I have undertaken a huge amount of CPD over the last 20 years in teaching, vet nursing, behaviour and biology. I have used the Open University, two 'bricks and mortar' universities, various vet industry providers and COAPE...it is COAPE I come back to and COAPE I recommend to anyone wanting to dip their toe in behaviour.
Helen Hitchings


Thank you everyone at COAPE. I have really enjoyed this course (Diploma Year 1) and really it blew all the Vet nurse certificates in behaviour out of the water!!

Gemma Harrison RVN



I passed my diploma in 2008 having worked as a qualified veterinary nurse since 1978. I have worked for Belmont Veterinary Centre in Hereford for 25 years and spent much of that time working mostly in theatre and training the junior nurses. Doing the COAPE diploma has opened up a new working life for me as I now do behaviour consultations that the vets refer to me within the practice, as well as one to one training sessions of between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Many clients often just struggle with finding the right way to prevent or stop an unwanted behaviour and it is so rewarding to be able to help them. I also offer behavioural consultations at the owner's home as well as at the surgery if appropriate, and use the EMRA™ approach as a basis for all my behaviour and training assessments. At other times during the week I give telephone advice to clients from messages that the vets or other nurses leave me daily, of which the subjects are many and varied. I have been able to explain the modern approach of behaviour and training to our vets and nurses so that they too have a better understanding of what we can do as a practice to help all of our patients that visit us every day. Even the toys and training aids that we sell have been influenced by my knowledge of behaviour and training so our clients across the board are benefiting from this. I find this subject endlessly fascinating and enjoy continued reading on this subject.

Carole Burke VN DipCABT, Hereford



And from the vets in Carole's Practice:


Since passing her diploma in 2008, Carole has been a source of invaluable advice to the practice.  From first vaccination puppy advice right through to the geriatric patient, Carole provides help in all aspects of behavioural problems and training. Carole is a valuable asset to the practice and clients build up a relationship with Carole, to whom we can confidently refer even the most challenging of cases.

Charlotte Matthews BVetMed MRCVS


Carole 's knowledge gained from studying her COAPE diploma has had a large positive impact on the service that we can offer to our clients.  Sadly behaviour still seems to be a 'Cinderella' subject in the veterinary course and many vets have a fairly basic knowledge of animal behaviour.  The COAPE approach of positive reinforcement sits well within our practice.  The COAPE diploma and support network has given Carole the knowledge and the confidence to deal with a wide range of behavioural issues.  It is great to know that at the end of that 10 minute and you ask if there is anything else that you can help with and they say that the dog has been ripping up the furniture for the last 3 years that there is someone to refer them to! Every week I learn useful facts and advice that I can also use by listening to Carole giving information to an owner.





Choosing to study with Coape was the best decision I made! Completing the Coape diploma has taught me so much, being nationally accredited it has given me a really valuable qualification that helps me in practice and has provided me the chance to run a business alongside vet nursing. I am more confident in the behaviour and training advice I give to clients and feel it is really useful handling difficult patients in work and sharing knowledge with colleagues.  The support after completing the course is fantastic and I couldn't wait to sign up to the second year!

Heli Reynolds VN DipCABT West Sussex



When I was studying at veterinary college the teaching of the subject of behaviour was virtually non-existent. I have always been interested in the behaviour of animals, dogs especially – and once I started life as a vet in general practice my interested increased. I chose to undertake the COAPE Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour and Training – and I am so glad I did. The course was so well rounded – covering everything from neurobiology (which I now understand better than I ever did at veterinary college!), through learning theory, to the emotionality of domestic animals and many subjects in-between.


I am now working solely as a behaviourist in a small animal veterinary practice. The COAPE Diploma has enabled me to do this. I carry out behaviour consultations both for clients of our practice and those referred from other local practices and run regular rehabilitation classes for dogs.


My knowledge and understanding gained from completing the COAPE Diploma combined with my veterinary knowledge and experience enables me to take a rounded view of an animal's behavioural problem – the emotions underlying the behaviour, the possible underlying medical problems, reinforcers for the behaviour – which in turns enables me to more effectively understand and help the animal and owners.


I would recommend anyone from any background – however experienced or inexperienced – who has an interested in behaviour, even if it is only that of their own pet – to undertake a COAPE course, especially the Diploma. It will change the way you view animal behaviour and your understanding of our domestic pets forever.

Hannah Lyon BVetMed DipCABT MRCVS

Ark House Behaviour Service, Ark House Vets, Leighton Buzzard




I thoroughly enjoyed the COAPE diploma course; it has helped me have the confidence and ability to run my own weekly puppy classes outside of practice which I really enjoy. I also now give help and advice to clients in practice as well as offering home visits outside of practice. In the future I am hoping to promote behaviour by offering client evenings on behavioural issues.

Sarah Blackbourn DipCABT



I completed the COAPE Advanced Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour and Training in 2009. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for many years. When the course began, I believed that my knowledge of domestic pets and their behaviour was above average. However, the course really opened my eyes and made me realise how much I didn't know.  I am now much more aware of canine and feline body language and communication, learning theory, neuropsychology, nutrition etc. I run puppy parties secure in the knowledge that I am educating owners, using the most current and effective theories and methods, enabling the owner to build a trusting bond with their puppy that will last a lifetime. I also run my own dog training and pet behaviour business, my colleagues are able to refer cases easily to me and can be sure that they are not inadvertently referring to a trainer/behaviourist that believes in 'Dominance' or use of aversive methods. In 2013 our veterinary practice will be starting Behavioural Advice Clinics, where I will be offering low cost behaviour advice for our client's dogs and cats. We are also planning canine and feline behaviour information evenings in the near future. Thanks to the COAPE course we are able to offer more services to help our clients and their pets. The veterinary profession play a leading role in ensuring the health and welfare of an animal, and that should include its psychological and emotional wellbeing.

Trixie Howard VN DipCABT, Coastway Vets, Brighton




I trained as a veterinary nurse over 6 years ago and on a daily basis I met people with a lot of concerns regarding their pets' behaviour. I also witnessed many healthy dogs being euthanased because the owners could not cope with these behaviours. It broke my heart. I didn't buy into the whole dominance theory that so many people still believe in and apply to almost every dog behaviour issue to little effect. But then I spotted COAPE, who teach that this approach can not only harm the dog psychologically but also your relationship with your beloved friend. I completed the COAPE Diploma course and started to offer behavioural advice based on a much more scientific approach that felt right, and have since had great results! Now that I'm in Ireland we have the convenience of webinars, which is great for overseas students.

Helen McGee VN DipCABT



I would like to thank you all for your guidance and assistance throughout the entry level and the Diploma course. It was a very informative and thoroughly enjoyable course to do. All the tutors are extemely knowledgeable in their own fields and brought humour to the course just when things could have been a little intense.

Maxine Wells RVN DipCABT



Since completing my Diploma I have been taking behaviour cases which I was not doing before, these have been for clients of the practice. I have also written a hand out to go into the puppy packs that are handed out at our puppy parties and at the time of initial vaccination. The veterinary surgeons are referring patients to me and asking my advice on their cases which they had not done previously.

Kirsty Tesh DipCABT, Park View Veterinary Hospital, North Hykeham



My course with COAPE gave me the confidence to give professional advice to clients on a range of behavioural issues. The course was well-structured and backed up with research and science. The vets I work with are pleased to be able to refer behavioural questions to me there and then giving clients excellent service and continuity of care.

Jody Barry VN DipCABT, Surrey



I would highly recommend COAPE to anybody interested in companion animal behaviour.  I have been nursing for over 12 years in small animal practice and have always been very interested in companion animal behaviour.  Having completed two COAPE courses I feel much more confident in advising clients on behaviour issues but also understanding our patients and their reactions in the veterinary practice environment.  Since completing my courses I now offer puppy socialisation classes, training and behaviour consultations to our clients and referral cases from other veterinary practices. I found COAPE very supportive and well-organised and really enjoyed the fun but informative lectures from the course tutors.  I personally feel our patients' mental wellbeing is just as important as their physical and as a profession we have a duty to our patients to fully understand these needs and their behaviours. 

Rebecca Mather RVN DipCABT, Head Nurse, Elands Veterinary Clinic, Sevenoaks