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.
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.