Leashing the City: Dog-Leash-Human Entanglements and the Urban Space

Yaara Sadetzki, Orit Hirsch-Matsioulas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This study examines the joint walking of people and dogs in the city, as an embodied practice mediated by a designed artifact - the leash. Shared walking of humans and dogs is not merely a form of spatial movement but also constitutes power relations. It assembles the dis/ability of an entity to move, choose its direction, rhythm or duration of movement. These complexities manifest through different forms of communication which usually remain unrecognized due to anthropocentric point of view. Based on multidisciplinary research conducted in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel that was comprised of anthropological fieldwork and professional knowledge of dog behavior, we prove two main assertions. First, we refute the misconception that people gain exclusive control over dogs' movement and behavior by restraining them with a leash. Rather, we demonstrate that the leash creates a bi-directional medium of communication between humans and dogs. Second, we present the dog-leash-human unit as an entity in the social and spatial urban environment and its agency, as a whole, as well as each of its components. Thus, by investigating dog-leash-human movement we wish to contribute to the ACI body of knowledge dealing with multispecies nonverbal communication artifacts. Furthermore, delving into the multiple dog-leash-human entanglements can shed light on ACI aspirations to forge a user-centered non-anthropocentric research method.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACI 2021 - 8th International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450385138
StatePublished - 8 Nov 2021
Event8th International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, ACI 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 8 Nov 202111 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference8th International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction, ACI 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • Animal-computer Interaction
  • Dog walking
  • Dogs
  • Human-canine relations
  • Leash
  • Multispecies ethnography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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