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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.

Why Competencies for Professionals in Animal Assisted Interventions?

Why Competencies for Professionals in Animal Assisted Interventions?

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.

The Distinctiveness of Animal Assisted Play Therapy®

The Distinctiveness of Animal Assisted Play Therapy®

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.