Dennis C. Turner

Research Interests

The main goal of our research is to understand the behaviour of companion animal species, mainly dogs and cats, and the mechanisms underlying and explaining human-companion animal relationships.


Education and Professional Positions

2008 - present Trustee and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel, World Society for the Protection of Animals, WSPA, London, UK
2006 - present Secretary, International Society for Animal-Assisted Therapy (see
2002 - present Privatdozent (Habil.), Vetsuisse Zurich faculty, Venia legendi: Behavior of companion animals, Switzerland
2001 - present Invited Professor and Principal, Animal-Assisted Therapy Program, Azabu University Graduate School, Fuchinobe (Tokyo), Japan (Educational Research Center for AnthroZoology)
2001 - 2007 Advisory Council, then Board Member, WSPA, London 2006 – present Secretary, International Society for Animal-Assisted Therapy (see
1995 - 2010 President, International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, IAHAIO
1993 - present Section Editor for Companion Animals, Animal Welfare, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, UK
1991 - present President, IEMT-Switzerland (see )
1991 - present Director, I.E.A.P./I.E.T., Institute for applied Ethology and Animal Psychology, Hirzel/ZH, an internationally accredited and Swiss certified, continuing education institution (see )
1975 - present Senior Research Associate, Zoology Institute, Department of Animal Behavior, University of Zurich, Switzerland (50% after 1991)
1974 ScD degree, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health (Animal Behavior and Mental Health), Baltimore, MD, USA
1970 - 1974 National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellow
1970 B.Sc. degree in Biology with Honors, San Diego State University, USA

Selected Publications

  • Fehlbaum B., Waiblinger E., Turner DC. (2010) A comparison of attitudes towards animals between the German- and French-speaking part of Switzerland. Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde 152 (6): 285-293. DOI: 10.1024/0036-7281/a000066
  • Heberlein M., Turner DC. (2009) Dogs, Canis familiaris, find hidden food by observing and interacting with a conspecific. Animal Behaviour 78: 385-391. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.05.012
  • Lichtsteiner M., Turner DC. (2008) Influence of indoor-cat group size and dominance rank on urinary cortisol levels. Animal Welfare 17(3): 215-238
  • Ribi FN., Yokoyama A., Turner D. (2008) Comparison of children’s behavior toward Sony’s robotic dog AIBO and a real dog: a pilot study. Anthrozoös 21(3): 245-256. DOI: 10.2752/175303708X332053