” reduce stress.

Laura Wolf, global content manager at digital creative agency Possible, based in Seattle, said her chihuahua-dachshund mix, Boomer, is a real morale booster. She also helps break the ice with new colleagues. You get to know people through your puppy, people stop to nuzzle her. Shell sit on my lap during sessions; sleep next to my desk while Im working; visit colleagues she knows wholl give her a treat.

Being able to take puppies to run was a major perk, Wolf said. Younger people are getting married style later and choosing to have a pet instead of a child early on. Doggy daycare is expensive and its great to have that flexibility of being able to take your puppy around with you.

Its beneficial to the company as well. The likelihood of people having to leave to get home to their dog or come in late because theyre strolling their dog is much less.

Companies have rules to ensure workplaces are safe, especially for staff or clients with allergies. At Possible, for example, puppies must be vaccinated, they cant be aggressive or run around off-leash, and they are asked not to return if they contaminate the office more than three times.

Amelie the French bulldog at London digital bureau Rooster Punk.

In the UK, puppies have long been going to get offices in the pet sector, such as Pets at Home, Mars Petcare and the charity Blue Cross, and they are becoming welcome at other types of businesses too, for example model agency Next Management and online retailer Firebox.

In the US firms such as Ben& Jerrys and Build-a-Bear Workshop allow puppies, and the idea is spreading to the public sector. The department of the interior is to trial take-your-dog-to-work days, the first federal government office to do so. Dogs are also becoming more common in places such as dental surgeries, boutiques and hair salons.

Dentist Cameron Garrett and his wife Debra, a hygienist, take their elderly rescue puppy, Karma, to their practise in Corte Madera, California. Debra said: Some of our patients are dental-phobic and say that having Karma on their lap makes all the difference and many more just like dogs.

Karma keeps me pacify too and constructs my day feel that much nicer. Im dental-phobic myself. I required a filling lately and bought Karma with me and it does help. I know from the two sides of the chair.

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