APBC Members Present Research at International Conference

APBC provisional member Stephen Jenkinson reports on dog-human activity trail

Cutting-edge research is to be presented by APBC Members in Sweden. Dogs and physical activity, the human-animal relationship and owner-dog interaction form forward-thinking contributions on behalf of the APBC at a forthcoming international conference.

July 2010 sees a record number of APBC members presenting at the prestigious International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations (IAHAIO) 12th Conference to discuss the latest research findings relating to people and animals in Stockholm.
Dogs and human health
Research teams from the USA, UK and Australia are ready to present new research on the dog's impact on human health; APBC Full Member Dr Carri Westgarth is chairing the ‘Dogs and Physical Activity’ session, during which Provisional Member Stephen Jenkinson will be reporting on development of the UK’s first dog-human activity trail. Carri will also be presenting her own research into the potential health benefits of dog walking, specifically whether pet ownership is associated with childhood obesity. Stephen will continue the dog walking theme with a later discussion of responsible behaviour by dog owners in parks and application of the theory of planned behaviour.
Human-Animal relationships
Other members attending and presenting include Dr Anne McBride from Southampton University with a number of her companion animal behaviour students, including Judith C.Adams. Judith, Provisional Member of the APBC, will be presenting two pieces of research on Human – Animal Sexual Interactions. The first investigates the role of anthropomorphic behaviour (attribution of human thoughts, feelings, motivations and beliefs to animals) in cases of Zoophilia and the second shows how unresolved maternal attachment affects adult relationships either by heightening or lowering attachment in cases of human –animal sexual interactions.
Attachment and owner behaviour
Dr. Jill White-Taggart from the University of Southampton (Provisional member) will be presenting 2 studies exploring the relationship between dog attachment to owners and owner behaviour in two experimental protocols. One involved an analysis of owner behaviours, including those potentially frightening to dogs, when dog emotional activation occurred. The other assessed owner behaviour while their pet dogs were involved in a dog task-solving experiment.
The wide range of research being presented in Sweden at the IAHAIO conference by APBC Members demonstrates the Academic diversity and international importance of this organisation within the field of animal welfare.
David Ryan, APBC Chair, says, ‘Once again our members are at the cutting edge, combining science with practical experience and showing the way forward in dealing with our pets. We are pleased to lend our support to progress the study of human-animal interactions in this way.
Carri Westgarth was an assistance dog trainer before a career in research at the University of Liverpool Vet School and pet behaviour counselling in Merseyside.
Stephen Jenkinson works across the UK for organisations including the Kennel Club, Forestry Commission, National Trust and local authorities, as well as working in Orkney as a pet behaviour counsellor.
Judith Adams is resident animal behaviourist at a large veterinary practice in South East London and will be starting her PhD later this year.
Jill White-Taggart lives in Ontario and is a companion animal behaviour counsellor and researcher of attachment in human relationships.


Photo: APBC provisional member Stephen Jenkinson reports on dog-human activity trail