DipCABT (COAPE) OCN, CertCAB, CAPBT Practitioner
Karin has been working in the field of animal behaviour and behaviour therapy in South Africa since 1997. She went to the UK to complete her Diploma in Animal Behaviour through the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology in 2007. She is a Certified Animal Behaviourist (CAB) with the International Companion Animal Network (ICAN), a qualified Practitioner Member of the International CAPBT, as well as a Practitioner Member of the ABC of SA.
She originally worked for 9 years as a Behaviour Practitioner in Cape Town, but then moved to Johannesburg in 2007 where she started a training franchise company called ThinkingPets. Following that, she and Wendy Wilson established the highly successful COAPE SA and later sold ThinkingPets to Leigh Shenker, who now runs it successfully. Karin is passionate about animal welfare, animal emotions, behaviour, people and education and firmly believes that the best way to make the biggest difference in the lives of animals around the world is by changing how people see and understand them.
After 20 years of consulting, Karin’s focus now is running COAPE International with Wendy and presenting the COAPE Diploma. She directs all course research and development for COAPE International. Karin is also responsible for bringing new highly skilled experts on board as COAPE Course Authors and Tutors for specialized courses.
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. Being asked by Peter and Robert (two well known, established leaders in the field of animal behaviour) to take over the reins of this international Centre of Excellence has been one of the biggest honours of her career.
In addition to frequently appearing on Talk Radio 702/567 Cape Talk and several television programs, she was also part of the weekly “Animal Talk” radio team. Karin frequently contributes to a variety of publications both locally and internationally and is often in the media relating to Animal Behaviour matters. She has appeared as an expert witness in a wide variety of legal cases relating to Animal Behaviour and is actively involved in the Enrichment Research Program between COAPE and captive wildlife facilities, where, among other things, she and her team volunteer their time to work with zoos to develop bespoke enrichment programs to promote behavioural and emotional health in captive animals, using COAPE’s trademarked EMRA and ESTA approaches. They not only provide training for both staff and animals to make husbandry tasks and medical examinations/treatments as stress-free as possible but also work with a variety of institutes around the world, either by collaborating on studies or by sharing results of work done.
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.
BADA (Hons)(WITS), DipCABT (COAPE) OCN, CAPBT Practitioner
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, so therefore grows and sources many unusual medicinal plants. Leigh spends as much of her time as possible 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.
QTLS, RVN, Dip CABT, CABP, MAPDT, CAPBT Practitioner member
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 went on to combine 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 is in charge of nurse training. She will also be helping to create a rehabilitation centre, including hydrotherapy.
Jo writes books and articles on companion animal behaviour and runs pet first aid courses. She 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, C04 and Diploma courses for COAPE International.
CertCAB, DipCABT, CAPBT Practitioner member
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.
Carla had a great passion for all animals since youth so 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, 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. Carla 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 tutors and marks the COAPE Diploma.
MSc (Entomology), CertCAB, Guild certified TTouch Practitioner, DipCABT (COAPE) OCN
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 and she qualified as a TTouch Practitioner in September 2009. Judy went on to complete the COAPE DogWise Stage 1 course with distinction in 2010, and then completed her OCN UK COAPE Diploma in 2014. Judy is a qualified ThinkingPets Puppy and Kitten School Instructor and is also the co-owner of DogHub SA, a highly successful dog training school and behaviour consultancy in Cape Town. Judy formed part of the Diploma lecturing team in Cape Town, and she consults regularly on all aspects of animal behaviour and training.
Judy is the student liaison at COAPE and handles all student queries, as well as being a stand-in marker for C01 and C02.
BA Psychology, DipCABT, CAPBT Practitioner member.
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.
DipCABT, CAPBT Practitioner member
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.
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.
DipCABT COAPE (OCN)
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 marks the C03 course for COAPE International.
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 in 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.
BSc (Hons), MSc| Rhodes University
After completing her Zoology and environmental science undergraduate degree, Sam obtained the zoology MSc thesis in April 2014 through Rhodes University. Her thesis modelled the feasibility of a reintroduction of wild dogs into the Great Fish River Nature Reserve in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Her thesis further completed a threat analysis of the surrounding area for wild dogs.
Following the completion of her zoology degrees, Sam began working as a conservation science intern at the Endangered Wildlife Trust (an NGO based in South Africa). She then went on to become a science officer in the Wildlife and Energy Programme at EWT where she managed a database that recorded wildlife mortalities on power infrastructure. Using this database, she would work with Eskom (the power utility) to mitigate those lines that had previous mortalities to ensure that no other mortalities would occur.
Sam always had a passion and interest for carnivore conservation and so, in 2018 she embarked on her current role in the position as the co-ordinator of the African Lion Database (ALD). The ALD is an exciting project that aims to consolidate all lion population and distribution data from across the continent. This data will be used to generate up-to-date distribution maps for the species and provide reliable estimates on lion populations in Africa. In this role, Sam published several sub-chapters in the Guidelines for the Conservation of Lions in Africa (specifically on the ALD, lion population and distribution)
In addition, Sam has published a number of scientific papers for international peer-reviewed journals on carnivore species including cheetah, lion and wild dog.
Due to the very specialised nature of the African Lion Behaviour course Sam tutors and marks it for COAPE.
MTech (Nature Conservation), DipCABT (COAPE)
Taryn’s interests for animal behaviour started during high school when she spent time as a volunteer at the Cape of Good Hope (CoGH) SPCA in Cape Town. So much so, that she spent her holidays whilst studying towards Nature Conservation, as a temporary animal care assistant. Whilst in this role at the SPCA, as well as during her studies, Taryn learnt the importance of animal behaviour and education, all steps that would later lay the foundation of her future career in companion animal behaviour and training.
With the completion of a master’s degree in Nature Conservation, Taryn became a lecturer in conservation and marine science. However, whilst in this role, she decided it was time to further pursue her interest in animal behaviour and training and so went on to complete the ThinkingPets Confi-Puppy course. During her studies in the course, Taryn became involved as a part-time assistant at a local dog training school. Taryn’s passion for companion animal behaviour and training truly peaked under the mentorship of some of COAPE’s finest behaviourists and trainers. As a result, she then decided to further her studies within companion animal behaviour and found time to complete the COAPE CO1 course. Taryn enjoyed the CO1 course so much that she enrolled for the COAPE Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour immediately thereafter. Whilst completing shelter hours towards the diploma, Taryn went back to the SPCA on weekends to apply her newfound skills as a volunteer, where she enjoyed working with and learning from the current (COAPE) behaviourist about the application of her studies to animals in welfare situations, and to give back to the SPCA that had given so much to her.
Taryn has since relocated to Port Elizabeth where she is working as a full-time companion animal behaviourist and trainer, is a CAPBT and ICAN member.
Taryn joins the COAPE team as a tutor and marker for the CO1 course.