Ann R. Howie
Founder, Human-Animal Solutions, PLLC
Looking for a quick fix? You’re in the wrong place. In dog training and human mental health, there is no magic wand. If you’re looking for a real solution, Ann can help. The Human-Animal Solutions formula: practice, results, and peace of mind.
Ann knows how busy life can be in general and how much extra pressure we’re all under during the pandemic. Your dog can be both your best friend and a great source of irritation, especially when you’re under pressure. Ann’s gentle and focused guidance helps you relax and enjoy a happier life with your dog.
Ann is a state and nationally licensed clinical social worker (LICSW, ACSW), a Certified CARAT Assessor (CCA), and a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) who is passionate about enhancing the well-being of dogs and their people.
Ann has worked as a mental-health therapist since 1987, and in nearly every position she has incorporated animals as therapeutic partners. She recognizes and lives the power of the human-animal bond, including honoring the overpowering grief that can result from the loss of animal companions.
As a CCFT, she was trained through the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine in canine assessment, body mechanics, anatomy, functional movement, behavior, nutrition, and injury prevention and care. She is currently the only CCFT between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Ann also has a certificate as a Canine Conditioning Coach.
As a Certified CARAT Assessor, Ann completed five years of training and practice observing animals, learning the meaning of their behavior, and applying that information to animals’ willingness to do certain jobs and learn through various training methods.
For more than three decades, Ann has worked beside and trained dogs in a variety of ways. In 1987, understanding the profound impact animals can have on our lives, she began integrating dogs into her human counseling practice. In 1990, she founded an animal-assisted activities and therapy program at a local hospital and was the national Director of Animal-Assisted Therapy Services at Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society®) from 1995-2000. She is the author of four books about various aspects of animal-assisted interactions. Teaming with Your Therapy Dog is being used as a text by many therapy-dog groups and trainers nationwide.
Ann has profound respect for the influence of human behavior on animals’ behavior at home, while training, and during work. Her latest book, Assessing Handlers for Competence in Animal-Assisted Interventions, was just released on September 15, 2021. It gives comprehensive guidance about handler competencies and how to both train for and assess them.
Ann taught for the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver for 14 years, and she designed and directed their Canine-Assisted Intervention Specialist program. Ann is now on faculty with Oakland University’s Center for Human-Animal Interventions and with the University of Chester in the UK.
In 2001, Ann began training dogs professionally using positive-reinforcement methods to shape behavior and help her clients meet their training goals. She emphasizes the dog’s point of view and helps their human partners see their world through a dog’s eyes. A member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), she regularly participates in continuing education to stay up-to-date on training theories and techniques.
Ann’s work with animals has always focused on animal welfare and well-being. She began working directly on canine physical wellness in 2017 after seeing the positive change fitness training had on her own dog, Gusto. Not only did his body condition improve, he was having the time of his life overcoming challenges and learning new things. And Ann was having fun, too, spending time with her dog and learning that he was capable of more than she ever dreamed. It was then that she knew she wanted to bring this same type of mental stimulation, physical conditioning, and plain ole’ fun to other dogs and their people.
Through Human-Animal Solutions, Ann provides individual mental-health therapy and consultation and training for therapy dogs and animal-assisted interventions. Ann also helps with general canine behavior and training issues and provides referrals to other professionals as needed.
Ann focuses on compassionate and respectful handling of your and your dog’s needs. She creates a customized training plan that accommodates your and your dog’s physical limitations and condition. Because of her broad background and training, Ann is skilled with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and temperaments, and with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Her sense of humor and calm, reassuring demeanor put both dogs and humans at ease. At every step along the journey, she is there offering guidance, support, and encouragement to her clients and their dogs, helping them live healthier, happier lives together.