Born into a Jewish family from Bohemia who had fled to Vienna, Austria, Freud showed early interest for studies and read Shakespeare at eight years old. With a curious mind, Freud shared his time with several centers of interest, in particular medicine, but also law and philosophy. At seventeen years old, Freud ultimately opted that his further studies would be in medicine. Focusing on the study of the nervous system in 1876, Freud obtained his medical degree in 1881. In spite of doing brilliant medical and biological studies, Freud had to give up a career in academics because of his modest income and his Jewish origins. Instead Freud opened a medical practice and become interested more and more in psychological disorders. Freud first directed his post-graduate interest towards neurology. In October 1885, Freud joined the French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris and gained from his work on hysteria, also becoming familiar with hypnosis. Freud distinguished himself by giving the world a new medical discipline, psychoanalysis. Breaking with the choice between physical causes and simulation to understand hysteria, Freud developed an innovative approach to the human mind by providing a fundamental role to the unconscious. As a result of a general lack of scientific evidence of its effectiveness, psychoanalysis has been subject to much criticism over the 100 years of its existence. Even so, psychoanalysis has managed to re-invent itself several times, mostly through the work of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Therefore, psychoanalysis is today more alive than ever. Back in Vienna, Freud worked with Josef Breuer on the case of Anna O., who was diagnosed as hysterical, and whose examination laid the foundation of psychoanalysis, including its links to sexuality. While he practiced traditional nerve in his medical practice, Freud decided due to a lack of convincing results, to try the method of hypnosis. It is in the now famous case of Anna O. that Freud’s research first obtained conclusive results, which were published in Studies on Hysteria in 1895. One of Freud’s popular experiments is his test on a dog. Freud felt that dogs had a special sense that allows them to judge a person's character accurately. For this reason his favorite dog, Jo-Fi, attended all of his therapy sessions; he often depended upon Jo-Fi for an assessment of the patient's mental state. He also felt that the presence of the dog seemed to have a calming influence on all patients, particularly children.
Physiological measures show that petting a calm and friendly dog actually reduces stress (as shown by reduced muscle tension, more regular breathing and a slower heart rate).There is even some evidence that people who own dogs are likely to live longer and require less medical attention.
Freud's dog Jo-Fi would alert him to any stress or tension in a patient by where he lay down during the session. He lay relatively close to calm patients, but would stay across the room if the