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Therapy and the Human-Dog Bond

Any Dog Can Be a Therapy Dog

Your dog may not be suited to being an official therapy dog, one of those dogs who visits patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. However, he or she can be, and probably is therapeutic for you, perhaps in ways you don’t always notice.

I’ve written previously about the reciprocal  Read More 

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Empathy and the Human-Dog Bond

Puppy Love

Empathy, the ability to see and feel the world from another person’s perspective, is a crucial ingredient in all intimate relationships. Over 20,000 years, dogs have developed this capacity, some to a truly remarkable degree.

Most children are naturally empathic. They can learn to be even more empathic, and to have empathy even under  Read More 

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A Recipe for Attachment

All close and mutually trusting relationships are alike, whether they are between two people or between a person and a member of another species. Many species are very social, but dogs are the most social of the species that live with people, and the one that has lived with people for the longest time, perhaps for 20,000  Read More 
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Attachment, Therapy, and the Human-Dog Bond

The capacity to form a close and secure attachment is important to having a fulfilling life. And yet, many people of all ages have huge problems with attachment. Some very young children–and I’m speaking here of children 18 months and younger–lack the experience of having an adult who is always there, always  Read More 

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What is Animal Assisted Therapy for Children?

In my practice, animal-assisted therapy has a specific meaning: applying knowledge of the unique bond that can between people and dogs, as well as the great interpersonal skills of Sasha, my canine partner and an unusually sensitive daschund-mix.

My youngest patients connect instantly with Sasha, who eagerly greets them with a wagging tail and,  Read More 

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Destructive Entitlement

The concept of destructive entitlement, like that of constructive entitlement arises from Nagy’s thinking about interpersonal ethics. They represent two poles of a continuum. A person’s fund of constructive entitlement grows proportionally to their capacity to consider other people’s needs, and especially to consider how their actions affect other people. In  Read More 
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Why You Should Stop Trying to be the "Alpha"

This just-published article explains why trying to be your dog's alpha is based on lots of misinformation and is altogether a bad idea. You can read the complete article on the "Books & Articles " page of this website. The article also appears in the summer issue of "The Chronicle of the Dog," the official publication  Read More 
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Contextual Therapy: Constructive Entitlement

Constructive entitlement is at the core of Nagy’s ideas about personal growth and growth in close relationship. As I discussed in my previous post about entitlement, it may appear to be a psychological concept, and it certainly overlaps with the concept of “feelings of entitlement.,” but it is not the same. A person  Read More 
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A Father’s Day Game for You and Your Dog

Games are a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. When your dog is playing with you, he or she is bonding and strengthening your existing bond. Play is a way of affirming that there is no aggression between you and (contrary to popular opinion) no dominance either. For your  Read More 
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Contextual Therapy: Entitlement

In Boszormenyi-Nagy’s view, the accrual of and reliance on entitlement have a huge influence on the ways that people relate to each other and to what are often referred to as personality types and disorders. Entitlement is thus a dimension 4 concept, one relating to ethics, and can be seen to parallel a number  Read More 
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