Animal welfare

The Distinctiveness of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™

Posted by on May 28, 2021

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.

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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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What Do We Really Know? Observation and Interpretation with Our Animal Friends

Posted by on Mar 13, 2020

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.

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Consent and Willingness of Animals to Engage with Us

Posted by on Feb 1, 2020

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.

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