BADA (Hons)(WITS), DipCABT (COAPE) OCN, CAPBT SA 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 and is a member of the CAPBT SA.
She has also completed her clicker training qualification and has a real interest in natural medicine for animals, and therefore grows and sources many unusual medicinal plants. Leigh spends the majority of her time 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. She joined the ThinkingPets team in 2014 and in 2015 purchased ThinkingPets.
MSc (Entomology), CertCAB, Guild certified TTouch Practitioner
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 due to her love for animals, worked as a veterinary nurse at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. 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.
She qualified as a TTouch Practitioner in September 2009. Following that, Judy completed the COAPE C01 Dogwise Stage 1 course with distinction in 2010. She is a qualified Puppy and Kitten school Instructor and holds the COAPE Diploma (DipCABT) in Companion Animal Behaviour. She is also a member of the CAPBT SA.
Judy has been running puppy classes in the southern suburbs of Cape Town since 2011. In January 2013, she and two other ThinkingPets dog trainers / COAPE animal behaviourists opened an adolescent and adult dog training school, Dog Hub, in Rondebosch.
Judy tutors the Confi-Kitten course.
DipCABT (COAPE UK) NOCN
Kieron Piper is currently completing a Btech in Nature conservation through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She met Janina Kruger in Hermanus in 2008 shortly after she had found her first dog on the Nature Reserve where she was working, and was fascinated by the training tips and information she received. After returning to Cape Town, she successfully completed the ThinkingPets Confi-puppy course. Kieron completed her Instructor training in February 2010 and is now a Level 2 instructor with several successful puppy and adult training schools in Cape Town.
In addition, Kieron completed the COAPE Diploma in the Practical Aspects of Companion Animal Behaviour and Training (DipCABT) in April 2011 and is now one of the CAPBT Behaviour Practitioners and and is presenting the Confi-Puppy course in Cape Town.
Linda van der Poel
Linda was born with an innate love for animals and is fortunate enough to spend her entire working career working with the very beings she is so passionate about.
As a teenager she was involved in animal rights. When she left school, she started and co-founded a feral cat rescue organisation which was a wonderful learning experience, but tough on her personal life and emotional state.
Linda worked as dog groomer, and ran a low cost spay and neuter service in conjunction with a local animal shelter from her grooming parlour.
She volunteered at low cost spay and neuter programs in various townships, and then joined a Veterinary practice. She later joined an orthopaedic rehabilitation centre, where the challenges of helping injured and nervous dogs walk on an underwater treadmill, lead her to study Animal Behaviour via COAPE SA where she obtained a qualification as a companion animal behaviour practitioner and trainer.
She currently runs her own animal behaviour and training practice for dogs and cats, a puppy school, and is a Confi-Puppy instructor and tutor.
Linda is passionate about her family, animal welfare, gardening and movies. She shares her life with her beautiful teenage daughter, and her much loved rescue dogs.
Alexandra has always had a passion for animals from an early age all her best friends were always four legged. She joined ThinkingPets in 2009 as a trainer after completing her Confi-Puppy course. She was prompted to start her studies in behaviour and training after identifying a lack of qualified trainers and schools in the Pretoria area where she was training her own dogs. Through the years she has excelled as a trainer and is now a qualified instructor who offers numerous classes in Pretoria and Midrand, ranging from puppy, adolescent, adult and agility training classes. Alexandra is currently studying part time through UNISA – a Diploma in Animal Health.
In 2012 she added qualified groomer to her impressive list of services offered, after successfully completing her Advanced Grooming Course. She plans on opening her own grooming parlour soon.
“Within ThinkingPets I feel I am able to strengthen the bonds between pets and owners.”
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 SA Affiliate member. She hopes to use the knowledge gained in her studies to assist shelters improve the welfare of the animals in their care, specifically focusing on early development and problem prevention.
Although Jessica is particularly interested in implementing environmental enrichment for animals living in captivity, improving relationships by helping guardians to better understand and communicate with their pets is what she finds most rewarding.
Jessica currently runs Best Behaviour™ Puppy Socialization & Training in Midrand, while remaining well trained by her dogs, cats, chickens, ducks and busy baby boy.
Jessica lectures and tutors the Diploma Year 1 course for COAPE SA and various ThinkingPets courses.