AAT in Practice

AAT in Practice

AAT is now being used to help with a wide range of medical and emotional disorders.

Animals are known to improve individual health and well being by stimulating sensory perceptions and improve empathy and compassion. AAT helps ease the pain of those who have been physically or emotionally abused as by stroking and nursing an animal during therapy or treatment, has shown to be beneficial as the clients relax, open up thus making the treatment more effective.

People who suffer from various medical and psychological disorders will often relate better to an animal than to other people and this is used in therapy to build a bridge to the understanding of other people.

There are established AAT Groups / Providers that have been using animals to assist and support humans who have difficulties with vision and physical abilities. The dog is used with the vision impaired and physically challenged persons where they assist in making the daily lives of their human partners more amenable. Other animals such as the monkey and the horse are also used to assist the physically challenged. The added benefit is that the animal becomes a friend and thus adds pleasure and enjoyment to the lives of whom they touch.

The dog is still the most common animal being used in AAT and is referred to as an Assistance Dog, a Service Dog, a Therapy Dog, a Hearing Dog, a Seeing Eye Dog, a Seizure Detection dog, and Handicapped Assistance dog along with the security and service areas.

Research of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal Assisted Education (AAE) in Australia, is currently undertaken by Universities, tertiary educational institutes, several hospitals and private organizations. There are also large International Organizations who hold conferences with components that cover all aspects into the connection between animals and humans.


Today AAT is used in many different areas.



AAT when used together with Physiotherapy, where improving body movements post trauma, accident or illness, aids assisting independency e.g. Petting encourages use of hands and arms, stretching and turning. Animals assist in the facilitation in the healing and rehabilitation of the acute and chronically ill as they provide a healthy diversion from the generally accepted forms of healing.


Occupational Therapy

AAT activities are very valuable in the Occupational Therapy field where improving cognitive functions i.e. relating to the process of being aware, knowing, thinking, reasoning, remembering, learning and judging, needed for daily living are worked and enhanced.

Hospital Visitations

AAT in aged care and in hospitals where physical contact with an animal has proven therapeutic, for example; reducing blood pressure, temperature, improving the mood and general wellness.



Special Schools

AAT in Education is still very new, but is on the increase and is already used by some private educational and welfare centers that assist those who find education, learning and social integration difficult due to physical, social or mental issues. Research of various AAT programs demonstrates that individuals exposed to early AAT intervention benefit much more from educational opportunities than before.

Social welfare


Interaction / Shyness



Australian Law and AAT