Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D., BCBA-D


animal-assisted therapy, applied behavior analysis, autism, therapy dogs


Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) has become a popular intervention for the health and behavioral community as evidenced by media attention. The research that has been done on AAT has been mostly qualitative and anecdotal. The current study adds to the literature on AAT by collecting quantitative data on AAT. A multiple baseline design across three participants was used to evaluate the independent reading duration under a baseline condition (no dog present) and a non-contingent access to dog condition (which simulated how dog therapy is typically conducted). If reading did not increase during the non-contingent dog condition, a contingent access to the dog condition was implemented to determine if the participants would engage in increased reading duration to earn access to the dog. In this study, noncontingent access to the therapy dog resulted in increased reading duration for two of the participants. One participant showed variable results in the noncontingent phase and required the introduction of the contingent dog phase, which resulted in increases in reading duration.