Pauleen C Bennett

Pauleen C Bennett
La Trobe University · School of Psychological Science

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163
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Publications

Publications (163)
Article
Background: Available empirical evidence suggests that pet animals do not always experience an optimal welfare state. However, most pet welfare research has focused on dogs and cats, with less research investigating amphibians and reptiles. The aim of this study was to characterise how owners of pet frogs and turtles in Victoria, Australia, attemp...
Conference Paper
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Animal-assisted services are evolving rapidly, with animals working in a variety of roles to support vulnerable people. However, the terms used to describe these animals can be confusing. Different terms may be referring to the same role, or different roles might be referred to using the same term. Since animals working in certain roles are afforde...
Article
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Introduction: The benefits of completing household chores appear to transfer beyond managing day-to-day living. It is possible that chore engagement may improve executive functions, as engagement in chores require individuals to plan, self-regulate, switch between tasks, and remember instructions. To date, little research has been conducted on hou...
Article
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Executive functions (EFs) are cognitive processes that are used to effortfully self-regulate behaviour and might be important for dogs’ success in working and pet roles. Currently, studies are assessing dogs’ EF skills through often laborious cognitive measures, leading to small sample sizes and lacking measures of reliability. A complementary meth...
Article
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Executive functions (EFs) are a set of cognitive processes used for effortful self-regulation of behaviour. They include inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility and, in some models, attention. In humans, socioeconomic factors and life experiences shape development of EFs. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) must often regulate their behaviou...
Article
Dog guides (Canis familiaris) fulfil important roles for their handlers. However, the process of training working dogs is costly, and many dogs fail training due to behavioural issues. Recently, research has shown that cognitive traits are important for success as working dogs, and that these might develop early in young puppies. Working memory and...
Article
Giving evidence in court can be stressful, especially for children. Since increased anxiety is associated with an increased likelihood of unreliable testimony among children, reducing anxiety in this context is important to improve the quality of evidence. Dogs have been used in legal settings, such as courtrooms, to provide comfort for vulnerable...
Article
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Working in the veterinary profession can be both stressful and rewarding. High workloads, long work hours, emotionally charged interactions with clients, and exposure to animal suffering and participation in euthanasia place many at risk of compassion fatigue, which then threatens their professional quality of life (ProQOL). Despite this risk, many...
Article
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Many assistance dog providers use volunteer raisers to manage each puppy’s learning and daily experiences, which partly determines the puppy’s behavioural development. Therefore, it is important that raisers engage in recommended practices. Three common recommendations from the literature include frequent socialisation and consistent training for t...
Article
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Conservation detection dogs (CDDs) are trained to locate biological material from plants and animals of interest to conservation efforts and are often more effective and economical than other detection methods. However, the financial costs of developing and appropriately caring for CDDs can nonetheless prohibit their use, particularly by smaller co...
Article
Conservation Detection Dogs (CDDs) are trained to locate biological material from plants and animals relevant to conservation efforts. CDDs can be more effective and more economical than other survey methods, yet financial costs associated with training and maintaining CDDs, while meeting their welfare needs, can prohibit their use. It takes a grea...
Article
Problem behaviours are the most common reason to reject young dogs from entering advanced training and obtaining certification for work as an assistance dog. Therefore, working towards preventing undesirable behaviours should be prioritised to reduce failure rates. The development of problem behaviours in puppies, such as those associated with fear...
Article
Puppies are often purpose-bred and carefully selected to be future assistance dog candidates. Early experiences during their stay with volunteer puppy raisers help shape their behaviour as young adults, which is an important determinant of whether they are selected for further training. Exactly how puppy raisers practices contribute to puppy behavi...
Article
• Professionally trained conservation detection dogs (CDDs) are taught to locate biological targets, including cryptic and low‐density plant and animal species, but have been largely underused in acknow • detecting endangered invertebrates. • This pilot study assessed the ability of four volunteer CDD/handler teams to detect the endangered Alpine s...
Article
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The authors wish to make the following corrections [1]:In Table 1, under case study 4, the code was originally labeled as H8, P8 and ADI 8; these labels should be H4, P4 and ADI 4, respectively [...]
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Pet–owner co-sleeping is increasingly common in some parts of the world. Adult owners often subjectively report benefits of co-sleeping with pets, although objective actigraphy reports conversely indicate sleep disruptions due to the pet. Because limited research is available regarding pet–owner co-sleeping in non-adult samples, the aim of this two...
Article
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In shelters, it is usual to conduct a standardised behaviour assessment to identify adoption suitability. The information gathered from the assessment is used to identify the behaviour of the dogs, its suitability for adoption and to match the dog with an ideal home environment. However, numerous studies have demonstrated a lack of predictability i...
Article
Domestic dogs play many vital roles in human lives; however, relatively little is known about how they perceive the world visually. Given dogs’ recent popularity as a subject in cognitive and behavioural studies, it is important to understand how they visually interpret the world around them. One way to evaluate perception is to assess illusion sus...
Article
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In shelters it is usual to conduct standardised behaviour assessments on admitted dogs. The information gathered from the assessment is used to identify dogs that are suitable for adoption and assist in matching the dog with suitable adopters. These assessments are also used to guide behaviour modification programs for dogs that display some unwant...
Article
The human–animal bond (HAB) has been shown to provide a buffering effect for stress and adversity, particularly when individuals experience lower social support networks. This study aimed to explore the relationship between the HAB, perceived human social support and resilience by assessing whether the HAB could moderate the impact of social suppor...
Article
Behavioral assessment of dogs is performed at shelters worldwide, often in an attempt to identify dogs that may have behavior problems following adoption. However, the assessment components have been shown to have unknown or in some cases limited predictability for exhibition of problems in the new home, with generally good predictability for socia...
Article
Greyhounds retired from the racing industry, or who are deemed unsuitable for racing, can make good companion animals. However, some greyhounds have a strong predilection towards predatory behaviour (PB), a motor pattern associated with the catching and consuming of prey. This tendency can negatively impact whether the dog is deemed suitable for ad...
Article
Background A large number of snakes are kept as pets in Western societies. Few studies have been undertaken to assess keeping practices of snakes by private owners in Australia. Therefore, there is concern that some owners may not understand even basic husbandry requirements. The aim of this preliminary study was to identify the most common practic...
Article
Purpose: First-time assistance dog handlers experience a profound life change when they bring an assistance dog into their home. Therefore, this article investigates the broad context of handlers’ lived experiences prior to and throughout the first year after acquiring an assistance dog. Materials and methods: To understand holistic experiences bet...
Article
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Assistance dog puppies live with their raisers for up to 16 months before entering advanced training and, hopefully, becoming qualified to help people with a disability. Almost half of the puppies fail to meet the behavioural standards required for assistance dogs, and some puppy raisers produce more behaviourally favourable puppies than others. It...
Article
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Canine behaviour assessments are commonly used in shelters to identify behaviour problems in dogs prior to adoption. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether kennel monitoring of dogs could identify early signs of behaviour problems, thereby facilitating early intervention and better management of dogs displaying behaviour problems. Kennel beh...
Article
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Responsible cat ownership is important for keeping pet cats and wildlife safe. Much research investigating levels of compliance with and attitudes towards responsible cat ownership practices has focused on cat owners. Non-owner attitudes are relevant because their opinions may encourage cat-owning friends and family to engage (or not) in a cat mana...
Article
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One way to better understand how animals visually perceive their environment is to assess the way in which visual information is interpreted and adapted based on preconceptions. Domestic dogs represent a unique species in which to evaluate visual perception as recent findings suggest they may differ from humans and other animal species in terms of...
Conference Paper
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Most puppies being raised as potential assistance dogs spend their time living and learning with a volunteer raiser during their first year of life, a critical period for their physical and psychological development. After this puppy raising stage, up to half of all assistance dog puppies fail to graduate to work in an assistance role. Many factors...
Article
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In many countries where companion dogs are popular, owners are strongly encouraged to neuter their dogs. Consequently, millions of dogs are neutered each year. In recent times considerable attention has been paid to the possible effects of such procedures on canine health and welfare. Less scrutinized are the potential ramifications of widespread n...
Article
Purpose: As the popularity of using dogs to assist individuals with disability grows, there is a need for increased understanding of assistance dog handlers’ experiences of living and working with their dog. This is particularly pertinent to first-time handlers and during the initial placement period, where the handler and assistance dog, and the r...
Article
Background: The effort-reward imbalance model suggests that, when the efforts required within the workplace are disproportionately large in comparison to the rewards resulting from those efforts, there is an increased risk of stress-related health issues. The model posits that higher levels of "overcommitment," in addition to a high effort-reward...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to explore first time handlers’ experiences when working with an assistance dog (AD). Interviewees included seven first time AD handlers and 14 other individuals close to these handlers, including family members, carers and AD instructors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted six months and one year after each han...
Technical Report
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There's an old saying that pets and their owners become more similar as time goes by. There may be some truth in that but can we use information about owners to improve veterinary care? Research is showing the health and welfare of pets can be influenced by personality traits in the owners.
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Due to the composition of the cone photoreceptors in the retina of dogs, it has been proposed they might demonstrate human-like red/green colour blindness. However, some assessments have shown that dogs may still be able to distinguish between red and green. This suggests that dogs may be differentiating between the two colours on the basis of thei...
Article
Purpose: Companion dogs can provide psychosocial benefits for their owners. Assistance dogs reportedly provide similar benefits, while also performing specific tasks. These psychosocial benefits may increase their handler’s quality of life and ability to thrive – defined as having the ability to grow and flourish, especially in the face of adversit...
Article
Objectives To describe preliminary use of a forced‐choice preferential looking task for the clinical assessment of vision in dogs. Materials and Methods The vision of 18 pet dogs was investigated in two separate studies using a forced‐choice preferential looking task: multiple observers watched eye, head and body movements on video recordings to i...
Article
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Background Research has shown Australian group homes, and supported living options, fail to support people with intellectual disabilities to develop social connections. This pilot study evaluates the effectiveness of a visiting dog walking program to facilitate encounters with other community members. Method Sixteen adults with intellectual disabi...
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One way to uncover visual capabilities in animals is to assess perception of geometric illusions. Recently, we found that dogs did not demonstrate susceptibility to the Ponzo illusion when it was presented in a variety of contexts, a unique result as all other published reports of nonhuman animal species tested on the illusion have demonstrated hum...
Article
Welfare considerations surrounding dog (Canis familiaris) breeding practices are contentious in some sectors of the community. However, public perceptions surrounding dog breeding practices are poorly understood. The aims of this study were to describe perceptions of dog breeding and associated welfare concerns held by members of the general public...
Conference Paper
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Introduction: Migration to a new culture is a stressful process and much research has been conducted in the search for strategies to facilitate successful acculturation. Meanwhile, companion animals have been found, in many stressful circumstances, to provide owners with psychological and social support. This study addressed the question of whether...
Conference Paper
Background: This pilot study provided support to adults with intellectual disabilities to regularly walk a dog in their community, and evaluated the effectiveness to facilitate encounters with other community members. Method: A matched pairs design was used. Eight participants in Group 1 had 14, one hour outings with a handler and their dog, whils...
Article
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The concept of grit as described by Duckworth (Journal of personality and social psychology 92:1087, 2007) has captured the attention of educators and researchers alike. A measure of a student’s ability to effortfully persist in the face of struggle, grit is proposed to be an important characteristic required for students to succeed academically (D...
Article
Clicker training is a training technique whereby a signal (e.g. the ‘click’ of a clicker) is emitted by the trainer immediately after an animal offers a desirable behavior, following which a reward is delivered. Beyond improvements in training time, dog owners report that clicker training can make training more fun and strengthen the relationship b...
Article
People with vision impairments face physical, psychological, and social challenges, potentially preventing them from thriving–defined as growing and flourishing especially in the face of adversity. Guide dogs relieve some of these challenges for vision-impaired adults. However, due to concerns regarding an adolescent's ability to manage a guide dog...
Article
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The surrender of cats to animal shelters results in financial, social and moral burdens for the community. Correlations of caretaking and interactions with surrendered cats were calculated, to understand more about humans' relationships with surrendered cats and the contribution of semi-owned cats to shelter intakes. A questionnaire was used to col...
Article
Pets factor into the daily decision making of many people. Importantly, various characteristics of these human-animal relationships are known to strongly influence pet owners’ risk behavior and, consequently, their animals’ welfare during disasters. Yet, few studies have examined a range of such characteristics concurrently in order to describe ris...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last 20 years, a large amount of research has been conducted in an attempt to uncover the cognitive abilities of the domestic dog. While substantial advancements have been made, progress has been impeded by the fact that little is known about how dogs visually perceive their external environment. It is imperative that future research deter...
Article
Full-text available
While domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) play a large role in human daily lives, little is known about how they perceive the visual world. Recent research suggests that dogs may perceive certain visual illusions differently than humans. To further evaluate geometric illusion susceptibility, eight dogs were assessed on their susceptibility to the Ponz...
Article
Full-text available
One central issue in the study of animal cognition concerns conceptual behaviour, where an organism categorises objects, events, and relationships so as to transfer previously learned rules to novel contexts. In this study, we investigated whether or not dogs demonstrate conceptual behaviour in the form of simple relational class concept learning....
Article
Clicker training is an animal training technique derived from mechanized laboratory-based studies of animal learning. However, clicker training in the real world often takes place with a human trainer in an environment that is not as well controlled as a laboratory. Attempts to empirically evaluate applied clicker training techniques using testing...
Article
Despite the fact that both workplace and training environments can be inherently demanding, these environments sometimes manage to elicit a level of engagement and enthusiasm that is surprising. The Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model has been used extensively within the workplace to predict both engagement and burnout. It suggests that high demands...
Article
Owner practices affect pet welfare, and little is known about the ways in which reptile owners attempt to meet their pet’s welfare needs. We asked 316 pet lizard owners in Victoria, Australia, for information on the ways in which they seek to meet their pet’s environmental, dietary, behavioral, social, and health needs. Items were generated based o...
Article
Full-text available
Susceptibility to geometrical visual illusions has been tested in a number of non-human animal species, providing important information about how these species perceive their environment. Considering their active role in human lives, visual illusion susceptibility was tested in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Using a two-choice simultaneous discr...
Article
Characteristics of the human-animal bond can be influenced by both owner-related and pet-related factors, which likely differ between species. Three studies adapted the Monash Dog-Owner Relationship Scale (MDORS) to permit assessment of human-cat interactions as perceived by the cat’s owner. In Study 1,293 female cat owners completed a modified ver...
Article
Full-text available
Clicker training refers to an animal training technique, derived from laboratory-based studies of animal learning and behaviour, in which a reward-predicting signal is delivered immediately following performance of a desired behaviour, and is subsequently followed by a reward. While clicker training is popular amongst dog training practitioners, sc...
Article
Understanding individual behavioral differences in domestic cats could lead to improved selection when potential cat owners choose a pet with whom to share their lives, along with consequent improvements in cat welfare. Yet very few attempts have been made to elicit cat personality dimensions using the trait-based exploratory approaches applied pre...
Article
In order to improve transfer following training, it is important to understand what the training alters for each individual. We sought to develop a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms implicated in successful training. A questionnaire modelled on the Theory of Planned Behaviour (ToPB) was used to compare two distinct, academic skills...
Article
Obedience in dogs may have implications for animal welfare and the dog-human relationship. This study used event and time-based lag sequential analyses to examine the quality of dogmanship in videos of humans training dogs on a public video sharing network. Lag sequential analysis was used to assess the responses that occur after a specific behavio...
Article
Full-text available
Dogs are widely used for scent detection work, assisting in searches for, among other things, missing persons, explosives, and even cancers. They are also increasingly used in conservation settings, being deployed for a range of diverse purposes. Although scent detecting dogs have been used in conservation roles for over 100 years, it is only recen...
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This article examines how human-animal connections influence risk perception and behaviour in companion animal guardians exposed to bushfire threat in Australia. Although the objective role of psychological bonds with companion animals is well accepted by researchers, subjective interpretations of these bonds by animal guardians are relatively unde...
Article
Obedience in dogs may have implications for animal welfare and the dog-human relationship. This study used event and time-based lag sequential analyses to examine the quality of dogmanship in videos of humans training dogs on a public video-sharing network. Lag sequential analysis was used to assess the responses that occur after a specific behavio...
Article
Full-text available
In humans, geometrical illusions are thought to reflect mechanisms that are usually helpful for seeing the world in a predictable manner. These mechanisms deceive us given the right set of circumstances, correcting visual input where a correction is not necessary. Investigations of non-human animals’ susceptibility to geometrical illusions have yie...
Article
Introduction: While much research has focused on supporting patients' psychological recovery after an acute cardiac event, relatively little attention has been given to the psychological wellbeing of partners of patients. There are some indications that partners experience higher levels of anxiety and depression than cardiac patients. Previous stud...