Did you know scientists are studying the ways that you walk your dog?
What motivates you, how long you exercise for, what features (like footpaths and dog parks) promote human activity – all these questions and more, are being studied by researchers, Hayley Christian and Carri Westgarth.
Hayley’s background in human health teamed with Carri’s expertise in canine behaviour and welfare have created a research team exploring the human, dog and environmental factors that best promote active and healthy communities.
Most of us know that playing with dogs and horses can be fun, but have you ever considered how important animal-assisted play might be in psychological therapy for people?
Dr. Risë VanFleet is the Founder of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center in the United States, an organisation specialising in the training and supervision of child, family, and play therapy professionals, as well as the provision of mental health services for children and families.
She is a psychologist and author of several books, who focuses on strengthening family relationships through play, and has specialties in chronic medical illness, disaster mental health, child and family trauma and attachment interventions using play therapy, filial therapy, and the training and involvement of animals in assisted play therapy.
It’s this area of using animals, particularly dogs and horses, in play as a mode of therapy for people that we learn about with Risë in this episode.
Bennett, P.C. (2010). People, pets and positive psychology (transcribed from Radio Australia). Second Australian Positive Psychology and Well-Being Conference, February 12-13, Caulfield, Victoria, Australia.
Are we guilty of anthropomorphism in dogs? As dog owners it’s very easy to humanise our pets.
Julie Hecht, MSc, is a researcher and science writer fascinated not just by animal behaviour and welfare, but how we think about animals and the consequences of those thoughts.
Take anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics to animals or objects) as a key example.
In this episode of Human Animal Science we explore what actually happens when we think that dog is guilty; or that cat is grumpy.
We discuss why we anthropomorphise and how it impacts on the animals.
What is anthropomorphism in dogs?
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human entities.
In dogs, it can manifest as attributing emotions such as love, loyalty, and happiness to dogs, or expecting dogs to understand and communicate with us in ways that they do not. At least not in the same ways we do.
Do dogs know the difference between humans and dogs?
Dogs are intelligent creatures who are capable of complex social interaction, which means they’re able to pick up on our cues and learn from us.
However, studies show dogs actually see us as a member of their pack, not a separate species.
This means dogs do not necessarily know the difference between humans and dogs, but are capable of forming attachments to both.