Art & Science of Animal Assisted Interventions

Virtual or In-person Workshop

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

*****This is Memorial Day Weekend*****


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May 28th & 29th, 2022  (Saturday & Sunday) 

The Art & Science of Animal Assisted Interventions 

In person space limited to 10 people.    


May 30th, 2022  (Monday)  

Virtual Participants will observe application

In person participants experience hands-on learning lab (Space limited to 10 people) 


ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA, CPDT-KA  is an occupational therapist in private practice at Dogwood Therapy Services, in sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is President of Animal-Assisted Intervention International, has 20 years experience as an occupational therapist, a dog trainer/instructor, and serves on several boards and committees that focus on different components of the human-animal interactions and animal assisted interventions. She is recognized around the world for her work in animal-assisted interventions, program development, and has published five books to date. Melissa is adjunct faculty, clinical instructor, and a collaborator of research, with a variety of universities, internationally.  She develops and teaches AAI certificate curriculum at several universities.


Saturday & Sunday (May 28 & 29) – The Art Science of Animal Assisted Interventions

Day 1 :

This is an introductory and intermediate level curriculum. It includes the basic building blocks of animal-assisted interventions Participants will explore history, theory and practice of  human-animal interactions in different roles and settings. Standards of practice and competencies will be explored for professionals, handlers, clients, and dogs. Related research will be discussed. Participants will learn a variety of content to support professional development and continuing education for implementation of animal assisted activities, education, therapy and for dog trainers who support dogs and handlers in this area.


·       Review the history of AAIs

·       Describe human-animal interactions as it relates to companions, volunteer visitors, in       

        professional  settings with healthcare and human service provider sessions, and dog training for

        this work

·       Explore Standards of Practice and Competencies for AAI providers

·       Describe interaction techniques and potential outcomes with dogs who have jobs

·       Animal Assisted Interventions – Ideas for therapeutic activities based on client goal areas

·       Discuss AAI teamwork relationship (dog & handler, dog and patients/clients/students)
engagement styles

·       “What’s in it for the Dog?”- taking perspective of our canine colleagues. Work and play!

Day 2:

This workshop provides an emphasis on relationship development (dog and handler/patients/clients/students) and direct engagement in activities and techniques for therapy and education. Participants will learn goal areas, task analysis, modifications, precautions, the dogs’ perspective and training requirements.


·       Integrate components of evidence based practice regarding AAI as an intervention strategy

·       Jumping the Hurdles - Discuss AAI in professional practice, risk management, & liability issues

·       Regarding clients: Screen clients for appropriateness of animal-assisted therapy, identify       

        activities suited to meet existing client goals, perform activity/biomechanical analysis, client

        precautions/selection, and basic modifications

·       Regarding dogs: Identify skills that is required of a dog for AAI activities, special populations,

        use of novel equipment, self-management and welfare

·       Regarding handlers/trainers: Perform a self-screening to determine what skills are required for
        different settings, activities, and in accordance with skill level of canine colleague

Day 3 (May 30th)

This day focuses on bringing intervention activities and techniques together with dog handling and some basic training. This course is based on intervention plans found in books by the author.  

·       Initial AAI Program Development

·       Interdisciplinary AAI Mock Sessions

·       Evaluation of dogs and people as a team

·       Intervention Planning and Demonstration of Skills

·       Introduction to activities found in authors books

·       Special Topics /Group Discussions


** Due to the recent increase in Covid hospitalizations and deaths, in person participants must have proof of at least 2 Covid vaccinations, and negative Covid test result upon arrival to Albuquerque. Participants must bring and use a surgical or KN95 mask with frequent hand washing throughout the indoor portion of the conference. Thank you for your consideration of our medically fragile clients and their families.

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