Prof. Peter Neville
Prof. Peter Neville is a founding partner of COAPE and was Clinical Professor at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Miyazaki University, Japan from 2008 to 2010, and has been Adjunct Full Professor at the Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, USA since 2009. He established the behaviour referral clinic at the Department of Vet Medicine, Bristol, UK in 1990. Peter has been in practice for the treatment of behaviour problems in pets for over 25 years and is a speaker in high demand at veterinary, behaviour and training meetings all over the world.
Author of the best-selling books: “Do Cats Need Shrinks?” and “Do Dogs Need Shrinks?” Peter is the independent companion animal behaviour consultant to Nestle Purina PetCare in the UK and also leads ‘behind the scenes’ safaris observing the behaviour and studying the ecology of African Wild Dogs and big cats first hand with biologists and vets in the field, and photographic tuition safaris in South Africa with renowned professional wildlife photographer, Neil Aldridge.
COAPE’s Prof Peter Neville co-authors ‘Breed-dependent differences in the onset of fear-related avoidance behavior in puppies’ in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior 10 (2015) 286-294. A later onset of fear-related avoidance behaviour was observed in CKC Spaniels compared with GSD and Yorkshire Terrier puppies: emotional and behavioural development varies among dog breeds.
Val heads a large behaviour practice in the north of England. She has worked with dogs and horses for most of her life and was responsible for developing the first puppy socialisation classes in South Yorkshire.
She is an international speaker and is well known for her work in the assistance dog training industry, being the world leader in the training of Emergency Response Dogs for people with epilepsy and other complex medical conditions. Val has many years’ experience in the training and rehabilitation of problem dogs and horses and is an expert in the effects of diet on canine behaviour, rehabilitation and training. Val has written a number of booklets on canine behaviour and training and is co-author of several research papers.
Dr. Robert Falconer-Taylor
Robert successfully passed his COAPE Diploma in 2002 and has since become Veterinary Consultant to COAPE. He originally tutored and lectured on the COAPE UK Diploma course but has since taken on the very demanding role as consultant veterinary behaviourist to COAPE International, as well as being the author and tutor of several other COAPE courses. He qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1981 and first went into mixed veterinary practice and then into exclusively companion animal practice.
Robert has also spent time in industry as a management consultant and IT specialist and as a trainer to the veterinary and allied professions. He joined COAPE as a partner in September, 2008 and moved to the Highlands of Scotland in 2009 where he currently devotes most of his time to education, lecturing in UK and abroad, writing, consultancy work for the pet industry and animal welfare.
Professor Ray Coppinger
Professor of Biology at the School of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, USA until 2006. Prof Ray Coppinger studied dogs, bred dogs, raced dog sled teams in the Arctic and worked with dogs for decades all over the world. He was also a consultant to the famous Wolf Park, Indiana, USA.
Along with his wife, Lorna, he co-authored the must-have book, ‘Dogs – a startling new understanding of canine origin, behaviour and evolution’ which forms an integral part of COAPE’s course material.
Ray and Lorna developed the modern theory of how dogs evolved by natural selection. The most consensus view is that people domesticated dogs but the Coppingers questioned that. By investigating dogs in places like the Mexico City dump they gathered information to support their argument that dogs evolved as one of the all-time successful scavengers. Dogs’ wild behaviour is that of a village scavenger, but often dogs like those living off eco-systems such as the Mexico City Dump have their behaviours shaped by the environment they find themselves in. Humans adopting dogs from these background sources have continued to shape them further into diverse forms, making them on the one hand the most successful wolf ever known and on the other hand something interestingly bizarre.
Ray brought together all his amazing experiences and life’s work as a professional scientist to guide students as they explore the emotions, intelligence and development of the behaviour of animals through his courses with COAPE. Ray passed away in 2017, leaving behind a legacy that COAPE is proud to continue teaching to our students.
Lorna Coppinger majored in Slavic Studies at Boston University, and earned her M.A. in biology at the University of Massachusetts. While their two children were growing, Lorna published many popular articles, mostly about dogs, and when Ray began training and racing a team of sled dogs, she followed with pen and camera and wrote the first (and award-winning) comprehensive book on sled dog racing.
As a co-founder (with Ray) of the Livestock Guarding Dog Project in 1977, Lorna began fifteen years as research associate/outreach specialist at Hampshire College. She and Ray have studied working dogs throughout the U.S. and Europe. They imported dozens of guardians for a breeding program for the U.S., and credit these specialized breeds with providing the spark for their subsequent ethological research.
Lorna has written numerous technical articles for the scientific journals, but the most fun for both authors has been distilling two lifetimes spent in professional and personal association with dogs in their 2001 book, Dogs.
Originally hailing from the UK, Wendy came to South Africa in 2006, and began her work in conservation with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), beginning work as a research assistant with large carnivores, and specialising in the endangered African Wild Dog. During this time, 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. In 2010, Wendy initiated a project that formed the basis for the future development of the first national multi-species protocol for the monitoring of roadkill in South Africa. This protocol was implemented in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA) in the northern Limpopo Valley of South Africa, a World Heritage Site and identified the factors affecting roadkill rates, species composition and any other variables that may affect roadkill rates.
Wendy is currently working with the EWT’s Wildlife and Roads Project where she is driving initiatives that address the now-recognised threat of roads in South Africa. She has successfully co-ordinated four international road ecology workshops which led to the development of a five-year action plan. In addition, she is creating a national network forum which will continue to raise awareness and further quantify the issue at hand through proactive mitigation measures such as a Roadkill Sensitivity Map and best practice guidelines to guide road development. Wendy is continuing to motivate for further research to be undertaken that examines the impacts of roads in South Africa and is liaising with South African institutions regarding the design of future projects. This body of knowledge will lead to the development and planning decisions of future road design, which will lessen the impact of roads on South African fauna and flora.
Wendy obtained her MSc thesis in April 2013 (through Rhodes University) which examined the determinants of roadkill in South Africa. In addition, she has written the South African chapter for an international publication on global road ecology, published a number of scientific papers for international peer-reviewed journals, as well as being the recipient of the International Infra Eco Network Europe Award for her work in the road ecology field, a finalist for the Indianapolis Prize as well as runner-up to the national Eco-Logics Awards for the last three years. Wendy authored and tutors the COAPE CO5 Wild dog course.