Are dogs in the workplace a good idea?

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) There were barks and claps Friday as Ben and Jerry's accepted an award Friday for their canine culture and being a top dog-friendly work environment.

"To win this award is an absolute treat," CEO Matthew McCarthy said.

About 40 dogs can be found in the offices at Ben and Jerry's corporate headquarters in South Burlington. That's one dog for every two employees.

"Part of what makes Ben and Jerry's special is the family nature of our team and your family is not complete without your dog," McCarthy said.

He says it's all part of an inclusive K-9 to 5 atmosphere at the workplace. McCarthy says the dogs that come to work are trained and socialized with people and other dogs.

"We are not just talking to and hearing from our team members that have dogs but also those who don't," he said.

But does this actually help their employees? Our Ike Bendavid asked Ben and Jerry's whether they actually see production and whether this a distraction.

"I measure productivity with the output of how are we are doing and actually business is doing quite well," McCarthy said.

"It makes me not worry about him throughout the day. He is here. I am here. He is my support system. I am his support system," Lindsay Bumps said.

Bumps works in public relations at Ben and Jerry's and also heads the K-9 culture committee, filled with both dog owners and those who don't have dogs. She doesn't think having dogs in the office is a turnoff for non-dog lovers.

"I don't think being a dog-friendly office scares people away," Bumps said. "If anything, it brings people in."

People we asked like the idea.

"I think it would make people happier," said Caryn Hetrick of St. Albans. "It would create a happier environment."

"I think it's nice if everyone in the office agrees to it. I think it kind of makes it more of a homey kind of atmosphere and makes people smile more," said Linda Blanchard of St. Albans.

Dogs are confined to their owners' immediate work areas, which are gated. The company says it has not had to ban any dogs because of behavior issues.

"At the end of the day we want to make sure that no one feels if they have an issue with dogs that this is an environment that is overrun with dogs," McCarthy said.