Animal preparation & training

Exit Routes to Avoid Crowding Animals Involved in Animal Assisted Play Therapy™

Posted by on Dec 21, 2021

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.

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Finding and Preparing a Dog for Canine Assisted Play Therapy™

Posted by on Feb 14, 2021

Another frequently asked question about Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ pertains to finding the right canine partner and preparing the dog for the work. Most common are questions about which breeds make the best therapy dogs. These are actually more complex questions than many people realize. This blogpost is designed to point readers toward some helpful resources that we have developed.

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Do We Sell Them Short? Supporting “Agency” in Animals

Posted by on Jun 29, 2020

Sometimes, in our eagerness to provide a happy life for our animals, we step in too quickly to help them with certain challenges. There are times when we sell them short, perhaps not realizing or forgetting that they have their own unique capabilities and skills. This blog post explores the concept of agency for animals, factors to consider when working with animals, and how we can do more to allow, promote, and support their agency and control in their own lives. The post includes a contribution by Pat Tagg of the UK that involves her unique observations of the development of confidence in a blind lamb with help from other sheep and the flock.

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Animals and Face Masks : Creating Safety, Fun, and Familiarity

Posted by on Jun 22, 2020

As we reopen our businesses, dog trainers, behaviorists, and human therapists are likely to be wearing masks and engaging in social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. How do animals respond to mask-wearing humans? How can we make our use of masks comfortable for them? This post focuses on ways to ensure that masks do not become impediments to the work we do that involves animals.

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Assessment of Therapy Animals: Using a Goodness-of-Fit Conceptualization

Posted by on Apr 19, 2020

Determining if an animal is suitable for therapy work is an important consideration. Different roles for animals require different personalities and skills. It is also important to ensure that the animals are not stressed and actually enjoy their work, not merely tolerate it. This article discusses a goodness-of-fit conceptualization drawn from child development research as it is applied in finding roles that are compatible with animals’ personalities, interests, abilities, and motivations. The model used in the certification program of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ is outlined.

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Puppies Should Play, Not Work!

Posted by on Jan 2, 2020

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.

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