Table of Contents
ISRN Rehabilitation
Volume 2013, Article ID 278025, 10 pages
Research Article

An Exploratory Study of the Elements of Successful Service Dog Partnerships in the Workplace

West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6122, 502 Allen Hall, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA

Received 16 September 2013; Accepted 1 November 2013

Academic Editors: J. McDougall and C. Zwingmann

Copyright © 2013 Margaret K. Glenn. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The use of service or assistance dogs has increased over the past three decades but is still considered by many to be an emerging concept for assisting people with disabilities to navigate a number of environments. This is predominately due to the minimal research that has been done on the effect and promising practices. One area, employment, has been completely overlooked in research related to service dogs. This research project undertook an exploratory study to gather data on the elements of service dog partnerships that have been successful in the workplace. A structured methodology using mixed methods was used to gather ideas from a diverse group of stakeholders, people with service dogs, trainers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and other healthcare professionals, to form a common framework for addressing the issue in future research and development of interventions. The results identified 68 elements that respondents perceived and rated to be important or highly important to the phenomenon. They were categorized into six clusters: (1) dog preparation, (2) monitoring, (3) employee competence, (4) legal knowledge, (5) information and education, and (6) coworker preparation. The discussion identified key points that might support the development of successful employment outcomes for people working with service dogs.