SCAS Webinars

We are delighted to announce a new series of monthly webinars. Most webinars are free to SCAS members, for non-members there will be a small charge to help SCAS cover the cost of running these.

Forthcoming webinars

SCAS FundingMonday 19th February 2024 (7-8pm)

Dr Helen Brooks, BSc, MRes, PhD

Helen is a Senior Lecturer in the Mental Health Research Group at the University of Manchester. Her work has a dual focus on the role of social networks in the management of chronic conditions and the implementation of complex interventions designed to improve health experiences. She has a particular interest in the role of pets in the management of health problems and her research was the first to explore the work that people feel their pets do to support them living with physical and mental health conditions.

Join SCAS trustees and SCAS research grant awardees to hear about our upcoming 2024 funding round. We will provide more detail on the process of applying for funding from SCAS and share some top tips for success. Past award holders will share their experiences of applying for and holding SCAS research grants. There will also be the opportunity to ask any questions to members of the Research Working Group and to award holders.

This is a free online event, if you would like to sign up for this webinar please email info@scas.org.uk with your full name and email address for joining the event by Zoom.

Dr Ana Maria Barcelos, Cats ProtectionThursday 4th April 2024, 7-8pm

Chrissy Skelton, Maynooth University Thursday 2nd May 2024, 7-8pm – Do Greyhounds make good pets?

Jo Williams, University of EdinburghThursday 6th June 2024, 7-8pm

Samantha Hurn, University of ExeterThursday 4th July 2024, 7-8pm

Kerstin Meints, University of LincolnThursday 5th September 2024, 7-8pm: Understanding dog body language  – insights from research and practice, and an interactive training

Kerri Rodriguez, University of ArizonaThursday 3rd October 2024, 7-8pm: Role & Efficacy of Psychiatric Service Dogs for Military Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Christine Olsen, ICOFA: PADA Thursday 7th November 2024, 7-8pm

Webinars are free to SCAS members and £5 plus booking fee to non-members

If you are not already, why not become a SCAS member? You will get our monthly webinars for free (including the recordings of any missed), join a community of likeminded people, receive quarterly member newsletters and a discount off of our annual conference. Find out more here about becoming a SCAs member here: https://www.scas.org.uk/get-involved/membership/

Past webinars

Missed any of the following webinars? The recordings are available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details.

Partner, companion, servant, or tool? Exploring the interspecies relationship of a guide dog partnership – Thursday 11th January 2024 (7-8pm)

Tim Stafford, MA, BSc (Hons), Director of Canine Affairs, Guide Dogs (UK)

Tim has worked for Guide Dogs (UK) since 1985, qualifying as a guide dog mobility instructor in 1989 and working in the UK and New Zealand.  Tim holds a BSc (Hons) in Applied Animal Behaviour and a master’s degree in Anthrozoology.  Tim progressed through a succession of operations management roles before joining the senior leadership team. Tim is currently Director of Canine Affairs where he leads on strengthening strategic engagement with national and international partners, providing executive directors with subject matter expertise, and acting as a key media spokesperson. Tim chairs the Animal Welfare and Ethics Panel, represents Guide Dogs on the British Standards Institute as part of the European Consortium on European Standards for Assistance Dogs (CEN/TC 452) where he is also the co-convenor of the working group for Lifetime Welfare.  Tim is a Director/Trustee of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) where he chairs the Standards Committee and is a trustee and former Chair of Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK).

The guide dog partnership is often celebrated as a model for reciprocal, interspecies relationships, built upon mutual trust and respect. But this may not always be strictly true. Tim Stafford will reflect on his own 38 years of professional and academic experience; using the lived experience of people with a vision impairment and professional guide dog mobility instructors to provide a greater understanding of this unique dog-human relationship. This will be a discussion that uses anthrozoology to consider the experiences of both humans and canines. This webinar is of particular interest to anyone interested in a deeper dive into the complexities of the guide dog partnership.

A Deep Dive into Cats Protection’s Cats and Their Stats (CATS) Report 2023 – Thursday 2 November 2023, 7-8pm

Speakers
Madison Rogers- Head of Advocacy, Campaigns and Government Relations at Cats Protection. Madison joined Cats Protection in 2017 after working for a public affairs agency in London. In addition to her role at Cats Protection Madison is also currently an Executive Committee member for the Women in Public Affairs Network, representing women in the industry who work for charities. She has a rescue cat called Moodles.

Stefan Blakiston-Moore- Senior Advocacy & Digital Campaigns Officer. Stefan joined Cats Protection in January 2020 after spending a decade working in Parliament. Alongside his role at Cats Protection Stefan is the founder of Odd Days Out which works to highlight Britain’s curiosities and historical footnotes. He has a rescue cat called Neeve.

Join the Cats Protection team to hear more about the findings in their latest Cats and Their Stats (CATS) report. Following the most comprehensive survey of cat owners in the UK this report provides an insight into the latest trends in the animal-human bond. The report details changes in the cat market, the benefits cats are bringing in the modern world and the latest challenge owners are facing.

Dogs for Good: activity group for adults with learning disabilities – Thursday 5th October 2023, 7-8pm

Hayley Ring: recently joined dogs for good as the engagement officer on this project . Hayley has experience in client support for AAI sessions , and a background working in social care services.

Selina Gibsone: Development Manager at Dogs for Good for 11 years, overseeing the project and supporting the development of AAI.

Dogs for Good is a charity who offers a range of services supporting people with a variety of  health and social needs through specially trained dogs. We are now in the process of bringing  these to the Bracknell area with a new project being rolled out specifically for the Bracknell Community.

It is designed to be a flexible service offering the opportunity for adults and children with a range of individual needs in the Bracknell community to spend time with a specially trained dog and their handler.

As a starting point, we aim to build knowledge of the needs of this community, so in time we can shape  our services to meet identified needs to support potential outcomes and benefits.  

There are so many ways we can help, from enabling people to keep active/exercise, motivated and connected with their families and communities, build relationships, and encourage social interaction, communication and confidence.

We are supporting people with learning disabilities , dementia, autism , mental health challenges as well as physical disabilities, to feel more confident to go out and about, helping bring people together and enjoy being part of a community. 

One of our first groups to be established is an activity group for adults with learning disabilities. It is this group that I will be talking  about in detail including who attends , the aim of sessions , the  activities, benefits/ outcomes , any personal goals , feedback and support, and how it has developed to date .

Understanding landlord decisions in relation to pet friendly renting in the UK: how we can minimise concerns – Thursday 7th September 2023, 7-8pm

By Dr Luciana Santos de Assis, Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Research Group, University of Lincoln, UK
Luciana Santos de Assis is a researcher in animal behaviour and welfare at the University of Lincoln. She is from Brazil where she graduated as a veterinarian, performed residency in internal medicine of small animals and obtained her master’s degree. She came to the University of Lincoln for her PhD where she worked with separation related problems in dogs. Since then, she continued conducting research projects in animal behaviour, welfare and human-animal interaction.

The availability of pet friendly housing is clearly an issue in the U.K with the number of pet-friendly properties much lower than the number of tenants that have pets. In the U.K., 23% of housing is rented, 53% of UK adults own a pet, but only 7% of rental properties across UK cities are advertised as pet friendly. Consequently, many tenants must choose between pet ownership and the type of housing they can access. This can have wider impacts since there is evidence that humans can benefit in many ways from their interactions with animals.

However, it must be recognised that some interactions are negative, and these can have a long-term impact by changing the behaviour, thought and/or emotional response underpinning a specific attitude towards animals. Such experience might drive private landlords of residential properties to exclude pet owners. However, there may be other factors driving these decisions. Accordingly, it is essential to identify the reasons why landlords choose not to accept companion animals in their rental properties and not assume it is just based on bad experience if we wish to identify effective solutions to this problem.

The results of the study will be presented, where 19 U.K. landlords owning rental properties (pet friendly or not) and one letting agent were interviewed to investigate their perceptions about:

1) the main concerns of landlords about allowing pets to live in their rental properties,

2) the issues experienced by landlords when allowing pets in their properties,

3) the sources of influence affecting landlords’ opinions,

4) and perceived alternative strategies that might alleviate or resolve landlords’ concerns about companion animals living in their rental properties (including regulations).

How Dogs Can Lower Children’s Stress Levels – effects of dog-assisted interventions in schools – July 2023

By Prof Kerstin Meints PhD, MA, CPsychol, AFBPsS, University of Lincoln, UK
Prolonged exposure to stress can have negative effects on learning, behavior, health and wellbeing in children. Several approaches to alleviating stress have been explored in schools, for example, yoga, meditation, physical activity, teaching style interventions and animal-assisted interventions. In the current study, we carried out dog-assisted interventions in schools and measured stress levels in children over time. The children took part in one of three groups over 4 weeks: either a 20-minute dog-assisted intervention group, a 20-minute relaxation intervention group or a control group (school as normal). Intervention sessions were carried out twice a week.

Dog interventions lead to significantly lower stress levels in children in both mainstream and special needs schools, while children in the relaxation intervention and in the no treatment control group showed increases in stress levels over the school term. In sum, we can conclude that dog interventions can successfully lower stress levels in school children. Additional research into the ideal amounts of time and contact with dogs for optimal effect is still needed.

The role of an Animal Companionship Practitioner and the provision of Animal Companionship Support Services – June 2023

By Belinda (Bin) Johnston MA VetMB MRCVS    
Scientific evidence demonstrates that a positive relationship between humans and animals can have a vast impact on a person’s mental, emotional and physical health.  Pet ownership is proven to be particularly beneficial for those experiencing social isolation and/or mental health issues.  Our Special Friends (OSF) is an innovative, grassroots charity supporting people who are experiencing difficulty and where ownership of a pet, or contact with an animal, is crucial to enable them to cope.

Every day, OSF is approached by, or on behalf of, people facing all kinds of adversity who are desperate not to relinquish their beloved companion and vital source of comfort, stability and normality – or people who have lived with animals all of their lives but whose health or circumstances now make pet ownership impossible.

OSF is committed to breaking down any and all barriers which prevent people from benefitting from animal companionship.  Through our overt focus on animals, OSF is able to access hard-to-reach people normally averse to agencies becoming involved, particularly where they are socially isolated.  We are therefore able to identify unmet health and social care needs and make appropriate referrals earlier than many other services. 

OSF has established the need for an Animal Companionship Practitioner and offers a variety of animal companionship support services, delivered predominantly by volunteers in the community, to meet the plethora of needs our clients have and completely transform difficult situations in their lives.

OSF currently works in West Suffolk supporting around 500 people every year and has ambitious plans for growth. 

Coddled Companions or Pet Prisoners? Understanding ‘pet parenting’ types in relation to the ‘indoor versus outdoor cat’ debate – May 2023

By Kristine Hill, BSc (hon), MSc, MA, PhD (Plant Physiology), PhD Candidate (Anthrozoology). Exeter Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics (EASE) working group, University of Exeter, UK.

Analysis of discourses surrounding roaming cats and case-studies of cat-human relationships provide insight into the concept of ‘pet parenting’ types and reveal different ideas about guardian responsibilities and the rights of cats. Whether guardians believe they are morally obligated to protect their feline companions, or must respect their cat’s freedom to roam, largely depends upon how cats are perceived. At one end of the spectrum cats are viewed as helpless dependents (‘fur babies’), while the other extreme sees them as semi-wild or wild-like animals (‘nobody owns a cat’). However, cats, like humans, are individuals, and this is often overlooked in discussions about what is ‘best for cats’ including their right to roam. Drawing upon my case studies, I demonstrate how what is best for one cat is not necessarily best for all cats in similar circumstances.

How to be a Happy Dog Owner: Findings from research and practice – April 2023

By Professor Carri Westgarth BSc MPH PhD PGCert FHEA ABTC-CAB, Chair in Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Liverpool

What if your dog could teach you a few new tricks for living a happier, healthier life?

Based upon the book, “The Happy Dog Owner” (and more research since), this webinar will summarise the key points dog owners need to know in order to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of dog ownership, so you can be a happy, healthy, dog owner.

The media would lead us to believe that owning a dog will improve our health and happiness, but what is the actual scientific evidence behind this? How do we develop a relationship with our dogs that positively impacts our physical and mental health, rather than creating extra stress and upset in our lives? The advice within “The Happy Dog Owner” comes from Carri’s scientific research into human-animal relationships and dog welfare, and her experiences working as a behaviour counsellor, assistance dog trainer, in animal rescue, and of course owning and training her own lovely but challenging dogs.

When dogs bite back – Reducing dog bite incident risks – March 2023

By Dr Jacqueline Boyd BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, PGCHE, CHES, FHEA, MRSE, Senior Lecturer in Animal Science at Nottingham Trent University

Dog bite incidents regularly attract media attention. When serious incidents occur, much debate centres around the characteristics of the dog, including discussion about dog breed or type, rather than the overall context of the situation. In this webinar, the variable nature of dog bite incidents will be considered. This will include discussion about specific risk factors associated with increased occurrence of bite incidents, in order to consider how our relationships with dogs can impact on their behaviour and bite risk. This has clear applications in terms of supporting canine caregivers in the management, training and even selection of dogs for their individual circumstances, whilst also taking a canine-centric approach to mitigating bite risk.

This webinar explored how appreciating the intersectionality of the human-dog relationship can aid our understanding of dog bites and support a move towards reducing the occurrence of bite incidents.

Dealing with inter-cat tension in multi-cat households – February 2023

By Dr Sarah Heath BVSc PgCertVetEd Dip.ECAWBM(BM) CCAB FHEA FRCVS

With the increase in popularity of the cat the number of multi-cat households has increased. While some of these households are harmonious that is not always the case and tension between cats living in the same home can sometimes be significant. Living in a state of protective emotional bias can not only affect the behaviour of these cats but also their physical health. This talk will discuss the issue of inter-cat tension in the context of the health triad and the Heath model of Emotional health, in order to increase understanding of the situation from a feline perspective. It will discuss the various possible manifestations of social tension both in the form of reported behavioural problems, such as house soiling or confrontational behaviours, and concerns about physical health manifestations, such as feline idiopathic cystitis, gastrointestinal concerns and dermatological issues. The impact of feline social behaviour on the multicat household will be considered and the subtle manifestations of social tension, which may go unnoticed by caregivers, will be highlighted. The concept of feline environmental needs will be used to discuss how feline home environments can be optimised and some of the potential limitations to achieving harmony will also be considered.

Scottish SPCA’s Pet Aid service – Supporting keeping people and pets together – January 2023

By Gilly Mendes-Ferreira MSc BSc, Head of Innovation and Strategic Relations, Scottish SPCA

The Scottish SPCA’s Pet Aid service has been launched to support the challenges that pet owners currently face so that unintentional neglect can be tackled at an early stage and ultimately prevented, enabling people and animals to be kept together where possible. Providing a dedicated Pet Aid service can make a real difference and enables the Society to support animal welfare on doorsteps, and in the heart of communities instead of picking up the pieces when things have gone wrong and an animal and person has suffered.

This webinar provided details of Pet Aid, and allowed delegates to share their experience to help ensure Pet Aid meets the needs of those who are doing all they can to support and stay with their pet.

Collaborative AAI programmes: Replicable approaches to community development – November 2022

By Katie Bristow, Julie Milsom and Chris Kent

People & Animals UK CIC began as a response to the development of the SCAS Code of Practice UK, bringing together like-minded professionals across the health, education, voluntary sector to explore the human-animal bond at grass-roots level, to share ideas and resources for stronger AAI programme delivery.

This webinar provided an insight into how collaborative working can grow a concept, into a series of sustainable and replicable AAI programmes across different parts of the UK.

Swimming with Dolphins in Virtual-Reality: The potential benefits for adults with additional needs – October 2022

By Georgia Smith BSc MSc

For over 25 years, dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) has been used as an AAT for individuals with mental and physical disabilities. The suggested benefits include increased motivation, attention span and language skills, as well as a reduction in social withdrawal. Whilst appearing beneficial, DAT research flags serious methodological flaws and an abundance of welfare concerns for both humans and dolphins. This webinar will start by exploring and critiquing DAT research, before introducing an exciting and innovative alternative – dolphin virtual-reality. Dolphin virtual-reality is a form of water-proof technology which enables people to feel as if they are swimming with wild dolphins, in an aquatic environment, without the use of real dolphins. A study exploring the potential benefits of dolphin virtual-reality for adults with additional needs, and its results, will then be presented and discussed.

Best Practice Standards in Animal-Assisted Interventions in Schools and Elsewhere: How The LEAD Risk Assessment Tool Can Help – July 2022

By Prof Kerstin Meints, University of Lincoln, UK

This talk presents the LEAD tool and highlights best practice with respect to safe and welfare-oriented AAI in schools and other settings. Risk assessment of settings, staff, AAI participants, handlers and dogs, safety training, animal welfare, minimising injury and zoonoses risk; staff training and dog bite prevention training will be discussed. Examples from practice working in mainstream schools and in schools for children with special educational needs will be provided.

Promoting Optimal Equine Wellbeing in Equine Assisted Services – June 2022

By Dr. Clare Thomas-Pino, Lecture and BSc (Hons) Programme Manager Human-Animal Interaction, Hartpury University

This presentation explored the importance of evaluating the benefits and drawbacks for horses participating in Equine Facilitated Services, and practical ways practitioners and horse handlers can ensure the horses are provided with choices to promote their optimal wellbeing.

Autism and Dogs – A recipe for success? – May 2022

By Hannah Beal (Family Dog Instructor, Dogs for Good) and Sarah Tosh-Robb (Community Dog Handler, Dogs for Good)

The aim of this webinar was:

  • To share some of the learning from the work Dogs for Good carry out with dogs and autistic adults and children.
  • Help identify ingredients and considerations that dogs for Good feel are important in order to create successful outcomes for both people and dogs.

Pet Bereavement – Compassionate Understanding of its Impact and Significance – April 2022

By Lesley Winton, Founder and CEO of Fostering Compassion

This presentation explored the depth of the human-animal bond, its significance to individuals in a variety of circumstances and ways professionals and individuals can deal with this type of loss in a compassionate and understanding manner.

Pets and Housing: An analysis of ‘no pet’ covenants and the law – March 2022

By Dr Debbie Rook, Principal lecturer in Law, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne

In this webinar Debbie talks about her professional doctorate research titled “More-than-human families in multi-species tenancies: A critical analysis of ‘no pet’ covenants and the law”. Interviews with tenants adversely affected by ‘no pet’ covenants are examined to better understand their experience. The nature of the human-companion animal relationship is critical in understanding the adverse effects of ‘no pet’ covenants on tenants. Existing law in England is silent on the use of ‘no pet’ covenants so it is left to the landlord and tenant to negotiate the keeping of pets in rental housing. What are the problems with the current approach and how can these be addressed? With the impact of the pandemic is the time right to recognise companion animals as family members within housing law and policy in England?  The legality of ‘no pet’ covenants is critically examined by reference to Human Rights law and Consumer Rights law. The concepts of ‘Fairness’ and ‘Harm Assessment’ are harnessed to assess the need for housing legislation in England to regulate the use of ‘no pet’ covenants.

Ensuring our Animal Companions are Healthy and Happy – February 2022

By Dr Sean Wensley, Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education, People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).

Fulfilling and enjoyable relationships with companion animals rely on those animals being healthy and happy. There is an additional moral requirement to ensure that the animals that we involve for human benefit enjoy a good quality of life. In many cases, these mutual benefits to pets and people are realised, but companion animals also experience some common, preventable challenges to their wellbeing. Veterinary professionals observe some of these problems in their daily clinical work and the veterinary charity, PDSA, has been assessing and quantifying them for over a decade, through their annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, as well as contributing to solutions. In his webinar, Sean Wensley will describe some of this work, covering areas including pet acquisition and the welfare of brachycephalic (flat-faced) animals.

Are Pets really Good for Us? – January 2022

By Dr Sandra McCune V.N., B.A.(Mod), Ph.D.

The bond we have with companion animals is ancient, enduring and important. But is it good for us? Our close proximity to such species provides the opportunity to observe and interact with each other with the potential for relationships to develop that can mutually impact health and well-being. Animal-assisted interventions also provide opportunities for beneficial interaction beyond pet ownership. This talk explores the theoretical basis for such inter-specific bonds and their resulting health outcomes. An overview of the scope and type of human-animal interaction studies will be presented including research challenges and potential future research directions.

Horse Play & Canine Capers – NO Compromise – Animal sentience and welfare IS Animal Assisted Play Therapy – November 2021

By Tracie Faa-Thompson, BA Social Work, MA Crim, PG NDPT, Clin Hypno, Cert EAGALA, Certified Non-directive Play Therapist; Filial Therapist, Supervisor & Filial Therapy Instructor. IIAAPT Instructor, supervisor, International trainer and speaker.

This webinar introduces the field of animal assisted play therapy (AAPT) and how animal ethology, animal welfare, sentience, and freedom of choice are fundamental to the approach. In other approaches there is often a slant toward what the animal can do for the human, how they made the human feel and much less on what the animal is getting out of the interaction. In AAPT being fluent in your animal’s language and way of communication is key. Everyone wants a great relationship with their animal partners and this lecture will hopefully help you think about your own great relationship with the animals in your life and how you can build an even stronger connection.

The Role of Companion Animals in the Management of Chronic Health Conditions – October 2021

By Dr Helen Brooks BSc, MRes, PhD., University of Manchester

Personal communities – the set of active and significant ties which are most important to people – are increasingly being recognised as important for the management of long-term physical and mental health conditions. Whilst emphasis is often placed on the value of social interaction with other people, such as friends and family, the role of pets in relation to supporting the management of chronic health conditions has been under-acknowledged.

This webinar presented the findings from two research studies, and aims to help delegates develop an in-depth understanding of the role of companion animals in the management of physical and mental health conditions.

The Companion-Animal Multi-Species Risk Management Tool (CAMSRMT) – Working towards Safe Animal Friendly Eldercare – September 2021

By Dr Janette Young, University of South Australia

Through 2020 and 2021 an Australian team of human and animal experts, academics, researchers, community consultants and veterinarians worked together to develop the Companion-Animal Multi-Species Risk Management Tool (CAMSRMT). This is a risk management tool aimed at supporting the safe inclusion of personal pets (that is, those that people have pre-residential relationships with) in communal residential aged care.

The framework enables users to assess the risks that both humans and animals may encounter in these settings. It encompasses the major species groups kept as pets: dogs, cats, birds, fish, small mammals, reptiles). The level and impact of these risks and methods to reduce them to acceptable levels is detailed. Very few risks are unmanageable and CAMSRMT offers the opportunity to carefully explore the potential for co-residence when this is desired or appropriate for both human and animal members of these relationships.

This presentation will introduce the audience to the team and the tool; identifying the circumstances in which it is envisioned to be used and stepping through how and for who (human and animal) it will be useful.

This project was supported by Society for Companion Animal Studies funding.

InKennel Training Method: Dog staff behavioural change as a means of promoting welfare in shelter/kenneled dogs – July 2021

By Evangelos Diamantakos, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD cand

This webinar was delivered by Evangelos Diamantakos (Vangelis), an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist and full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC).

The presentation is part of Vangelis’ project titled: Challenging the Present Creating the Future. This webinar presents Vangelis’ InKennel training method and deals with dog – staff interaction in the shelter/kennel environment.. This interaction even though appearing to be “ok” hides aspects needing a much more thorough consideration.

The presentation begins by defining briefly dog – human interaction and mentions some key factors that influence it. It then discusses the patterns of dog – staff interaction and focus on when and where that occurs, what it encompasses and what the restrictions are. According to Vangelis’ observations it seems that patterns of dog – staff interaction during every day routines have certain effects on dog behaviour that not only negatively affect their welfare but also inevitably have some undesired consequences on future adopters. Undoubtedly, there are many areas that need work and improvement as far as the behavioural patterns of shelter/kenneled dog are concerned. Therefore, a realistic approach would call for a targeted change of these behavioural patterns. At this point it is briefly outlined the procedure with same relevant videos of his work and offered some useful tips to begin with. Afterwards, it is mentioned, in summary, the expected results of the previously explained method and procedure for optimising dog – staff interaction. Last, but not least, it is stressed the importance of statistics and how they can help us to extract information about dogs’ welfare and also evaluate the efficiency of every plan, strategy or method applied.

As this webinar was offered free of charge, if you missed it you can watch the recording below.

The role of companion animals in healthy, active, human aging – June 2021

By Dr Sandra McCune V.N., B.A.(Mod), Ph.D.

The aim of this webinar is to raise awareness of the health benefits and challenges of living with companion animals as we age. The webinar will provide basic knowledge and help all those who are interested in the role of companion animals in human healthy, active aging to:

  • Understand the societal context for supporting healthy, active aging in humans
  • Recognise the benefits companion animals may bring to the socio-emotional, cognitive and physical health, and mobility of older adults
  • Recognise the challenges of living with companion animals as owners age
  • Understand the alternatives to companion animal ownership when responsible pet ownership becomes no longer possible

Life expectancy is increasing in many parts of the world and with that comes new and unprecedented challenges. Consequently, it is vital that healthy, active aging for humans is supported in our society. There is an increasing body of evidence for the beneficial impact of companion animals on physical health and mobility, and on socio-emotional and cognitive health. This webinar explores the role of companion animals in healthy, active aging for older adults.

Download the Key References for this webinar here.

Dog-Assisted Interventions: Recognising signs of stress in body language – May 2021

By Evangelos Diamantakos, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD cand, an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist and full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC, UK).

The beneficial effects of dogs on humans across the lifespan is very well documented by present literature. The introduction of Dog Assisted Intervention (DAI) Programmes in educational, care, health and other therapeutic settings is gaining ground both in the UK and internationally. The training and participation of dogs in these programmes is very demanding. It needs special preparation and should be designed by a team of professionals who will promote both dog welfare and human health and safety.

Unfortunately, not all programmes operating in this field are following guidelines issued by organisations like SCAS. Others lack the contribution of accredited dog behaviourists in their design teams.

The aim of this webinar is to raise awareness of and promote dog welfare during training and participation in DAIs. The webinar will provide basic knowledge and help all those who are interested in DAIs, dog behaviour and training to:

  • Recognise DAI terminology and identify training needs.
  • Explain the function and factors that trigger stress behaviour.
  • Describe the signs of stress in dog body language.
  • Understand the general guidelines to avoid stress in DAIs.

As this webinar was offered free of charge, if you missed it you can watch the recording below.