Newsletter 2016

I am delighted to share with you our Fall 2016 HAI newsletter. I would like to introduce myself as the new chair of the HAI section. I am a professor in the Clinical Sciences department at Colorado State University. I work in a department with all veterinarians and have the opportunity to explore numerous aspects of human animal interactions in my teaching and research. I have been involved with the HAI section for several years and am the editor of the HAIB (Human Animal Interactions Bulletin), and am honored to serve in this new capacity. This is an exciting time to be involved in the rapidly expanding area of Human Animal Interactions and the HAI Section is responding by planning a year of change and growth. With the help of a fantastic new Board, the HAI section plans to become your resource hub for all things HAI. We are updating our website, working to create a more active Facebook page and expanding our membership benefits. This is your opportunity to join like-minded people passionate about animals. To help us reach our goals of doubling our membership in 2017, we are currently waiving our membership fees. To join us, please visit our website. Lastly, if you have any feedback, suggestions or offers to get more involved, please reach out – Lori Kogan

Many of us who love animals, and are fascinated by the power of the human-animal bond, initially thought we should become veterinarians. After all, if you wanted a career involving animals—especially companion animals—that was what you did, right?
I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve talked to over the years who have said something like, “If only I had known there were other paths. I realized vet school wasn’t for me, so I gave up on the world of animals and became an accountant.” I’m guessing some of you have had similar experiences—or can relate directly! (If you did become an accountant but you’re nevertheless reading this newsletter, there’s still hope. Keep reading!) 

Hi! I’m Lauren Varner, Member-at-Large, focusing on social media communications for the governing board of the Section on Human-Animal Interaction under Division 17, Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

I am a second-year student in the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, a COAMFTE-accredited program. I am not a counseling psychologist or even a therapist yet, but I am so proud to represent the both the Section and the many peers I have come across since beginning my studies — fellow students who are studying counseling, social work, psychotherapy, clinical psychology, psychiatry, and other fields, all with the hope of harnessing the powerful bond between humans and animals to improve mental health and further overall wellness for both the humans and animals involved in the interaction.

Do Dogs Help Men Become More Relational?
“We talk of men keeping dogs, but we might often talk more expressively of dogs keeping men.”
Charles Dickens –The Uncommerical Traveller– (1859)

Chris Blazina Ph.D.


I am one of those people that found the study of human-animal interaction as fortunate consequence of pursuing another line of inquiry. My career as a psychologist and professor has been spent focusing on the psychology of men. This involves the culturally conditioned ways males are taught to think, feel, and act. Too often, the rules for being a man lead to internal and interpersonal difficulties, impacting health and wellness. By comparison to the themes of masculine-conflict, I have also heard men share various kinds of personal anecdotes about the importance of canine companions in their lives. These are heartfelt accounts about their dogs, large and small. Sometimes they begin with regret, other times humor, and even a sense of nostalgia. I think the animal companion stories are special in part because they involve a genuinely caring recollection of man’s best friend.  But what is also striking is how men also share a part of themselves not always seen, a more relational side. That is the part involving the need for making and sustains connections – a pronouncement contrary to what many deem as an essential quality of mature masculinity – being alone.

Clicker training is a positive, humane method of training that’s been used successfully with a wide variety of animal species including marine mammals, primates, dogs and horses (Gillis, et al., 2012; Fjellanger et al., 2002; Williams, et al., 2004). Clicker training involves the use of a specific sound when an animal performs a desired behavior. The “click” sound marks the correct behavior and serves as a bridge between the desired behavior and the animal’s reward. This bridge is extremely helpful in helping trainers clearly and precisely communicate with an animal (Pryor, 2004). Although use of clicker training is common with many species, there has been very little attention given to the possibility of clicker training cats.


April 28-29, 2017
Green Chimneys
Brewster, NY

June 22-25, 2017
Davis, CA

August 3-6, 2017
Washington, DC

November 12-14, 2017
Miami, FL