COAPE Diploma Lecturers & 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.
Taryn has been training and working with dogs since 1998. She started her own training school, Kommetjie Canine College in 2009 which caters for everything from puppy socialisation and Canine Good Citizen classes to competitive obedience and trick training.
Taryn holds the OCN UK accredited Diploma through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology. She has worked as a consulting behaviourist for The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) for several years, assessing all adult dogs upon admission, teaching the Open Paw Shelter Programme to volunteers and training the kennel staff to prepare the shelter dogs for the Canine Good Citizen test.
Taryn is on the advisory board of Pets as Therapy (SA). She is also acting chair of Friends of the Dog Walkers, a group that has been instrumental in retaining access for dog walkers to Table Mountain National Park. She has contributed as a behaviour specialist to Dog Directory and Animal Talk magazines and has been the featured behaviourist on News24.
Taryn enjoys competing in Rally Freestyle Elements with her own dogs and has achieved several trick dog titles with them as well.
She joined the COAPE lecture team in 2013 and thoroughly enjoys teaching and working with new students who are as passionate about behaviour and training as she is.
Taryn lectures and tutors the COAPE EMRA Advanced Diploma in Animal Behaviour in South Africa.
It was Karen’s determination to help improve the welfare of animals and being asked to set up a puppy program to aid adoptions in a local animal rescue organisation where she volunteered, that led to a total change in her career – from a well-known ceramic artist working in porcelain, to becoming a full time animal behaviourist and trainer.
Karen is a qualified Animal Behaviour Practitioner and is a member of CAPBT, ICAN, the Pet Professional Network and Pet Professional Guild. She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
She completed the ThinkingPets Puppy Instructor’s course with distinction in 2011 and holds the OCN UK accredited Diploma through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology which she obtained with distinction in 2013. Karen lectures and tutors the COAPE EMRA Advanced Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
As a full time animal behaviour practitioner and trainer, Karen finds joy in helping people better understand their companion animals. From helping people understand what having a new puppy is all about, to helping fearful or anxious dogs better navigate their world, to helping dogs and cats co-exist – each and every animal owner is assured of kind and compassionate assistance based in solid science and training, without fear or coercion.
Karen runs puppy classes on the Atlantic seaboard as well as adolescent and adult dog training classes. Karen co-founded Dog Hub SA in 2013, a successful dog training and behaviour consultancy, with two wonderful COAPE colleagues, which has led her to being able to assist more and more pet dog owners each year. Dog Hub SA also leads the way in offering workshops to pet owners and by mentoring aspiring behaviourists and trainers in gaining invaluable practical experience.
Karen is passionate about ongoing learning and keeps current with continuous professional development, and is now a qualified Pro dog trainer, bringing concepts and learning through innovative games into the classes she runs.
Dr. Lynne Hepplestone
Lynne’s love of animals, and passion for ocean conservation, started as a child growing up on an Eastern Cape coastal farm. Qualifying with a BVSc from Onderstepoort in 1998, Lynne is in private veterinary practice in Kyalami, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is actively involved in Marine Conservation, specifically raising awareness of the critical plight of sharks.
She is an accomplished pianist, a certified advanced venomous snake handler, PADI divemaster, and enjoys yoga, scuba-diving, good wine, friends and family.
Matriculated 1983 DSG, Grahamstown
Graduated B.Mus (Hons in Piano) UCT 1988
Onderstepoort BVSc, UP 1993-1998
1998-2002 PDSA (Veterinary Hospital) Mofolo, Soweto
2002- Private Veterinary Practice, Kyalami JHB
Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital
Cat Clicker Training (ThinkingPets)
Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (Ultrasound,CT,Radiology – UP)
On-going CPD (Vet Congress, SAVA)
Shark Conservation Presentations and magazine articles
Dr Lynne lectures part of the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
Dr. Tim Hepplestone
Dr Tim Hepplestone qualified with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree in June of 1992 from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria.
After a brief period of working in London, Tim returned to South Africa in 1993 and joined Bluehills Veterinary Hospital in 1995, where he has been overworked for the last 18 years. Tim enrolled for a post-graduate honours degree in internal medicine in 2001. He obtained the degree in 2004.
He holds memberships in the South African Veterinary Association, the National Clinicians Group, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and the Institute of Veterinary Practice development.
Tim has a keen interest in internal medicine including oncology, cardiology, endocrinopathy and stem cell therapy and presents the Behavioural Pharmacology segments of the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
Sr. Carla van der Merwe
Carla had a great passion for all animals since youth. After school she decided to study veterinary nursing at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria. For the past 13 years she has been the senior veterinary sister at the Small Animal Medicine department and subsequently moved to the Outpatients/ Emergency ward where she is involved in student training, assisting with procedures and emergencies and ensuring the daily smooth running of the clinic.
Carla always had a special interest in animal behaviour and completed a Technikon certificate in basic animal behaviour in 2002. In 2004 she completed her advanced animal behaviour course. She also completed workshops on clicker training and puppy classes. Carla holds the OCN UK accredited Diploma through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology. She does behaviour consults after hours and assists the Veterinary behaviourists at Onderstepoort with behavioural research.
Educating owners about their pet’s behavioural needs is a huge passion for her and she is continuously looking for opportunities to improve her knowledge through attending CPD veterinary congresses and courses.
Carla lectures and tutors the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
Lizelle joined ThinkingPets in 2011 and obtained her puppy class instructor qualification in January 2012. She opened her school – Polka Dog School – in 2012 and has been going strong since. Lizelle completed the COAPE CO2 course in 2012 and thereafter enrolled for the COAPE Diploma in 2014.
She graduated in 2017 and has been an active behaviour practitioner ever since. Lizelle is a qualified Attorney: in 2013 she graduated from the University of Pretoria with an LLB and was admitted as an Attorney in the High Court of Pretoria in 2015. She then went on to complete her Masters Degree in Fraud Risk Management at the University of Pretoria in 2018.
Lizelle is part of the lecturing team for the Advanced Diploma.