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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BSc: Zoology, DipCABT
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.
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.
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.
LLB, MPhil(FRM), DipCABT, CAPBT Practitioner.
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 ever 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 master’s degree in Fraud Risk Management at the University of Pretoria in 2018.
Lizelle is part of the marking team for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour .
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.
Sam tutors and marks the African Lion Behaviour course (C06).