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Lisa Gunter

Assistant Professor, Animal Behavior & Welfare
Professional photo of Dr. Lisa Gunter.
School of Animal Sciences
3090 Litton-Reaves Hall
175 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Lisa Gunter, PhD, CAAB is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech in the School of Animal Sciences and co-directs the Center for Applied Animal Research & Education.

My research focuses on the behavior and welfare of companion animals, specifically our interactions with them, as it relates to animal sheltering, behavioral issues, and training. I strive to better understand our complex human-animal relationships and, in doing so, improve the lives of both companion animals and their owners. Thus far, my research questions have investigated the breed labeling of shelter dogs, their breed heritage, shelter housing and social interactions with other dogs and people, weeklong fostering, temporary stays in foster homes, short-term outings, behavioral indicators of welfare, post-adoption interventions focused on owner retention, canine adoption and relinquishment in the animal shelter - and more recently, fostering during the pandemic and safety net programs aimed at keeping people and their pets together.

  • Ph.D., Behavioral Neuroscience & Comparative Psychology, Arizona State University, 2018
  • M.A., Behavioral Neuroscience & Comparative Psychology, Arizona State University, 2015
  • B.A., Journalism, The Evergreen State College, 2001
  • A.A., Communications, Elgin Community College, 1998


Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

  • APSC 4984: Companion Animal Socialization & Behavior Laboratory Component
  • APSC 5984: Managed Animal Ethology & Welfare

Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC

  • PSYC 489: Animal Cognition
  • PSYC 225: Psychological Statistics & Lab

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

  • BIO/PSY 394: Dog Behavior
  • PSY 394: Animal Cognition
  • Nestlé Purina Companion Animal Award, International Society for Applied Ethology Congress 2019, 2021
  • First Place Outstanding Writing in Psychology, Psychology Department, Arizona State University 2018
  • Outstanding Mentor Award, Graduate & Professional Student Association, Arizona State University 2018
  • Best Student Oral Presentation, Conference for the International Society of Anthrozoology 2016
  • Second Place Research Poster, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference 2014
  • First Place Research Poster, Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference 2012
  • Trustee Foundation Scholarship, Elgin Community College 1996, 1997, 1998



Gunter, L., & Feuerbacher, E. (2022). Canine Enrichment. In DiGangi, B., Reid, P., Collins, K., Cussen, V. (Eds.), Animal Behavior for Shelter Veterinarian and Staff, 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons.


  • Gunter, L. (2018, July). How Does Temporary Fostering Affect the Welfare of Shelter Dogs? Becoming an Anthrozoologist.

  • Gunter, L. & Farber, N. (2018, March). Being a Dog’s Best Friend. Psychology Today.

  • Wynne, C. D. L. & Gunter, L. (2017, June). Stop Stereotyping Dogs. Slate.

  • Feuerbacher, E. N. & Gunter, L. (2015, September). Clever, Prepared, & Creative: Good Science & Dog Training in the 21st Century. The Chronicle of the Dog.

  • Feuerbacher, E. N., & Gunter, L. (2015, January). Good Science: Skinner’s Functional Relations and Dog Training. The Scoop.

Professional Affiliations

  • Pet Professional Guild: Shelter & Rescue Division
  • International Society for Applied Ethology
  • International Society of Anthrozoology
  • Animal Behavior Society


Related Articles

  • Article Item
    Bulldog outside in grass
    Certain dog breeds will suffer from climate change, says expert , article

    Bulldogs, pugs, and boston terriers all have one thing in common - their short snouts, and experts say as climate change worsens, they are going to suffer. The reason, as Lisa Gunter, an assistant professor in the School of Animal Science at Virginia Tech explains, comes down to science.