Want happy? Get a hound

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A brown labrador puppy smiles outside.
Workplaces that allow employees to bring pups to work on occasion may see a payoff in morale and team-building. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Apart from the sheer fun of owning a pet, having a dog enhances well-being and even personal growth in many ways.

Caring for a dog teaches kids responsibility and offers everyone in the family unconditional love.

Many studies have found that the social support that dogs—and pets in general—provide boosts their owner’s emotional health.

There are also many physical benefits to dog ownership.

Walking Rover on a regular basis—once or twice every day—can help you reach your own daily exercise goals and, in turn, lower your heart disease risk.

In fact, according to one study, owners who walk their dogs on a regular basis are over 50% more likely to meet minimum exercise guidelines. Surprisingly, though, many people simply don’t walk their dogs enough for them or their pets to get in a good workout.

The advantages of having a dog extend beyond the home.

Bringing your pooch to work can reduce your stress.

And studies by researchers at Central Michigan University suggest the presence of a four-legged “co-worker” can boost cooperation, bonding and trust among employees.

That’s important because getting people to work effectively as a group is often a challenge, even when companies try to engage staffers with activities like team-bonding exercises.

For the study, researchers divided participants into groups with and without a dog and gave each group creative tasks to complete. People in the groups with a dog showed more enthusiasm and energy and felt more closeness and trust than those without a dog.

It seems that having a dog in the room encourages kind and helpful behavior, which in turn can help boost how well you do.

If your workplace morale needs a jolt, consider a canine addition to the staff.

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