The OHAIRE Coding System

Authors: Dr. Marguerite E. O'Haire, Dr. Robin Gabriels, & Dr. Monique Germone
Coding Coordinator: Katelynn Burgess

The Observation of Human-Animal Interaction for Research (OHAIRE) is a timed interval coding system intended to capture the unique interactions between humans and animals. It was originally developed and piloted with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interacting with typically-developing peers in a small group school setting with guinea pigs compared to toys (O’Haire et al., 2013). The OHAIRE Version 3 (OHAIRE-V3) was expanded and updated from its original version to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of administration (Guérin et al., 2016).

When can it be used?

It is currently being used to capture interactions with multiple species. This includes but is not limited to: dogs, horses, and guinea pigs. 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.

What does it capture?

The primary areas the OHAIRE-V3 captures are social communication behaviors, emotional displays, interactions with animals and control objects, and problem behaviors.

Online System

The coding tool uses an online coding system through Qualtrics to facilitate ease of coding and reduction of data entry errors associated with paper-and-pencil based measures. We can work with your team to develop a system that meets your study design and needs.

OHAIRE-V3 Video Coding 2016


In the latest version, OHAIRE-V3, excellent reliability can be achieved when coders are trained by the original trainer (primary) or a subsequent trainer (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.

How can I use it?

We are excited to announce that we are partnering with the digital education platform OpenLearning to design an online training course for the OHAIRE. This course will use sample videos to demonstrate coding techniques and will provide step-by-step instruction for becoming a reliable coder. The course is expected to launch in Summer 2019. 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.

For more information on the OHAIRE coding system, email


  1. O'Haire, M. E., McKenzie, S. J., Beck, A. M., & Slaughter, V. (2013). Social behaviors increase in children with autism in the presence of animals compared to toys. PLoS ONE, 8(2),
  2. Guérin, N. A., Gabriels, R. L., Germone, M. M., Schuck, S. E., Traynor, A., Thomas, K. M., McKenzie S. J., Slaughter, V. & O'Haire, M. E. (2018). Reliability and validity assessment of the Observation of Human-Animal Interaction for Research (OHAIRE) behavior coding tool. Frontiers in Veterinary Science5,
  3. Germone, M. M., Gabriels, R. L., Guérin, N. A., Pan, Z., Banks, T., & O’Haire, M. E. (2019). Animal-assisted activity improves social behaviors in psychiatrically hospitalized youth with autism. Autism

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