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Your dog thinks like a toddler, new research confirms – 10/06/2022

Many people treat their dogs as their children, and new research has found that dogs regulate their behaviour in the same way as a pre-schooler.

Wildlife volunteers’ mental health – 20/05/2022

La Trobe University research will support the mental health of wildlife volunteers, potentially reducing the incidence of traumatic stress and burnout experienced by those caring for injured or traumatised animals.

Incredible mission to deliver assistance dogs to veterans suffering PTSD | Today Show Australia – 22/02/2022 (video)

A four year trial has been completed with assistance dogs at La Trobe University. Dr Tiffani Howell shares the impressive results, mentioning improvements in quality of life, reduction in PTSD symptoms, and some reductions in carer burden.

Drop-off in puppy class turnout, despite huge number of adoptions during COVID lockdown – 19/10/2021

An expert researcher on anthrozoology, Professor Pauleen Bennett, says having a pet has filled a gap in the lives of many people.

Assistance dog study aims to improve on 50 per cent success rate – 08/09/2021

Jimmy Mai’s research suggests that better support for volunteer trainers is needed. He says dog selection is one thing, but the high failure rate could be addressed with improved training methods. Academics believe the research could see more assistance dogs available for those in need.

Dogs and People | The Project – 23/06/2021 (video)

When a human and a dog gaze at one another, something special happens. Two filming makers travelled the world and have unearthed some truly amazing stories of dogs and their humans.

Assistance dogs supporting veterans with PTSD – 24/03/2021 (radio)

The campaign towards a royal commission into veteran suicides is a step closer with a motion passing Parliament this week. As negotiations are underway The Daily look into a support program for veterans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. Beginning its trial in 2019, La Trobe University in collaboration with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) developed a assistance dog project to support veterans diagnosed with PTSD.

La Trobe University Bendigo now the global hub for optical illusion research in dogs: research paper – 28/08/2020

Bendigo is now the epicentre for tricking dogs using optical illusions, a review of cutting edge behavioural science suggests.

La Trobe University researcher looks at link between daily chores and a child’s memory, planning skills – 05/08/2020

La Trobe University PhD candidate Deanna Tepper created an online survey to see if there was a link between daily chores and a child’s executive functioning. “Since 2016, I have been looking at how interacting with pets can improve cognitive skills in children,” she said. “What we have been finding with pets is the idea that they can foster responsibility in children. We wanted to put those areas together and see if that continues with chores.”

Mental health study finds you can be too passionate about your pet – 03/06/2020

Australian researchers have studied how the love of a pet can adversely affect our mental health. The study, conducted by University of Adelaide and La Trobe University, explored the relationship between the human-animal bond and human social support and how this impacted wellbeing and resilience.

La Trobe University Bendigo’s Nick Rutter and his drive to protect Australia’s biodiversity – 28/03/2020

La Trobe University PhD student Nick Rutter says his passion for conservation has always been a large part of his life. Mr Rutter has spent the past three years developing a group of volunteer conservation dogs as part of his PhD research project. The dogs, which are based in Greater Bendigo and Melbourne, collect data on endangered native animals.

Let it breed: why desexing dogs isn’t always the best thing to do – 30/12/2019

In pet-loving nations such as Australia, nobody likes the idea of dogs churning out litters in squalid conditions or sitting homeless in a shelter. Responsible dog owners are therefore strongly encouraged to desex their pets, through programs such as national desexing month and low-cost surgery schemes. In some places in Australia, it is even compulsory.

We groom dogs in our own image: the cuter they are, the harder we fall – 27/02/2020

Australians are slightly obsessed with our dogs. But are we obsessed enough to watch a reality doggy makeover show? This got us thinking: what is it that makes something cute and who gets to decide what cuteness is? And why does cuteness tug at our heartstrings so strongly?

In parts of ­Australia, a dog’s life has become almost aspirational. But is it harmful to them? – 21/09/2019

Australians are slightly obsessed with our dogs. But are we obsessed enough to watch a reality doggy makeover show? This got us thinking: what is it that makes something cute and who gets to decide what cuteness is? And why does cuteness tug at our heartstrings so strongly?

Is a canine companion the best medicine? – 09/07/2019 (radio)

Dogs are a popular pet and dog-owners will tell you how clever they are. They can be trained to do all kinds of things and they have emotional intelligence. It’s these characteristics which make them great companions for people with mental health conditions. Dogs are trained for therapy and assistance but science is still figuring out how and why they work.

Assistance dog trial for helping veterans showing positive signs – 25/06/2019

The trial of assistance dogs supporting veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Victoria is showing “positive signs during the initial phases”, according to Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester.

Australia’s laws failing to keep up with the rise of assistance animals – 11/06/2019

When Jodie got an assistance dog for her autistic son, the benefits were immediate – but as more people turn to animals for assisted therapy, there is increasing confusion around the laws allowing them in public spaces and experts and advocates say it’s time for change.

A Trio of Fluffy Detectives Is on a Quest to Save the Endangered Alpine Stonefly – 24/05/2019

Australia’s best insect trackers are very, very good boys. Early this spring, three highly trained detectives trekked out to the Victorian Alps in southeastern Australia in pursuit of elusive quarry.

Dogs trained to find endangered insects – 08/05/2019

In a world first, dogs in Australia have been trained to search for live specimens of an endangered insect species. Their quarry is the alpine stonefly – the largest species of stonefly in the family but, at just 50 millimetres in length, one of the smallest animals dogs have been used to detect.

Sit! Seek! Fly! Scientists train dogs to sniff out endangered insects – 06/05/2019

Three very good dogs – named Bayar, Judd and Sasha – have sniffed out the endangered Alpine Stonefly, one of the smallest animals a dog has been trained to successfully detect in its natural habitat.

Pets and owners – you can learn a lot about one by studying the other – 26/03/2019

There’s an old saying that pets and their owners become more similar as time goes by. There may be some truth in that, but can we use information about owners to improve veterinary care?

La Trobe University Bendigo starts puppy training program to help veterans living with PTSD – 13/03/2019

A new program teaching puppies how to assist veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has started at La Trobe University Bendigo. Bendigo staff and students have adopted eight different dogs for 12 months, where they will be trained to become mental health assistance dogs. 

The latest students to enrol at La Trobe University – 12/03/2019 (video)

Four-legged furry companions will pop up all over La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus, as an innovative program to help veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) starts this week. The pilot is part of a four-year, $2 million national project funded by the Australian Government, and led by La Trobe’s School of Psychology and Public Health.

Puppies start journey to help with PTSD – 11/03/2019

Four-legged furry companions will pop up all over La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus, as an innovative program to help veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) starts this week. The pilot is part of a four-year, $2 million national project funded by the Australian Government, and led by La Trobe’s School of Psychology and Public Health.

Set your pets up for a summer of success – 08/01/2019

People do strange things over summer. They visit people and places they wouldn’t normally visit, have parties, enjoy loud explosions that light up the night sky. Why do some of our pets not cope with festivities and what can we do to ensure they do?

Dogs to be trained to support war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder – 03/06/2018

For Australian war veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the loyalty and friendship of assistance dogs can help them on the path to recovery. Now evidence of the special relationship between dogs and veterans will be scientifically examined for the first time in Australia.

A trial program based in Bendigo will train puppies to assist veterans suffering from PTSD – 01/06/2018

Returning from a war zone back to everyday life can present an array of challenges for veterans. The unfortunate reality is some may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder upon returning home. However, after years of work looking at the relationship between humans and animals, Associate Professor Pauleen Bennett has found a way to help veterans.

La Trobe leads assistance dog project – 30/05/2018

La Trobe University will lead an innovative program to train assistance dogs for veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What Do Dogs See in Mirrors? – 31/08/2017

Dogs don’t use mirrors to refer back to themselves like we do. No dog will ever gaze into a mirror and reflect, “So THAT’S what my ears look like.” But that shouldn’t suggest mirrors are meaningless to dogs. Instead, their relationship with mirrors seems to come in three equally interesting flavors.

Why do people want their pets to be Instagram famous? – 19/08/2017

Social media’s tendency for canine worship has given rise to a new breed of celebrity dog — what’s become known as the pupfluencer. Pupfluencers are well groomed, aptly accessorised dogs with exuberant personalities and growing online fan bases.

The Personality Differences Between Cat And Dog People Are Exactly What You’d Expect – 10/06/2017

When it comes to classifying ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ people, there are two pretty distinct stereotypes. A dog lover is a ball of boundless, lovable energy potentially lacking in the smarts department; whereas a cat lover is a shrewd introvert who could take or leave your affection, frankly.

Four-legged friends boost student learning – 05/10/2016

Students at St Monica’s Primary School in Kangaroo Flat had a little extra help with their classwork recently in the form of four-legged teachers’ aids, courtesy of Righteous Pups. The Bendigo not-for-profit teamed up with researches from La Trobe University to find out whether assistance dogs could help improve the pupils’ learning.

A round of paws for Australia’s first dedicated dog behaviour lab based at La Trobe University in Bendigo – 03/12/2015

Questions that have dogged humans for decades about the behaviour of their canine companions could soon be answered in Bendigo. Australia’s first dedicated dog behaviour and cognition laboratory has opened at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus.

Pets on Prozac – 19/03/2015

Why is Felix in such a flap? Is Fido just having a dog day afternoon, or could it be something more serious? Maybe it’s time for some pills to calm them down, writes Mark White.

Not a study of Ants – 19/07/2013

Never seen the word “Anthrozoology” before? That’s okay. If you looked at the word and focused on the “ant” part, then try again. Instead, “Anthro” and “Zoology” are the interesting bits, and broadly speaking anthrozoology is the study of human-animal interactions and relationships.


La Trobe University is a public research university based in Victoria, Australia. Established in 1964, La Trobe University now accommodates over 36,000 students and operates across regional and rural campuses.