Behavioral Response of Therapy Dogs from Handlers’ Subconscious Displayed Behavior


About this study

The purpose of this study is to:

  1. To determine if the handler’s behavior plays a part in how well a new therapy dog adapts to their role and handles the stress from the hospital environment.
  2. Investigate cortisol concentrations and ear temperature per and post visit for both handlers and therapy dogs.
  3. Observe physical signs of stress or comfortableness in both dogs and handlers during visits.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

New AAT team:

  • Passed Pet Partners or Alliance of Therapy dog certification test
  • Up to date on vaccines and has medical record present
  • Able to make three consecutive shadowed hospital visits
  • Team must be willing to wear a heart rate monitor during the sessions
  • Must be able to speak and read English
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Be willing to provide a saliva sample pre and post visit

Exclusion Criteria: 

New AAT team:

  • Failed Pet Partners or Alliance of Therapy dog certification test
  • Not up to date on vaccines and/or incomplete medical records
  • Unable to make three consecutive shadowed hospital visits
  • Unwilling to answer questionnaires, wear a heart rate monitor, provide a saliva sample, and ear temperature
  • Unable to speak and read English
  • Younger than 18 years


Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Brent Bauer, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Jessica Smidt

(507) 538-1407

More information


Publications are currently not available

Study Results Summary

Not yet available

Supplemental Study Information

Not yet available


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