COAPE Markers & Tutors
Karin Pienaar (Landsberg)
Karin has been working in the field of animal behaviour and behaviour therapy in South Africa since 1997. She completed her Diploma in Animal Behaviour in the UK, through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) and is a qualified Practitioner member of the CAPBT in the UK and South Africa, as well as a Practitioner Member of the ABC of SA.
She worked as a Behaviour Practitioner for 9 years in Cape Town, but then moved to Johannesburg in 2007 where she and her business partners established the highly successful COAPE SA along with its sister business ThinkingPets. ThinkingPets was later sold to Leigh Shenker, who now runs it successfully.
After 20 years of consulting, Karin’s main focus now is presenting the COAPE Diploma and tutoring students, as well as course research, authoring and development for COAPE International. She was originally one of only two Practitioners licensed internationally to offer COAPE’s prestigious courses until 2019, when she and Wendy were given the exclusive license to offer COAPE courses on an international basis following the retirement of Professor Neville and Dr Falconer-Taylor.
In addition to frequently appearing on Talk Radio 702/567 Cape Talk and several television programs, she has also been a valued part of the “Animal Talk” radio team. She frequently contributes to a variety of publications, such as Animal Talk, Cat’s Life and several overseas magazines, and is often in the media relating to Animal Behaviour matters.
Karin also heads the Enrichment Research Program between COAPE and captive wildlife facilities, where, among other things, she and her team volunteer their time to work with the JHB Zoo to develop bespoke enrichment programs to promote behavioural and emotional health in captive animals, using COAPE’s trademarked EMRA and ESTA approaches. They also provide training for both staff and animals to make husbandry tasks and medical examinations/treatments as stress-free as possible.
Karin is involved in on-going research to bring EMRA and ESTA to as many animal orientated facilities as possible to promote emotional well-being – not only in companion animals, but also in captive wildlife scenarios.
Wendy joined COAPE SA and its sister business ThinkingPets in 2007, and together with Karin and Peter went on to found COAPE SA in 2010, which obtained the international licence to run the COAPE courses worldwide in 2019.
Wendy has been involved in the training and showing of dogs for the past 20 years, however she only started studying animal behaviour and training seriously in 2006. Wendy holds the OCN UK accredited Diploma through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology COAPE, as well as a Certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour. She is a Guild Certified TTouch Practitioner, a qualified canine obedience and clicker training instructor as well as being a Practitioner member of both the CAPBT and ABC SA.
Wendy retired from a managerial position in the Corporate World and relocated to the Western Cape in May 2011. She is responsible for all the financial aspects and the day to day running of COAPE International. She tutors both the Diploma and C0 courses, assisting with the marking and moderating as required.
Wendy writes articles for Animal Talk and Dog Directory, and when she has the chance she consults with clients for all aspects of canine and feline behaviour problems.
Leigh’s studies and career path started in the field of human behaviour, working primarily with youth at risk. However, her love of four legged creatures led her to change direction towards all things related to animal behaviour. Leigh was volunteering in shelters and recognised a real need for behaviour practitioners, both for the animals in the shelters and for post-adoption support. She therefore embarked on obtaining her qualification as a companion animal behaviour practitioner through COAPE. Leigh now holds the OCN UK accredited Diploma through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology.
She has completed her clicker training qualification and has a real interest in natural medicine for animals, and therefore grows and sources many unusual medicinal plants. Leigh spends the majority of her time involved in shelter work and working with clients. Her dedication to shelter work is reflected in several programmes and systems she has set up, and she is committed to changing the traditional model for animal shelters and improving basic conditions for all animals, as well as assisting families who choose to adopt a rescue. Leigh took over ownership of COAPE SA’s sister company, ThinkingPets, in December 2015.
Leigh currently manages the Marking Department at COAPE, moderates and marks all courses, and tutors the COAPE Diploma.
Judy grew up with a great passion for all creatures great and small, so after school she naturally progressed to completing a degree in Zoology and Entomology. After her studies she took a break from her books and followed her love for animals, working as a veterinary nurse at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA for a year. She then went back to her studies to become a Research Entomologist, working for the Agricultural Research Council for many years.
Her passion for working with animals prompted Judy to enrol for the 3-year TTouch Practitioner’s course in South Africa in 2007.
She qualified as a TTouch Practitioner in September 2009. Judy then went on to completed the COAPE C01 DogWise Stage 1 course with distinction in 2010. She is a qualified ThinkingPets Puppy and Kitten School Instructor and completed her OCN UK COAPE Diploma in 2014.
Judy consults regularly and is also the co-owner of DogHub SA, a very successful dog training school and behaviour consultancy in Cape Town.
She is the student liaison at COAPE and handles all student queries, as well as being the tutor and marker for all the AB courses, and a stand-in marker of C01 and C02 assignments.
Originally hailing from the UK, Wendy Collinson-Jonker gained her Bachelor of Education in 1990 and spent 15 years teaching Physical Education in the east end of London to high school students. She moved to South Africa in 2005 and began her work in conservation as a research assistant with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). She immersed herself in a number of carnivore research projects, specifically the African Wild Dog, where she then wrote the C05 course for COAPE, and has been a tutor since 2011.
It was while undertaking research on the African Wild Dog, that she observed many animal road mortalities. Deeply concerned by this, Wendy used her own time and resources to conduct pilot studies to ascertain the extent of roadkill. Some alarming statistics came to light, showing that roads may detrimentally impact biodiversity. For example, 10 African Wild Dogs were killed on the roads in her study area over a three-month period. With approximately 450 African Wild Dogs left in South Africa, this charismatic and Endangered species may further be at risk from roads.
Wendy completed her Masters Degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa in Road Ecology – examining the impacts of roads on South African wildlife. This then led to Wendy’s current career, where she leads the EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme – driving initiatives that address the now-recognised threat of roads in South Africa. She is coordinating numerous research projects that examine the impacts of roads in South Africa, and ultimately finding solutions to reduce roadkill. Many of her projects involve collaborations with relevant stakeholders in the transport sector as well as academia, regarding the design of future projects. Through the data collected over time it will identify patterns and trends of where wildlife-vehicle collisions are most common. This in turn, will assist with preventing roadkill and the resulting impact on biodiversity, and will see an improvement in human road-safety by saving lives, minimising disruption (due to road closures) on routes, and potentially reducing insurance claims by millions of rand each year for repairs to vehicles involved in a wildlife-vehicle collisions.
Since 2014, Wendy has published 14 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and given over 50 presentations at both national and international conferences.
Wendy would like to acknowledge input into the making of the African Wild Dog course to Harriet Davies-Mostert (Head of Conservation, Endangered Wildlife Trust), Professor Peter Neville and Katherine Potgieter.
Due to the very specialised nature of this course Wendy tutors and marks it for COAPE International.
Tracey has dedicated her life to animals for the last 34 years. Having come from a background of animal welfare, her deep passion and sole goal is to aid in the prevention of animal-related behavioural problems. In her early career she represented the SPCA as an inspector and also ran CROW (Centre of Rehabilitation of Wildlife) as the chief animal nurse.
Tracey began training animals as far back as 1989 at various dog training clubs, which involved puppy socialization classes and obedience training for group classes.
Apart from her animal welfare experience, she currently holds a Bachelor of Arts (Health Sciences and Social Services in Psychological Counselling), which equips her with the skills to understand her human and animal clients better. Tracey has also completed the Advanced Diploma in the Practical Aspect of Companion Animal Behaviour, and is currently the Director of Training at the Natal German Shepherd Dog club.
Tracey is committed to providing the most effective and tailored solution to her clients, for their animal training and behavioural needs. She feels passionately about continuous learning and pursues ongoing education and development by attending seminars.
Tracey marks and tutors the C01 course for COAPE International.
From a young age, Denise had a love for animals even though dogs and cats as pets were disliked in her childhood home. Soon after she married, pets became part of her family and over the years she and her husband have been blessed to share their lives with a few dogs and numerous cats, many of which were walk-ins.
Finally, her passion for cats extended to burying her face in the books doing the COAPE C03 Think Cat course, followed swiftly by that of C02, which she found even more fascinating. Those courses got her hooked, leading her to tackle the COAPE Diploma, graduating in 2016.
Denise also has an interest in and has studied and attended workshops on other animal-related topics which have given her a well rounded perspective when it comes to dealing with shy or feisty felines!
Denise is involved with two TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) feral cat colonies, one of which has been ongoing for over a decade.
Due to time constraints with full-time employment and her commitment to marking the COAPE courses, Denise is not currently practicing as a behaviourist, but helps friends and acquaintances informally when possible. She plans to build an animal behaviour practice in the future when she can devote quality time to clients and their fastidious and precocious felines.
Denise tutors and marks the C03 course for COAPE International.
George Van Huyssteen
George joined Garden Route Dog Club in South Africa in 1998 after getting his first Border Collie, Flash. He and Flash qualified into Class C obedience in 2001 and Grade 3 Agility at the same time. In 2003 George and Flash were chosen to represent South Africa at the world IFCS championships. Because of unforeseen circumstances they could not attend at that time.
George became the vice Chairman of the Garden Route Dog Club in 2000 and Chairman in 2002. The club provided obedience, dog jumping and dog Agility classes.
George started Border Collie Care in 2012 and was actively involved in rescuing and rehoming neglected and unwanted Border Collies. He is currently working closely in conjunction with Border Collie Rescue SA and he is also a volunteer at the local SPCA, as well as Oudtshoorn Dogs in need.
In 2015 George became interested in animal behaviour. He enrolled in Pet Sense College and in 2016 received his Diploma in Canine Behavior and Training. George also became member of Dr Ian Dunbar’s Top Dog academy during this time. In 2017 he enrolled at COAPE International and in 2019 received his Diploma in Animal Behaviour (DipCABT).
George tutors and marks the C01 course for COAPE International.
Ilse has had a lifelong fascination with behaviour and a deep love and passion for all four-legged creatures, especially dogs. She grew up in a family where dogs were always present as companions and from a young age enjoyed training, even attempting to get the cat to walk on a lead!
It was clear from early on that Ilse relished in storytelling and creating worlds, so it only seemed natural that she would pursue studies in drama. Her focus was on writing and directing and as she delighted in the study of behaviour she added psychology to her studies during her undergraduate degree. Ilse then completed her Master’s Degree at UCT before entering the world of marketing.
Ilse has over 8 years’ experience in communications and marketing. She has been fortunate to work across many brands from various fields, including the South African music scene, animal welfare, hospitality and retail.
She became involved with dog training again after adopting a small, bouncy boy from Cape Dachshund Rescue. Her second rescue, from African Tails, joined the family a few years later.
After meeting with a qualified COAPE Behaviourist who assisted her to build a good relationship between her two rescue dogs, her interest in companion animal behaviour was sparked. She enroled and completed her C01 DogWise with COAPE International in February 2018, with distinction, and has recently completed herDiploma withCOAPE International also with distinction.
Ilse is responsible for the Adult Dog Training, instructing all levels of the Canine Good Citizen at classes at Zimzala K9 estate in South Africa. In early 2018, she established her own training school, Doggoroo where she offers obedience classes and private training. Ilse does volunteer work for a number of rescue organisations.
Her goal as a trainer and teacher is to see that her clients have a happy and manageable dog who will find learning a joy.
Ilse joined COAPE International in August 2019 as the Sales and Marketing Manager.
Jo graduated with her COAPE Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour in 1999 and worked for Cedar Veterinary Group for 25 years, initially as head nurse and then from 1994-2008, as a full time professional referral pet behaviour therapist and dog trainer. During this time Jo qualified in clinical small animal nutrition, a subject she has always been interested in. Jo then achieved her teaching qualifications whilst working full time as Course Tutor in animal behaviour, animal care and veterinary nursing at Kingston Maurward College. She then combined all her qualifications by returning to practice for Springbok Veterinary Group in Dorset where she was Principal of the South Coast Hydrotherapy School. Recently she has returned to practice at Piddle Valley Vets as Animal Behaviour Therapist and trainer, and in charge of nurse training. She will also be helping to create a rehabilitation centre, including hydrotherapy.
Jo is a member of the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers (CAPBT). She also writes books and articles on companion animal behaviour and runs pet first aid courses. Jo spends the rest of her time with her family and growing menagerie of dogs, cats, ferrets, ponies and her beloved horse, Gentleman Jim. Her latest venture being teaching her mini spotted pony Tiddly Wink to pull a cart!
Jo tutors and marks the C01 course and Diploma for COAPE International.
Reneé qualified with a BSc in Zoology, but her passion for dogs and cats, their behaviour, nutrition, medical care and general wellbeing urged her to study further, and lead to her obtaining her COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour in 2019.
Reneé is currently one of the trainers at Greenside Headstart Puppy School, as well as offering her knowledge to owners in private consultations, addressing various problem behaviours in companion animals.
Renee tutors and marks the C01 course for COAPE International.
Rita van Zyl
Since she was a young girl, Rita has had a great affinity and love for animals. But it was in 2004 while working and volunteering at the Oceanarium in Port Elizabeth that her interest was sparked for training animals and providing them with enrichment and stimulation.
A few years later, Rita started giving Puppy Classes at the veterinary practice where she worked. She loved it and decided to further her education in this field by doing the COAPE CO1 Course in 2012. Armed with this new information she took it one step further and started a small Dog school of her own. Rita then went on to do her COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour in 2014, followed by qualifying with the COAPE Advanced Diploma in May 2018.
Rita now does private Behaviour Consultations in and around Port Elizabeth, and spends her afternoons working at a local vet where she runs the puppy classes during the week, teaches her own classes on Saturday’s, and hosts dog and cat related Talks and Seminars in Port Elizabeth.
Rita loves to see how pets and their humans get transformed when they learn a better, kinder way of understanding and dealing with their animals.
Rita tutors and marks the C01 course for COAPE International.
Growing up on a plot, Susan spent her childhood surrounded by domestic and farm animals and developed a real love for the bond between humans and animals. She has a special love for dogs in particular, and is passionate about animal welfare in general. Over the years Susan volunteered for a number of rescue organisations and through a network of similarly passionate individuals was one of the founding members of a small breed specific rescue organisation which is still active today.
Susan has a particular fascination with what makes working breeds “tick” and how behaviours are developed. She successfully completed the ThinkingPets Puppy Instructor course in 2010 and ran Happy Tails puppy school in Pretoria until 2012.
Susan also successfully completed the COAPE International C01 DogWise Stage 1 certificate course in 2012 and is busy working towards the prestigious COAPE International Diploma in animal behaviour.
Susan marks the C01 course for COAPE International.
Jessica studied Motion Picture Production at Tshwane University of Technology and graduated cum laude in 2007. She has since worked as a freelance video editor, but volunteered at an animal shelter in her free time. It was here that she met Leigh Shenker, who subsequently helped her cats rebuild their friendship after a week of separation caused unforeseen aggression. Working through the behaviour modification programme, Jess realized that although she had always loved animals, she knew nothing about their behaviour!
She has since qualified as a ThinkingPets Confi-Puppy instructor and holds the OCN UK accredited Diploma through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology and is a CAPBT member. Jessica uses the knowledge gained in her studies to assist animal welfare organizations to improve the welfare of the animals in their care, specifically focusing on early development, problem prevention, and public education.
Jessica currently runs Best Behaviour: Animal Behaviour & Training, focusing on improving relationships by helping guardians to better understand and communicate with their pets. She remains well trained by her dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and two young boys.
Jessica tutors and marks the COAPE Diploma for COAPE International.