The Development of a Canine Para-Agility Program: Positive Affects in Children with Autism and in Therapy Dogs

  • Denisa Pop UBB Cluj-Napoca, USAMV Cluj-Napoca
  • Alina Simona Rusu UBB Cluj-Napoca
  • Vioara Miresan USAMV Cluj-Napoca
Keywords: animal-assisted interventions, children with autism, therapy dogs, para-agility, positive affects


Previous research has demonstrated that both children and dogs might benefir from Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA), with some factors mediating/ moderating the results. The present study took these factors into consideration, by creating an AAA program consisting of two types of human-animal interactions (structured and unstructured activities), with an accent being put on the encouragement of positive behaviors. Differences in the frequency of behavioral indicators of positive affects were compared between sessions, in both species (humans and dogs). The preliminary analysis of the results indicated no significant differences between the structured and unstructured sessions in regards of the behavioral indicators of positive affects in humans and dogs, concluding that children and dogs enjoyed the activities in both types of sessions. A more in depth statistical analysis is currently being performed.

Author Biographies

Denisa Pop, UBB Cluj-Napoca, USAMV Cluj-Napoca

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Research Assistant

Faculty of Animal Sciences and Biotechnologies, PhD Student

Alina Simona Rusu, UBB Cluj-Napoca
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Associate Professor