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Therese Rehn

Therese Rehn


I am a researcher at the Section for anthrozoology and applied ethology (at the department of animal environment and health) at SLU in Skara. I have, for as long as I can remember, been highly interested in animals and their behaviour. I mainly work with human-animal interactions, especially in dogs and cats. Within my PhD project, I investigated the effect of human interaction on dog behaviour and welfare. My focus is on positive interactions (e.g. the reunion between a dog and its owner), which links to other research performed within the group where we are trying to develop methods to measure positive emotional states in animals by e.g. behaviour observations, cognitive tests and physiology. In previous studies we have seen that reunion behaviour in dogs is influenced by the duration of separation from the owner, the type of contact initiated by the person upon reunion and the familiarity of the person.


In an ongoing project, we are trying to develop methods to assess different relationship styles between companion animals and their owners. These methods are based on theories in human psychology (attachment and social support). Also, we are running a project investigating the effect of owner caregiving style on emotional bonding in dogs. Moreover, an international survey about how we relate to our pets will be evaluated shortly.

I am the project manager of a large, longitudinal study which will start later this year. In that project, we will follow dogs and their owners over a longer period of time to study the effect of different life style choices on the welfare and behaviour of the dog.