Direct Experimental Assessment of Therapy Dog Handlers on Child and Dog Behavior During Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI), Canada
Objective: This study will focus on scientifically evaluating typically-employed handling styles of therapy dogs by their owner-handlers. We will experimentally determine how 1) leash restriction, 2) physically guiding the dog, and 3) the use of treats affects dog's comfort with the session, and subsequently, affects the dog-child interaction during AAI sessions. We will be recruiting 21 children with autism as well as 21 therapy dog-owner teams from the community. Each child-dog dyad will experience each of the three experimental conditions in a randomized order. We will be collecting saliva from children and therapy dogs before and after each session. We will then store the samples in a freezer until ready to ship the saliva for analysis to determine cortisol concentrations. Salivary cortisol will be the indirect measure of stress in our research. Our data will contribute to the creation of handler best-practices during animal-assisted sessions with children with autism.
|Registered Biobank Name||Direct Experimental Assessment of Therapy Dog Handlers on Child and Dog Behavior During Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI)|
|Biobank Leader||Alexandra Protopopova|
|Email for biobank email@example.com|
|Principal Investigator||Alexandra Protopopova|