Dog wearing harness saying therapy dog

Researchers would like members of the public to share their views on therapy dogs.

6 July 2021

2 min read

Dog owners may recognise their pet pooch has a calming and therapeutic effect on them, but what do you think about dogs doing this for a job?

University of Portsmouth researchers would like members of the general public to complete a survey about therapy dogs – and they want to hear from you even if you’ve never met one before.

Researcher and therapy dog owner, Olivia Barber, said: "Therapy dogs are being used more frequently in schools and hospitals to reduce stress and provide comfort. At the moment though we don’t really know how the public feel about using dogs for therapeutic interventions. 

We’d like to know whether people think therapy dogs are effective, whether they think there are any drawbacks to using dogs in these settings, either for the child or the animal, and whether they consider other alternatives – like robotic animals or children’s entertainers – to be just as useful."

Olivia's therapy dog Tallulah

"We want to explore a wide range of views, so are interested in hearing from people who own a therapy dog, who’ve worked or spent time with one, or who have never even met one!"

"Our aim is to improve our understanding of therapy pets and the public’s perception of them, which in turn, will hopefully allow for a more evidence-based use of different therapies in school and hospital contexts."

The survey takes around 30 minutes and participants need to be over six-years-old. Please click here to take part.