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Animal welfare
Animals Are So Easily Misunderstood… the Importance of Empathic Understanding

Animals Are So Easily Misunderstood… the Importance of Empathic Understanding

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.

A Psychologist’s View of Crossover Training: Personal & Professional Reflections

A Psychologist’s View of Crossover Training: Personal & Professional Reflections

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.

Professional Decision Making in Animal Assisted Play Therapy®: How the Goodness-of-Fit Model Impacts Practice

Professional Decision Making in Animal Assisted Play Therapy®: How the Goodness-of-Fit Model Impacts Practice

Decision-making in Animal Assisted Play Therapy® and Animal Assisted Therapy practice is a complex process. Not only must practitioners know how to intervene to meet client goals, they must consider and advocate for the needs of the animals. Other factors play a role in determining what an actual intervention, lesson, or session might look like, also. This blogpost considers four aspects that are forefront in the minds of professionals using AAPT in their work.

Adapting to Adoption: Appreciating What Our Dogs Must Learn

Adapting to Adoption: Appreciating What Our Dogs Must Learn

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.

Including Animals in Play Therapy — Not Just for Kids!

Including Animals in Play Therapy — Not Just for Kids!

Quite often when people hear "play therapy" they think of children. Play therapy uses the therapeutic powers of play (based on the seminal work of Dr. Charles Schaefer) and the natural features of childhood to provide a developmentally-attuned set of interventions and...

When We Adopt a Dog: The Early Days

When We Adopt a Dog: The Early Days

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.