Mar 13 / Teresa Tyler

Exploring the Impact of Anthrozoology on Modern Dog Training

In the intricate entanglement between humans and animals, there exists a field that delves deep into the understanding of the unique bond we share with our canine companions – Anthrozoology.
This interdisciplinary study not only examines the relationships between humans and animals but also plays a pivotal role in shaping the way we approach dog training.

Understanding Anthrozoology:

Anthrozoology is a field that investigates the complex relationships between humans and animals, encompassing the emotional, psychological, and physiological connections that define these bonds.
It goes beyond traditional disciplines, integrating insights from philosophy, psychology, sociology, biology, geography and even neuroscience to gain a holistic understanding of the human-animal connection.
Anthrozoology delves into the multifaceted relationship between humans and animals, emphasising the reciprocal impact each has on the other. When applied to dog training, anthrozoology recognises that effective training goes beyond teaching cues; it involves comprehending the intricate interplay of human and canine emotions, behaviours, and communication styles.

The Shift in Dog Training Paradigms:

Historically, dog training has undergone various shifts in methodologies, from dominance-based techniques to positive reinforcement. The emergence of Anthrozoology has played a crucial role in shaping this evolution.
Rather than viewing dogs as mere subjects to be controlled, Anthrozoology emphasizes the reciprocal nature of the human-canine relationship and the importance of a strong bond.

Positive Reinforcement and Relationship Building:

One of the key contributions of Anthrozoology to dog training is the emphasis on positive reinforcement. This approach focuses on rewarding desired behaviours rather than punishing undesirable ones. By employing positive reinforcement techniques, trainers create an environment where dogs are motivated to learn and cooperate, fostering a positive relationship based on trust and respect.

Anthrozoology has deepened our understanding of canine cognition, bonding and relating, paving the way for more effective training methods.

By studying how dogs think, learn, and communicate, trainers can tailor their approaches to align with the innate behaviours and preferences of each individual dog. This personalised approach enhances the effectiveness of training programs and strengthens the bond between dogs and their human companions.

Anthrozoology also sheds light on the emotional well-being of dogs, acknowledging their capacity for complex emotions such as joy, fear, and empathy. Modern dog training, influenced by Anthrozoological principles, takes into account the emotional state of the dog, promoting methods that prioritise the mental health and happiness of our canine companions.

orporating Anthropomorphic Perspectives:
Anthrozoology challenges us to adopt anthropomorphic perspectives – viewing the world from the dog's point of view. By understanding and appreciating the unique qualities and needs of individual dogs, trainers can tailor their methods to create a training environment that is both enriching and enjoyable for the canine participants. Anthrozoology underscores the emotional connection between humans and dogs as a potent motivator for learning and behavioural adaptation. Recognising the profound impact of positive reinforcement and the human-canine bond, trainers leverage affection, praise, and rewards to reinforce desired behaviours. By acknowledging the emotional needs of both species, trainers create an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding.


The influence of Anthrozoology on dog training has been transformative, shaping a more empathic and scientifically informed approach to building relationships with dogs. As we continue to explore the depths of our connection with dogs, Anthrozoology will undoubtedly play a crucial role in refining and advancing the art and science of dog training, creating a harmonious coexistence between humans and their canine counterparts.

If you would like to learn about Anthrozoology take a look at our introductory course.
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