OHAIRE coding system

Behavior coding for Human-Animal Interaction Research

Participants & Animals

The OHAIRE was specifically created for use in research with participants aged 4 to 16 years, but may also be suitable for individuals of other ages, provided appropriate validity and reliability analyses are conducted. Participants must be with (at least) one other person during video sessions to allow for the coding of social behaviors.

The coding system has been used to code interactions with dogs and guinea pigs, as well as social behaviors before and after interactions with horses. The coded behaviors are general enough to be assumed to apply to other domesticated animal species. It can be used for videos both with and without an animal present. This enables blinded coding of interactions before and after the presence of an animal.

Captured Behaviors

The OHAIRE captures naturalistic behavior during unstructured interaction opportunities. The coding system captures emotional displays, interactive behaviors, including social communication and environmental interactions, and interfering behaviors.

Sampling Method

The OHAIRE uses interval behavior coding (also known as one-zero sampling) to note the presence or absence of a behavior during a video interval. The frequency or duration of behaviors within the interval are not coded. This method has been evaluated for its accuracy, reliability, and efficiency (Guérin et al., 2018).

Online System

The OHAIRE uses an online coding system through the Qualtrics survey platform to reduce the time and error associated with paper-based data entry. Currently, SPSS syntax for the coding system is written for Qualtrics data export. In the future, we aim to develop syntax that will accomodate other online data entry tools.


Using the latest version of the coding system (OHAIRE-v3), excellent inter-rater reliability can be achieved when raters are trained by the original rater (primary) or a subsequent rater (secondary). It yields high inter-rater reliability in populations with ASD (mean k = 0.85) as well as typical development (mean k = 0.83), where levels above 0.75 are considered excellent.

Online Training

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with OpenLearning to launch an online training course for the OHAIRE. To register for the course, please email

We look forward to working with you to ensure that you receive the best possible training and support as you capture ecologically valid data regarding the interactions of humans and animals!