It is quite common for us to misinterpret our animals’ behavior, especially in tense or stressful moments. A situation in which Jake was feeling pain is used as an example of how we must always observe our animals’ reactions, interpret them in context, and look at them from our animals’ vantage point. Many stressful interactions can be avoided if we take the time needed to apply empathy for the animal’s point of view to them.
What would possess a reasonably intelligent pet owner who loved her dogs and who had a strong background in behaviorism to apply choke-and drag methods for training her canine companions? This is a question I have asked myself – about myself – many times. Beyond my background in psychology (including classes on animal behavior and motivation!), I held what I thought were relatively humane values, instilled throughout my formative years by my parents’ demonstrations of kind treatment of our family dogs and cats.
If your dog is fearful, anxious, or has fear-based aggressive behaviors, there is hope and help! Risë's article below entitled Zoom-Zoom-Zoom: Lessons Learned from a Semi-Feral Dog highlights the journey of a terrified dog and the approach used to help her gradually...
When dogs are adopted from a shelter, rescue, or other caretaking situation, they have an enormous amount to learn as they adapt to their new environment. We sometimes take that for granted and develop unrealistic expectations of them as a result. As we give them space and time to adjust, we can observe the situation from their viewpoint and alter our own expectations and actions to better help them feel comfortable in their new homes.
Adding a new dog to the family requires considerable thought and planning. It’s a big decision requiring a lifelong commitment. When the dog arrives, the first steps including helping the new family member feel comfortable in the environment, assisting other animals in the family to adjust, and getting to know the new dog as well as possible. This process must precede decisions about any work in which the dog might become involved. This brief article highlights the early process to navigate the early days and weeks.
As Animal Assisted Interventions become more prevalent among professionals, the topic of competencies gains importance. Competences should be viewed as a roadmap to developing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to involve animals effectively and ethically in mental health, allied health, and educational work.
Animals need more space than we sometimes realize. They sometimes might wish to leave sessions, too. Providing an “exit route” at all times can allow for animal choices, greater safety, and demonstrate respect for the animals’ needs. This can be helpful to animals as well as clients.
This article explores the unique features that comprise Animal Assisted Play Therapy® as it was created and developed by Dr. Risë VanFleet (USA) and Tracie Faa-Thompson (UK). There are distinct differences with many other forms of Animal Assisted Intervention, and some of these distinctions are described here.