SCAS Webinars

We are delighted to announce a new series of monthly webinars for 2021. 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

Details of forthcoming webinars can be found below, and don’t worry – if you miss one we will be recording them so you can sign up to watch them at a later date.

Promoting Optimal Equine Wellbeing in Equine Assisted Services – Thursday 9 June 2022, 7-8pm

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

This presentation explores 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.

The incorporation of horses within human health-care and education is a growing industry. Equine Facilitated Services are available in many countries, and there is a growing body of research evaluating the potential benefits for the humans receiving these services. However, the research into the benefits and drawbacks for the horses within this industry is scant, and with increased prominence and desire for One Health One Welfare there is a tremendous need for assessment and promotion of optimal wellbeing for the horses to be an active, and daily, part of the provision of these services. This presentation explores research into the impact of Equine Assisted Services on horses, and proposes opportunities for evaluation of equine behaviour, welfare, and wellbeing to be a daily part of the process.

Book a place online here
£5 plus booking fee. FREE for SCAS members. Why not become a SCAS member and attend our webinars for free?

Best Practice Standards in Animal-Assisted Interventions in Schools and Elsewhere: How The LEAD Risk Assessment Tool Can Help – Thursday 7 July 2022, 7-8pm

By Prof Kerstin Meints, University of Lincoln, UK

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) in schools can enhance learning, reduce stress in school children and improve behaviour. While research is still investigating the effectiveness of AAI in schools and other settings, practice has overtaken the science, and in many countries, animals are already introduced to schools and other settings.

A range of guidelines on safe practice for Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) exists, but guidelines vary with providers and settings. In order to carry out a research project on AAI in schools safely and with the welfare of all involved in mind, we attempted to unify these guidelines and created the comprehensive, but easy-to-use Lincoln Education with Dogs (LEAD) Risk Assessment tool for AAI providers and users.

This talk will present the LEAD tool and highlight 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.

About Prof. Kerstin Meints
PhD, MA, CPsychol, AFBPsS
Senior Fellow HEA
Suffrage Women in Science Award holder 2017-2019

Kerstin Meints is Professor in Developmental Psychology at the University of Lincoln since 2013. She completed her PhD at Hamburg University in 1997, then worked in Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford before moving to the University of Lincoln in 2000. She is chartered Member and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Prof. Meints is the Director of the Lincoln Infant and Child Development Lab and member of the Autism Research and Innovation Centre and heads the Lincoln Education Assistance with Dogs (LEAD) research grouping.

Her research spans cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on children’s development of language, categorisation and trust as well as comparative and applied research in human-animal interaction, especially dog bite prevention and animal-assisted interventions with children with and without special educational needs.

With about 30 years of experience, her interdisciplinary work has seen the creation of assessment and educational tools (e.g., UK-CDI – early word learning norms and questionnaires), dog bite prevention tools (e.g. Blue Dog programme), safety and welfare tools for animal-assisted interventions (e.g., LEAD Risk Assessment tool). She is part of the international dog bite prevention project The Blue Dog and recently founded the Lincoln Education Assistance with Dogs (LEAD@Lincoln) group investigating how dogs can help children learn and develop in the classroom environment.

She has been awarded a range of externally funded research grants from ESRC, NIH/NICHD, MARS-WALTHAM, Waltham Foundation and others and is an active reviewer and mentor.
In 2017, she has been awarded the prestigious Suffrage Women in Science Award by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences. In 2018, she and her team received the Vice Chancellor’s award for Public Engagement with Research.

Book a place online here
£5 plus booking fee. FREE for SCAS members. Why not become a SCAS member and attend our webinars for free?

Past webinars

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)

Dogs for Good provides a range of services across the UK including assistance dogs, community dogs and our family dog service. They have extensive experience of providing services to benefit autistic children and adults. Since 2007 they have been placing assistance dogs for families with an autistic child; these dogs are trained to carry out specific tasks to support the families’ specific needs.

Their experience with assistance dogs and a growing waiting list for their services prompted them to explore other ways in which dogs could help families, with the potential of pet dogs being able to fill this role. So in 2010 Dogs for Good launched their our Family Dog service. The Family Dog service provides workshops to parents and carers of autistic children who would like to explore the benefits a pet dog can bring to the family as a whole. The workshops cover a range of topics from how to select the right dog for the family, taking into consideration the family’s lifestyle and any sensory needs of the autistic child, to basic care of the dog and interventions and specific training. There is ongoing support for the families from the instructors following the workshops.

The Community Dog service provides support for adults and children who may not be able or want to have a dog full time. Community Dog started with the provision of animal assisted interventions (AAI) for autistic adults through a partnership with the organisation Autism at Kingwood. Over the years this has grown and expanded to support people with a range of needs. When providing AAI a specialist handler works with support teams, therapists and educators to design personalised and focused programmes to help their clients work towards individual goals, overcome specific challenges and develop their skills. The specialist handler andCommunity Dog work as a team with each individual, usually visiting on a weekly basis.

This webinar will draw examples from Dogs for Good’s work with autistic adults and children, to share the factors they feel are important to consider to achieve positive outcomes for the people and dogs involved.

The aim of this webinar is:

  • 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.

To demonstrate how these considerations crossover in different interactions between dogs and people they will draw examples and case studies from both the AAI work and family dog programme. For example; the importance of relationship building, considering the individual needs of everyone involved, managing expectations and with the conclusion that ‘success’ will look different for everyone. This webinar will be useful for anyone interested in facilitating beneficial interactions between autistic people and dogs.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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

By Lesley Winton, Founder and CEO of Fostering Compassion

The issue of Pet Bereavement and the heartache and devastation it can cause is very often overlooked, belittled and a disenfranchised area of grief. When the human-animal bond is broken through death or enforced separation the impact can be devastating. The fact that the human-animal bond is unconditional and unambiguous usually results in a more rapid
manifestation of grief which may seem overwhelming to the individual and can impact on their whole life structure.

Those who have endured the loss of a much-loved companion animal will understand the pain only too well. However, those who have not experienced this form of grief, may find it hard to comprehend. Research demonstrates that the loss of a pet can have as much impact as the loss of a close human relative. If pet bereavement and loss is not handled sensitively it can lead to a sense of loneliness, isolation, ridicule and potentially ill health. This presentation explores 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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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

Despite the popularity of companion animals across households in the UK, leasehold covenants that prohibit or restrict the keeping of companion animals, especially dogs and cats, in residential rental housing appear to be a common occurrence. The covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge in dog and cat ownership with more people taking companion animals into their home before and during the national lockdowns. The pandemic has thereby exacerbated a pre-existing problem caused by the extensive use of ‘no pet’ covenants in rental housing. Although this affects millions of tenants every year, the legality of ‘no pet’ covenants has rarely been questioned in the academic literature.

In this webinar Debbie will be talking 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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.

Missed this webinar? The recording is now available to purchase for £5. Contact us for details on how to purchase this.

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.