COAPE was also the most important stepping stone in my career as a behavior uncle. I heard a talk from a well known biologist recently that was so bad and chaotic… This made me realise how excellent you COAPE captains are. (It also made me think about raising my fee for talks)
Ten years ago I finished my degree in Animal Behaviour at Anglia Ruskin University with aspirations of practising as professional pet behaviourist. I struggled to comprehend that even though my degree never mentioned the word 'dog', never mind actually seeing one! Yet I was then eligible to join various pet behaviour associations and counsellor groups and practice as a pet behaviourist.
It is the years of practical experience I have obtained since my degree and the structure of the COAPE Diploma specifically focusing on the theoretical and practical aspects of companion animal behaviour practice that now gives me the confidence and knowledge I need to enter the profession with a suitable foundation and chance of success.
Chris Bennett BSc.
John Westerholm, Sweden
I'd like to say again that the information, lectures, assistance and the STYLE of teaching has been outstanding! If only I had found COAPE earlier!! It's especially gratifying that what we learn at each stage is instantly applicable to real life situations, and it's already paying off! I will also enjoy keeping tabs on what everyone is getting up to in their future endeavours!
Christian Carlander (just completed the Diploma Year 1)
I am now in Los Angeles and still doing individual behaviour cases, assessing some of the more "challenging" dogs for a dog rescue organisation and volunteer clicker training at a local shelter. I am also working as Editor and Press Officer for a new and growing body for professionals dedicated to force-free training methods, and educating both pet owners and industry professionals accordingly. It's a lot of fun and exciting times too, as the force-free movement slowly gains more momentum here in the USA.
So thank you! If I hadn't done the COAPE Diploma I would not be anywhere near qualified to do this but as it is, I now get to combine my two careers of journalism and animal behaviour so it's the absolutely perfect professional combination for me!
Susan Nilson BA (Hons) DipCABT
The COAPE diploma has totally changed my working life and my personal life with my dogs. It is without a doubt one of the best decisions I ever made! I originally trained as an infant teacher and this is the path my career then took. For many reasons I wasn't happy with this but continued teaching as I didn't know what else do to. Just by luck I met someone who had already studied with COAPE when I needed help with a rescue dog that I had adopted. I knew immediately that I wanted a job just like hers. So very soon I studied for my Diploma. Since qualifying I have set up my own training and behaviour business. I run puppy and adult dog classes, do 1 to 1 lessons and behavioural consultations. I now have a job that I LOVE and I look forward to every working day. If it wasn't for my COAPE training I wouldn't now have 3 adorable, happy and well behaved dogs myself. Finally I have made so many like-minded friends since starting my business. Without a doubt COAPE has transformed my life for the better. Thank you!!
Cath Schofield DipCABT Wuff Dog Training, Cambridge
I completed the 'Think Ethology' course with COAPE in 2010 whilst working full time as an Animal Control Officer for Auckland Council, New Zealand. A few years prior to this, I had been involved in a serious accident which resulted in a head injury. During my recovery, I was told I had no chance of being able to achieve a Master's qualification - a long held aspiration, so this looked like the ideal compromise, a course with excellent credentials, that I would learn lots from, could do in my own time and, even better, one that was entirely coursework based that I could complete even though I was not in the UK. Discovering that Professor Ray Coppinger and his wife Lorna Coppinger, the authors of the inspirational book 'Dogs: a startling new understanding of canine origin, behaviour and evolution' which I had read a few years earlier, was just the icing on the cake!
The course takes you through seven units, sent via email on a monthly basis and covers how to write in an academic style, the nature of science, how and why scientists study animal behaviour, basic ethology, behavioural ecology, cognitive ethology and evolutionary development I and II. The course material was really stimulating and made me really think and question my work, and I really enjoyed reading all the references suggested for background reading. Each month I sent off my assignment and within a few days I had received a mark and really comprehensive feedback, which I took on board.
I would highly recommend this course if you are interested in learning about animal behaviour, and the feedback from tutors gave me the confidence to apply to complete a MSc in Animal Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University over in the UK, which I have almost now fully completed.
Completing a distance-learning course requires dedication, passion and being very organised, all qualities which will definitely stand you in good stead in both a professional work career or if you go on to further studies. As my MSc comes to an end, I have just secured a full time job as an Assistant Training and Behaviour advisor for the Dogs Trust. During the interview process for this job, the fact that I had completed this COAPE course was received very positively.
When I started the course last year (Dogwise) I had no idea my life would change in such a dramatic way, I wasn't looking for a new pup after my old boys. I am so glad I did though, having forgotten what pups were like, the course helped me through a trying few months! Eddie, 9 month old Labrador, is now a lovely adolescent with all the quirks, frustrations and love that comes with it.
I am training him to scent track and helping at the weekends with the Canine Tracking Club, Worcester. Our trainer, Sandra Raw's ethos towards animals matches mine perfectly (Karen Pryor's Clicker training book is well-thumbed!).
Your course was just right for me, so well written and gave me the confidence to use the knowledge I already had and to build on it. Thank you all so much.
I first took a COAPE course many years ago, I had moved home and suddenly found myself at a loose end and living with a dog that clearly had severe behaviour issues. At this time I had quite a large dog family and the problem dog was making all of our lives a misery. Learning about what makes dogs tick and how to work with them to resolve behaviour issues made me very aware of the importance of the bond between dog and owner, changes in the environment and health issues impact on the dog's life and may underlie the problems. The COAPE diploma course really deepened my understanding not only at the observational level, but also at the physiological and psychological levels. The COAPE experience gave me the confidence to approach my local veterinary surgeon with a view to organising puppy classes and to work with dogs that had behaviour problems referred through the surgery. It also lead to studying human psychology with the Open University graduating in 2008 with a BSc(Hons) in Psychology and I am now studying for my MSc.
My study with COAPE has made a huge impact on my life and my understanding of interactions between dog and owner; more importantly COAPE gave me the confidence to take on the challenge of working as a behaviour counsellor, hugely challenging but rewarding work.
Pauline Lock BSc(Hons) DipCABT – Petetiquette
From a very early age my German Shepherd Dog had a fear of people. Initially she would run away if strangers approached her however this escalated into barking at people in an effort to make them go away. Realising that this issue was beyond my capabilities, I sought help. I was astounded at the number of unqualified people advertising themselves as behaviourists and trainers and shocked to learn that many used punitive methods and 'rank reduction' programmes to deal with issues. Despite my inexperience I was unwilling to accept that these methods could benefit my dog or our relationship. Fortunately I came across the COAPE website which led me to find a COAPE qualified behaviourist. I was given excellent advice, which resulted in a much happier dog and an even happier owner.
I was so impressed at the result that I started studying with COAPE, passing the Diploma in 2010 and Level 4 in 2012 however even when you have completed your studies you are secure in the knowledge that you are always part of the COAPE 'team'.
As co-owner of Think Pawsitive in Lanarkshire I now run puppy socialisation classes, pet dog training courses and the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme where all our four-legged customers can enjoy learning in a positive and rewarding manner. Behaviour consultations are also available on veterinary referral.
Janice Agnew DipCABT (QCF Level 5), COAPE Behaviourist and Trainer
Taking the COAPE Advance Diploma and Honours course is the best career choice I have ever made. I am now running my own business and making my dreams come true. Anyone considering a career change should look at the COAPE courses first. COAPE courses are regulated and independently accredited by the Open College Network and are one of the best and most thorough qualifications you can get. The time is coming when the whole animal behaviour and training industry will be officially regulated. There are too many trainers and behaviourists out there without a single qualification. Make sure you are ahead of the field with COAPE.
Sarah Morris DipCABT Director
The COAPE Advanced Diploma in Pet Behaviour & Training provided the crucial training and support that allowed a complete career and lifestyle change, which I have now enjoyed for 10 years. There were a few courses around back then, but COAPE was the only group that appeared to provide ongoing support after the course completion; personal access to tutors and directors who are world experts in this field; and residential training. All my hopes for the group have exceeded my expectations. And indeed, the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers (CAPBT) must be unrivalled in the world for its collective and freely shared group knowledge and support; having very active support forum and mentoring scheme, and with COAPE now providing a fully laid out career path for both practical and academic students. Many thanks COAPE!
Anna Patfield BSc. DipCABT ACertCN
When I started looking for behaviour courses in Spring 2000 COAPE was a relatively unknown independent organisation competing mostly with Universities offering behavioural courses. Why choose one above another?
The COAPE philosophy is that animals have emotions, and every animal is an individual. Any behavioural work must be based on the emotionality and individuality of each and every animal, no two are the same, and therefore should not be treated the same. This was a revelation, clarifying my own thoughts after reading many books where how the animal was feeling not even mentioned seemed wrong to me. My studies culminated in the COAPE Diploma course in Companion Animal Behaviour and Training. Their philosophy remains in place throughout COAPE'S courses and firmly puts COAPE at the forefront of animal behaviour education.
As a qualified behaviourist, over the last 12 years I have successfully worked with many animals and their owners, the COAPE philosophy at the core of my work and success. I now work with cats, dogs, birds and small furries in a behaviour and training capacity.
I am now setting up a practice using my knowledge and skills to concentrate on working with horses. Changing perceptions and showing that the COAPE approach results in calm, content, well balanced horses able to work for us in a reliable and non-reactive way. The obvious and very real benefits of this are increased welfare for horses and safety for those working with them.
Kathie Gregory DipCABT, Devon
I work almost full time with young children at an Early Years Nursery. However since gaining my COAPE diploma in September 2011 and forming my own business – Pet Positive – life has become even more exciting and interesting! The course allowed me to become confident about the advice I was imparting and the scientific background was invaluable. I refer back to our course notes and textbooks all the time.
Sue Tasker DipCABT
COAPE enabled me to become a referral behaviour therapist, studying whilst working part time. I did not know what course to take and was put off by the distance to Southampton and the course structure at universities. Everywhere taught about the history of ethology and behaviour which I had already studied and nowhere seemed to teach how to deal with actual problems as a therapist. That's where COAPE is different. I was able to balance my study with my need to pay the rent and working part time, I had the time to focus on my study. Post qualification, the CAPBT has been an extremely supportive and helpful association and have encouraged me to consolidate my knowledge and become better at my job.
When I did the COAPE diploma in 2000, it inspired me so much that I went on to do more education. COAPE has helped me understand cats better and write better cat books.
Celia Haddon MA BSc DipCABT, author and cat behaviourist Oxfordshire
Coming from an Educational background, seeking to enhance my knowledge in animal behaviour areas , I undertook the COAPE Diploma in 2006-2007. Professionally run, academically challenging with very supportive tutors, but geared towards accessing a career path. The content whilst targeted at Pet Behaviour and Training also had much transferable information to be used in Teaching and Education of youngsters presenting challenging behaviour. A well-rounded course, focussed and sufficiently academic to give Diplomates a sound background in Pet Behaviour and Training. Following successful completion, mentoring of new Diplomates helps them move in to a professional work area, but not alone.
Belonging to CAPBT provides further access to a large and growing group of supportive professionals. You never feel as though you are practising alone. COAPE provides an enlightening, professional, evolving and supportive route to a career in Pet Behaviour and Training. Clients access, collectively, centuries of sound experience in the area with people from relevant backgrounds. Join the largest behaviour group in the UK, practising ethically and soundly, using reward-based, motivational and scientifically proven methods.
Chrissy Beckhurst DipCABT, Devon
I really enjoyed the Diploma course and have learnt so much on the journey, big thank you to the lecturers and their awesome experience and knowledge, and of course Janet's amazing admin support which makes everything run so smoothly. It really made the whole year such a success. Amazing!
Jackie Belle RVN DipCABT
I thoroughly enjoy training dogs and would like to continue to progress and become a qualified behaviourist. I feel that training and behaviour go hand in hand, so I would love to offer my training customers even more information, help and advice and to be able to take on more interesting behavioural cases that I currently refer to qualified behaviourists. I am also a fervent cat lover and I would really love to be able to work with problematic felines! After spending a lot of time researching the options available to study and train to become a behaviourist, I felt that the COAPE CDP courses were the perfect option for me. The courses focus on all aspects of both canine and feline behaviour, fits in around my hectic business of walking and training dogs and the further mentoring offered by COAPE/CAPBT is fabulous, so I am now really looking forward to starting in September.
I was already out in the field training with dogs (www.johinds.co.uk) and providing some behaviour advice but I felt something was missing, when I found the COAPE Diploma course I jumped at the chance. The knowledge that I have obtained has given me more confidence in the field and the EMRA is such a great approach to help look at why exactly the behaviour problem may be occurring.
Joanne Hinds DipCABT
Having decided in January 2010 to go back to studying in order to pursue a new career in dog behaviour, I am so pleased I chose COAPE to do this with and have now set up my Doglogic business running one to one consultations, puppy training and everyday behaviour training classes. The approach to understanding dog behaviour, treatment and working with clients not only makes complete sense but, as long as the client follows the treatment plan, it works!! It is the EMRA approach, understanding the dogs' overall mood and what is going on in their life, as well as how they are feeling at the time of the problem behaviour, which ensures the success. It is this approach that makes me stand out from the other behaviourist in my area – to the extent that and I have had really positive feedback when I have been directly compared on a case. It was this approach that was cited as what was different and successful where her approach failed. I couldn't be more pleased that I chose COAPE!
Ainsley Miller DipCABT, Benson, Oxfordshire
Award in Canine Health and Welfare - I am currently working with an Animal training and behaviour company, mainly with dogs and I am training on the job. I am learning a lot from hands on experience but wanted to study alongside this but couldn't afford to go to college or university in order to do so. COAPE gave me the opportunity to study in my own time. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and plan to do more with COAPE in the future.
Thank you so much for all of your help this year, I have enjoyed reading and learning new things. As you know, I didn't set out to make a career of Dog Training or Behaviour, however I thank the tutor for the comments about continuing in this field. I'm not too sure what the certificate allows me to do - is it a qualification to run training classes or a stepping stone to a higher level? This course has helped me in so many ways, simply looking for a good puppy class was made easier as I knew what to look out for. I was lucky to find a trainer, Sandra Raw who has the same outlook as I do.
I'm not sure what the future will bring, but I do know that this course has given me a new direction in life and I certainly wont waste the knowledge.
For now, I will be using my achievement to train my puppy. He is now 7 months old, growing into a very lovely dog with his own mind but eager to please. We are currently learning to track as his nose is superb. Please give my thanks to the Tutors and once again, thank you for your consideration this year.
Diane Brooks (just complete Dogwise)