Anastasia Stellato is PhD candidate in the department of Population Medicine. Her passion for animal behaviour and welfare arose during the completion of her BSc in Conservation Biology from University of Toronto. Anastasia continued to pursue this passion by moving to Guelph to complete a MSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare with Dr. Lee Niel at the University of Guelph, where she assessed subtle fear behaviours in companion dogs in response to social and non-social stimuli. Upon completion of her MSc, Anastasia decided to take a year off to work at an animal shelter to gain some hands on experience within a shelter setting. It did not take her long to realize that an academic future was her true path and decided to return to Dr. Lee Niel’s lab to pursue her PhD in 2016.
Her current research involves assessing the effectiveness of various methodologies on reducing fear and aggression in dogs during routine veterinary visits. She proposes to identify risk factors associated with veterinary-related fear and aggression in dogs and to assess various ways to minimize canine stress during routine veterinary appointments, such as owner presence and counter-conditioning training. The overall aim of her research is to promote the welfare of canines within a veterinary clinical setting.