Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

Shaping Inter-Species Connectedness

This interdisciplinary project aims to investigate different forms of human-animal connectedness and the ways in which they are shaped by different training cultures.

We focus on dog training as a particular example and we look at five cases:

  • police dogs
  • gun dogs
  • guide dogs
  • companion dogs
  • therapy dog’s training

The project is interdisciplinary, combining expertise from the social sciences and animal sciences and it explores different training practices, the effects they have on dog-human relationships and on the welfare of human and animal participants.

We ask whether training practices contribute to the emergence of new, post-human forms of human-animal relations. The research uses an innovative methodology, combining social and natural scientific approaches, and puts into practice a pioneering way of assessing animals’ emotional state.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Cardiff University and SRUC-Edinburgh.




The project team organised a session at the Annual Royal Geographical Society–Institute of British Geographers conference in Cardiff on 30 August 2018, entitled ‘Interspecies relatings: the emergence of new forms of human-animal engagement’.

This session explored the emergence of new understandings of human-animal engagement and the possibilities they present for the development of different and less exploitative forms of inter-species relating. The discussion is located in the expanding landscape of less human-centred relations between human and non-human animals and the shift away from anthropocentric strategies of domination and exploitation towards more empathetic, respectful and inter-agentic relationships.

The team presented the paper:

‘Changing dimensions of power: an exploration of dog training cultures in the UK’ (Nickie Charles, Mara Miele, Harriet Smith and Rebekah Fox),

Professor Gail Davies, Exeter University, acted as discussant.

Tîm y prosiect

Mara Miele

Yr Athro Mara Miele

Professor in Human Geography

Dr Harriet Smith

Research Associate


This research was made possible through the support of the following organisations: