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Defining Confusing Terms - Assistance, Service, and Therapy Animals. Presented by Dr. Tiffani Howell

  • Wednesday, April 19, 2023
  • 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • GoToWebinar


  • A discounted registration for a member of Doggone Safe.
  • A member of Pet Professional Guild International Chapter Registration: The registration code can be found in your member's area on the PPG website.
  • PPG Member Registration
  • Public Registration


Defining Confusing Terms -  Assistance, Service, and Therapy Animals .

Presented by Dr. Tiffani Howell

CEUs: PPAB 1, CCPDT 1, KPA 1   Pending IAABC

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In 2018, a group of researchers, industry representatives, and end beneficiaries of different types of animal supports established a large team to clearly define terms such as therapy animal, assistance animal, service animal, and facility animal, among others. This was necessary because people use these terms in confusing ways, sometimes using the same word to describe two different working roles, and other times using two different words to describe the same role.

Over a four-year period, 77 experts from all over the world refined the definitions, until we published them in an open-access journal, Animals, in mid-2022. This presentation will provide the definitions that we came up with, along with the rationale for each. It will also describe the implications of these terms in different parts of the world, especially where these terms already exist in legislation. Finally, it will highlight the importance of always prioritizing animal welfare when working with these animals. They provide crucial supports for people, so we need to make sure that they are enjoying the work

At the end of this webinar, participants will know:

  • The agreed definitions for various terms commonly used to describe animals working in roles that support humans (e.g., assistance, service, therapy, facility, animal).
  • The legal and cultural implications of these definitions in different parts of the world
  • The importance of prioritizing animal welfare in all cases

    About Your Presenter

    Tiffani is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University. She has extensive experience in research on animal welfare, dog-owner relationships, and assistance dogs, including surveys, focus groups, and behavioural studies. She recently completed a four-year trial, funded by the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to understand the effectiveness of assistance dogs as an adjunct to treatment for veterans with PTSD.

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