© 2013, Playful Pooch Program*

This site focuses on the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy, a form of intervention for children and families that fully integrates play therapy and animal-assisted therapy. We are excited to offer several online courses through this site, and other information that will provide the practitioner with many of the tools needed to work in partnership with animals to provide services in an effective and humane way.

Animal Assisted Play Therapy is defined as “the integrated involvement of animals in the context of play therapy, in which appropriately-trained therapists and animals engage with children and families primarily in play interventions aimed at improving the child’s psychosocial health AND the animal’s well-being. Play and playfulness are essential ingredients of the interactions and the relationship.” (VanFleet, 2004, 2008)

Although our focus here is on Animal Assisted Play Therapy, much of the information will be valuable to anyone who is interested in Animal Assisted Therapy or Animal Assisted Interventions in general. Canine, equine, and other animal professionals are welcome to join us here as well, as we need a multidisciplinary community to provide the highest quality AAPT services to children and families while protecting the best interests of our animal co-therapists.

This site focuses on online courses and resources valuable to those interested in AAPT and runs in conjunction with the Playful Pooch Program’s website, www.playfulpooch.org, where you will find information about our live training programs, articles about animal behavior, humane training approaches, and many other topics.

I hope that you find the information and the offerings here of value!


Risë VanFleet, Ph.D., RPT-S, CDBC

Founder and Director, The Playful Pooch Program

Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania USA

*PLEASE NOTE: All photographs, graphics, and content on this site are copyrighted, © 2013, Playful Pooch Program. They may not be copied or reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the Playful Pooch Program. All rights reserved.

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