Karin Groenewald-C01 Graduate (2012)
My lifelong love of dogs and interaction with them prompted me to study them further, and my research led me to ThinkingPets. I read much about the courses they offered and the friendly staff answered all my questions about what to expect from the Dogwise C01 course. I enrolled, ordered my books, and when my first book arrived in the post, I was hooked. I couldn't stop reading - it was as if all the things I observed in dogs now had a meaning, a background, a reason, a solution, a cause, and an explanation. Everything from the breeds, why they look like they do, why some breeds have certain traits and behaviours, how dogs evolved from wolves, the effects of diet, exercise, stress, socialisation, isolation, etc. What I enjoyed about the course is that you could make it as basic or as advanced as you want to. The books on the reading list and the internet offer much deeper research and theory which is not necessarily asked in the coursework, but if you understand it, then you understand the basic principles so much better. I feel much more equipped to give my dog the best I can and I feel much more secure about what to offer him, what to look out for, what to do and not to do, and most importantly how dogs learn. This is something every dog owner should understand, as we can easily punish something that doesn't deserve punishing, and also that there are much better ways to communicate with your dog what you expect and require from him. If you understand how dogs learn, you can train them to do anything from sitting for a treat to opening the fridge and bringing you a can of Coke! Thank you to my tutor, Karin Landsberg, for your help, guidance and support throughout the course - my mind has made a complete shift in the world of dog behaviour!
Kieron Piper - COAPE Diploma Graduate (2011)
"It was until early 2009 that I was wholly and 100% sure that I was destined for a career in nature conservation, having just endured four grueling years doing my Diploma and BTech with one year left, foreseeing a future glittered with khaki uniforms, battles with poachers and plenty of lost baby animals in need of my care. How misguided I was! (Well except for the last part perhaps).
It all started with a more-than-normal interest in the abilities and development of my first puppy, which ultimately led me through a series of more-than-coincidental events to the front doorstep of ThinkingPets (Thanks Janina!). I completed the Confi-puppy instructor’s course, and went on to enroll in the Diploma. Despite being broke and completely committed to the final year of my studies in nature conservation, I dived in head first! (A sucker for punishment indeed).
Coming from a scientific background as a result of my previous studies, I found myself at a slight advantage over some of the other students in my class, purely in terms of the biology and the associated terminology; however it certainly did not mean that I wasn’t challenged!
I think what sets the COAPE Diploma apart from other similar courses of study is that the content is current. Science is an ever-evolving subject and we are disproving old ideas constantly. You wouldn’t trust a doctor who still prescribes cocaine for teething babies, yet in the Animal Practitioner industry we see outdated and disproved theories in practice constantly. I know and trust that when I did the Diploma, I was getting the most current and up to date facts available on topics like emotionality, neurophysiology, pharmacology and learning theory, and would not be in the least bit surprised if this year’s course content were to differ slightly from what I learned a year ago.
I am now equipped with the tools and know-how to approach my career with the utmost professionalism, and I have access to support and resources that ensure I can offer the best advice possible to clients when dealing with behaviour-related problems in dogs and cats. The methodology offered in this course is scientifically sound, and the practices taught are holistic and gentle.
You will be forced to expand your mind, think outside the box, and shift your paradigms. You will be challenged, you will cry and sometimes you may even want to die (jokes, it’s not that bad), but you will emerge a cutting edge animal practitioner on the forefront of current science, and you will change the way people see and treat their animals. That, for me is magic!"
Tersia Kock - COAPE Diploma Graduate (2011)
"It was very good to be enrolled in a course with up to date evidence based information. Feedback form knowledgeable tutor was always given professionally. I am proud to write this specific qualification behind my name."
Lynda McConnell - COAPE Diploma Graduate (2011)
"Sometimes in life we live to regret choices that we made and experiences that we had; but sometimes in life we get it right and the risk becomes worth it! Doing the COAPE Diploma was a risk that turned into one of the best choices and experiences that I ever made.
I gained so much knowledge, understanding and insight into the animal kingdom that I was blown away... you will use what you have gained from the Diploma in all aspects of your professional and possibly even your private life. The way that you view the world and all forms of life that you interact with will change astonishingly and you will have a much greater value for the earth and all that reside on it.
Not only did I learn how to work with animals I also learnt how to improve my people skills and reach a better understanding of how people behave, learn and communicate - this is essential because although animal behaviour is about helping and understanding animals; an important point to remember is that there is often, if not always, a person on the other end of the leash so to speak. Animal lovers are very seldom people lovers and having this included in the course has changed my life because I am more confident and comfortable in dealing with all kinds of people now... even the really difficult ones.
The information notes that we received during the course as well as the text books are really relevant and up to date. I still refer to them now if I need extra information or to reconfirm a fact I’m unsure of... I even refer to them if I get a case or situation that has me rather perplexed or stumped. COAPE also offers support online not only during the time that you’re doing the Diploma but also once you have completed it. You are given the opportunity to learn, grow and make good connections and even friends with your fellow students which is nice because you can always help each other out with ideas, situations or even referrals.
I personally found the COAPE Diploma to be professional, well presented, well organised, full to the brim of useful and fascinating information, practical exercises and I for one am most certainly planning on continuing with COAPE on advancing my qualifications to the Honours level. I really appreciated the never ending enthusiasm my lecturer had as well as all the ThinkingPets staff that were involved from beginning to end.
COAPE offers you the stability, information, support and the passion that you need to be successful in your desire to not only pass but to pass well. Was it hard work? Of course yes! What in life that is worth pursuing isn’t? Was it worth it? Oh yes indeed, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t put the knowledge that I learnt to use."
Lizann Brown - COAPE Diploma Graduate (2011)
"I've always been interested in the world of animal behaviour and have searched for a long time to find a qualification in this area. After doing another local course I was very happy when I finally came across the COAPE Diploma in the practical aspects of companion animal behaviour and training presented by Karin Landsberg from ThinkingPets. I immediately enrolled for the first Diploma course and its been the best thing I have ever done.
The diploma is internationally recognised and look at the science behind animal behaviour and give you a solid foundation to build a career in this area plus being mentored by one of SA's top behaviourists is a real experience not to be missed. Its presented in such a way that you can still work and study part time but don't underestimate the work load. I'm looking forward to doing my Honours in the diploma when it is available in South Africa.
Finally I have the courage and knowledge to follow my dreams and help people and little companion animals alike. I'm proud to be a COAPE SA affiliate and to be part of the ThinkingPets family which give you a solid support structure when ever you need help and I would highly recommend this course to anyone who have a great passion and would like to work with companion animals."
Lindi De Beer - COAPE C01 Graduate (2009)
"What started out as a course taken purely out of an interest in animals opened up a whole new world for me. The C01 course not only inspired me into a new line of work, but also helped me to understand my own dogs better. I learned things about them that I never knew about - it was fascinating! To think that I missed out on all of this information for years! I will never regret doing this course - in fact, I think this is a brilliant course for any serious dog owner. You will understand the where, what and why of your pet as never before, and it will help you to have a better relationship with them and to train them more effectively. I hope to come back for further studies in the not-too-distant future.
Lorna Hughes - COAPE C01 Graduate (2012)
"When I started the course I had stars in my eyes, I was so excited - I had made the commitment! At 53 years old I had not studied for years and so it took me quite a while to develop a routine in order to get my assignments out on time. I am a full time wine farmer, marketer and volunteer at my local animal shelter so it was quite a logistical challenge what with traveling and family commitments.
However I found the book list was incredibly interesting and informative and I couldn’t wait to start the next one. I found the course and research required quite a challenge and when I look back now to where I started, I am very pleased I finished. I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed the course. I found the content to be of great assistance in understanding how dogs learn and in my day to day training and rehabilitation of shelter dogs. The best tools to own – a clicker and a piece of polony."
Clinton Dixon - COAPE C01 Graduate (2012)
"I have had the pleasure of completing the COAPE C01 Dogwise course through ThinkingPets. As someone who has had a keen interest in dogs for most of my life, it was fantastic to get to know a lot more about them.
What is great is that this course is enjoyable whether or not you know much about canine training and behaviour. It introduces the vastness of the subject very simply and builds throughout the course, in the end giving more complex insights into the ins and outs of canine behaviour.
I felt, near the end of the course that I understood my two dogs a great deal better, and the knowledge I gained from the special study has given my husky, Sika, the freedom she has never previously known and along with that comes peace of mind for me. She went from running away 3-5 times a week, to running away twice since I finished the course, which has been a period of 5 months.
I would highly recommend the C01 Dogwise course to anyone interested in canine behaviour, and even if you do not wish to pursue canine studies further, it will greatly improve your understanding and your relationship with your dogs at home, and any others you encounter for the rest of your life."
Gabrielle Waterston - COAPE C01 Graduate (2012)
"As an animal lover, especially a dog lover, I had been looking for a course in South Africa that would allow me to broaden my horizons about dogs. When I eventually found the C01 course, it opened a whole new world for me and shifted my way of thinking. The reason for this is because I had a chance to educate myself to better understand dog behaviour as well as better my abilities as a pet owner. In addition to this, I was exposed to a variety of like-minded people which further solidified that the C01 course was not only a credible course but also an achievable educational goal when one is passionate about dogs. Moreover, this course created more opportunities for me within the animal kingdom as I am now a qualified ThinkingPets puppy and dog instructor. I believe that the C01 is a great educational foundation for understanding dog behaviour, not only for people wanting to make a career out of it, but even more so for those who just want to better their own dog’s quality of life."
Susan van der Byl - COAPE C01 Graduate (2012)
"I highly recommend the COAPE C01 Dogwise course to anyone who owns a dog or who works with dogs professionally, whether you are a groomer, a veterinary receptionist, or even if you are just a dog loving person. This course gave me so much insight into how dogs learn and what motivates them to act out certain behaviours, I am now able to apply my knowledge to my relationship with my own dogs and have definitely seen an improvement in our day to day interactions.
The lecturers from ThinkingPets are all very experienced and all work in behaviour and training related fields which means they are able to offer you firsthand advice, experience and insight into the world of training and behaviour. The course is based on the latest research so you are assured of being kept up to date with new training methods and the latest studies from professionals in this field.
Throughout the course you are given feedback from your assignments so that you are able to track your progress and see where you may need a little more assistance. I found the support structure outstanding and never once felt that I couldn’t contact my lecturer for help and advice.
I found this course to be well presented, very informative and can definitely say that COAPE as well as ThinkingPets live up to their reputation as leaders in the animal behaviour field."
Lindi-Lee New - COAPE C01 Graduate (2012)
"Going into anything new that will play a role in your future can be nerve racking, but the experience from ThinkingPets was great. The COAPE C01 course was insightful and challenging but there was always a helpful tutor there to guide you if you got stuck. Having interactive practical days throughout the course was not only fun but gave a better understanding of what we were learning. I would definitely say this course is worth it and great for anyone."
Anélle Jefferies - COAPE C03 Graduate (2012)
"Taking this course is the best decision I could have made for my cats as well as myself. A whole new world opened before my eyes, and I now see the feline world in an entire new dimension! As I advanced in the course, I noticed small changes in my cats’ overall behavior. I also felt as if the bond between my cats and I was stronger and that I understood them on a deeper level. This course has aided me in changes in my household which I could never have foreseen and wouldn’t have known how to handle.
Whether you are new to the wonderful world of feline companionship or an old veteran of a multi-cat household; this course is inevitable! If you’re thinking about it, stop thinking and enroll!"