To reach this conclusion, they carried out two experiments. In the first, they brought together 12 groups of four individuals and told each group to come up with a 15-second advertisement for a made-up product. Everyone was asked to contribute ideas for the ad, but ultimately the group had to decide on only one. Anyone familiar with the modern “collaborative” office environment will know that that is a challenge.
Some of the groups had a dog underfoot throughout, while the others had none. After the task, all the volunteers had to answer a questionnaire on how they felt about working with the other—human—members of the team. Mr. Honts found that those who had a dog to slobber and pounce on them ranked their team-mates more highly on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those without one.
In the other experiment, which used 13 groups, the researchers explored how the presence of an animal altered players’ behaviour in a game known as the prisoner’s dilemma. In the version of this game played by the volunteers, all four members of each group had been “charged” with a crime. Individually, they could choose (without being able to talk to the others) either to snitch on their team-mates or to stand by them. Each individual’s decision affected the outcomes for the other three as well as for himself in a way that was explained in advance. The lightest putative sentence would be given to someone who chose to snitch while the other three did not; the heaviest penalty would be borne by a lone non-snitch. The second-best outcome came when all four decided not to snitch. And so on.
Having a dog around made volunteers 30% less likely to snitch than those who played without one.
In India, Mars India, the manufacturers and marketers of world famous brands like Pedigree dog food and Whiskas cat food, have a pet friendly office policy and encourage their associates to bring their pets to office. The only rules being that the pets should be social; they should be toilet trained and ensure that not more than 4 pets are allowed on any particular day.
Vikas Mittal, Managing Director, Mars India says, Mars Inc. belief is ” Pets make the world better” and our goal is to ” Make the world better for pets”! Our aim is to create passion for pets and what better way to start it at home with our associates! Coupled with this we have seentremendous increase in engagement levels of the associates and productivity.
The moral, then: more dogs in offices and fewer in police stations.