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.