AAI – Animal Assisted Interventions

Commonly called “pet therapy” was born in 1792 when William Tuke encouraged his patients with mental disorders to take care of animals because he realized the many benefits they brought. From there, more and more in-depth studies on the human-animal relationship began.

  1. What are the AAIs?
  2. Why dogs?
  3. What benefits do they bring?
  4. Multidisciplinary team
  5. Animal welfare
What are the AAIs?

The AAIs (animal assisted interventions) are divided into:

  • AAA: Animal Assisted Activity with a playful and recreational purpose
  • EAA: Educational Animal Assistance (emotional and behavioural sphere)
  • AAT: Animal Assisted Therapy for therapeutic purposes (physical or psychic sphere).
Silvia Barbieri, dog trainer and her dog Lady

At the base of every intervention there is the RELATIONSHIP ; we have witnessed an increase in the awareness that many benefits can be drawn from the human-animal relationship.

Why dogs?

The famous behavioural veterinarian Johel Dehasse, in his book “All about dog psychology” asks himself an important question: “What does a dog have to improve my life?”. He replies: “It fills an emotional void, dogs and cats enter prisons, hospitals, retirement homes and are catalysts for communication and mental health.”

(Lady during interventions at disability facilities)
What benefits do they bring?

From the human-animal relationship we can draw several benefits on different psycho-physical areas and in relation to the needs of the patient and the objectives to be achieved.

Photo by ” Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe)
Multidisciplinary team

So called because it is made up of different figures, healthcare ones and not, who collaborate to achieve the same objectives:

Veterinarian: takes care of the physical and mental health of the dog together with
Animal coadjutor: who, in addition to ensuring the well-being of the dog, accompanies him in the intervention itself to work together.
Project manager.
Professional educator: takes charge of the person during the EAA.
Psychologist / psychotherapist: takes charge of the person during the AAT

In short, everyone is chosen on the basis of the type of intervention and must work within a network.

Animal welfare

It is a demanding activity for humans as well as for dogs. It is essential that dogs benefit from it, they must follow proper training and preparation to ensure that they can carry out this work with enthusiasm.

Since puppyhood they must be socialized with different people, noises, objects, places and animals, so that they can relate to them positively and not be afraid.

They also need to get used to being manipulated by everyone and in all parts of the body, without stressing them, but in a pleasant context of pampering and play.

These dogs carry out several activities that allow them to get to know the world and people fully, living every experience with calm and joy because they are free of fear.

(during training and working sessions)

This article was written by the dog trainer Silvia Barbieri, more information on her facebook and instagram page.

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