Latest Posts and News
What Do We Really Know? Observation and Interpretation with Our Animal Friends
We often draw conclusions about how our animals are feeling or what they are thinking. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. The scads of videos of “guilty dogs” don’t really have it right. Most of the dogs in these videos are more likely to be anxious and stressed, responding to their humans’ tone of voice rather than experiencing actual guilt. This blog discusses ways in which we can be clearer about what our animals are experiencing and notes how there are different degrees of certainty about our conclusions.
“Therapy Dogs for Sale” — Can Therapy Dogs Be Purchased?
As the popularity of Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) increases, so, too, do the promotions for “therapy dogs” who can be purchased as puppies, adopted from rescues, and acquired from special therapy dog training programs. While it is entirely possible to obtain a very nice therapy dog from these sources, there are some red flags that this trend puts forward as well. Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. This brief article is designed to highlight some of the potential pitfalls of approaching such ads for therapy dogs without exercising some caution and knowledge.
Consent and Willingness of Animals to Engage with Us
Whether we simply want to enjoy our companion animals within the best possible relationship or involve our animals in our work, it is important to their welfare that they have a voice and choice in any interactions. There are some rather simple ways to check with them to learn their preferences.
The Animal’s Point of View in Animal Assisted Interventions
Media stories on Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) seem to be everywhere. They extol the virtues of adding animals to many different types of work, and they highlight the benefits to humans across the lifespan from the presence of animals. Rarely are benefits to the animals mentioned, perhaps because we fail to think about this facet of AAI. Here we discuss how to build awareness of animals’ points of view and the benefits to everyone of doing so.
Are Dogs Really Unconditional?
Many people describe dogs as being “unconditional,” usually suggesting that they love humans no matter what. Is this really true? This blogpost explores this common assertion.
Puppies Should Play, Not Work!
Puppies at work! How fun! …Or is it? Nowadays there are many articles and news programs about therapy puppies, often referring to school programs, puppies working full-time, and even rent-a-puppy programs in colleges and for birthday parties. In many cases, the puppies are just 8 or so weeks old, and some of them are being expected to work full-time! Not only are these practices a very bad idea, but dogs can be ruined for any future therapy work if negative things happen during the key periods of emotional development in the puppies’ brains.
What It Means to Be Humane in Animal-Assisted Interventions
What It Means to Be Humane in Animal-Assisted Interventions VanFleet, R. (2014). What It Means to Be Humane in Animal-Assisted Interventions. The APDT Chronicle of the Dog, Fall, 18-20. The article is posted and made available here by the generous permission of the...
Overcoming Extreme Fear in Unsocialized Dogs
Overcoming Extreme Fear in Unsocialized Dogs: A Participant-Observation Study of the Impact of Safety and Play in a Home Setting VanFleet, R. (2014). Poster presentation at the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) Conference in Vienna, Austria, July 20, 2014.
Face Value VanFleet, R. (2014). Face Value. The APDT Chronicle of the Dog, Spring, 20-22. The article is posted and made available here by the generous permission of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. All rights are reserved.
I Want a Puppy!
I Want a Puppy! VanFleet, R. (2013). I want a puppy! Psychological News You Can Use, Winter, Pennsylvania Psychological Association.