Research Officer




Doctor Tiffani Howell
ARG Research Officer

Research Fellow
La Trobe University

I completed my PhD at Monash University in 2013 under the supervision of Professor Pauleen Bennett. Since graduation, I have continued to work within the ARG at La Trobe University as a Research Fellow. My main research interests are assistance dogs, human-animal relationships, and animal welfare.

Assistance dogs

I am co-leading a 4-year trial, funded by Australia’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, investigating the impacts of assistance dogs as an adjunct to treatment for 20 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

I have worked with Australia’s National Disability Insurance Agency to study the effectiveness of assistance animals for people with disability and issues facing people with owner-trained assistance dogs, and to define commonly used but unclear terms in animal-assisted services (e.g., therapy animal, facility animal).

Human-animal relationships

I have studied people’s opinions of dog cognitive abilities, and I have been part of the development of a cat-owner relationship scale internationally. I also co-authored a study about whether dog cuteness impacts the quality of the dog-owner relationship.

Animal welfare

I have been part of greyhound industry-funded research into socialisation and training practices within the industry, as well as whether predatory behaviour (i.e., chasing small animals) can be prevented in greyhounds ready to retire from the industry and be adopted into pet homes.

I have also worked with the state government of Victoria, Australia, to understand pet management practices among pet owners. We found that not all pet owners are aware of how to meet their pet’s welfare needs, so educational campaigns were developed to improve welfare outcomes for pets.

ABOUT LA TROBE

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.

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