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The best audience of all: a dog?

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

A business school student had written nine drafts of his speech and practiced it endlessly. But he had not yet rehearsed in front of Dexter.

So on a Monday, he arrived at American University for an appointment with an English springer spaniel with soulful eyes and, apparently, good listening skills.

The student knelt to pet Dexter as he practiced. The dog licked his hand.

Dexter is one of eight canines on the school’s roster of “audience dogs,” whose main duties are to be attentive for university students nervous about presentations. The program began last year and is thought to be the first of its kind at a U.S. university, based on research about the calming effects of dogs.

The program is popular with students. And what’s in it for the dogs? Treats.

— Adapted from “Giving a speech can be terrifying. These dogs are here to help,” Karin Brulliard, The Washington Post.

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