We are looking for families with a family dog who have a child between the ages of 10-17 years with a developmental disability. Parents/guardians must be comfortable filling out surveys in English.

See Camp for children with disabilities for details

Development and evaluation of a novel imitation-based dog assisted intervention, 'DAID training', to increase joint activity and social wellbeing for children/ adolescents with developmental disabilities.

The purpose of this research study is to determine the benefits of an imitation based animal assisted physical activity program for children with developmental disabilities, using the family dog.

Up to 40 children with developmental disabilities and their parent/guardian may be invited to take part in this study- this means a total of 80 participants (40 children and up to 40 parent/ guardians).

After these assessments, you, your child and family dog will go through a process called randomization. Randomization: Randomization means that you are put into one of the groups by chance.  It is like drawing names from a hat.  Neither you nor the people doing the study will choose what group you will be in.  You will have a one in three chance of being placed in any group.

One group will receive a 10 session imitation based dog training intervention (about 1 hour per day). Another group will receive a 10 session dog walking intervention (about 1 hour per day).  One group will not receive an intervention.  However, both the dog-walking group and the group that did not receive an intervention the first year, will have an opportunity to take part in the imitation based intervention following the final assessments (about one year after entrance into the study), at no cost to the participants. The interventions will be in the form of an after school program (2 days per week for about 5 weeks) or a summer camp (5 days per week for about 2 weeks).


Representative publication

Tepfer, A.*, Ross, S.*, MacDonald, M., Udell, M., Ruaux, C., & Baltzer, W. (2017). Family dog-assisted adapted physical activity: A case study. Animals.7(35) [Epub ahead of print]: Doi: 10.3390/ani7050035