Susan McKeon BSc (Hons), MAPDT (01157), CCAB
Happy Hounds Dog Behaviour is owned and run by Susan McKeon – that’s me in the photo, with Mina (my first rescue Greyhound)!
I’m a professional dog trainer and Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) and I have a huge soft spot for sighthounds (particularly Greyhounds and Salukis). I’ve worked with several national sighthound charities – The Greyhound Trust, and Forever Hounds Trust (formerly, Greyhound Rescue West of England) – plus a local greyhound charity; volunteered as a dog walker for a local dog rescue; and worked within a kennel environment; as well as running dog training classes and undertaking numerous training and behaviour one to ones.
Working with rescue charities
Currently, I work full time for Dogs Trust as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist. This means I am unable to take on new behaviour cases, due to time constraints. Prior to joining Dogs Trust, I was the Behaviour & Welfare Manager for Forever Hounds Trust – a national charity which is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of unwanted, abused or abandoned greyhounds and lurchers.
Qualifications – what do all those letters after my name mean?
You will often see a vast array of letters after dog trainers’ names. For example: I am Susan McKeon, BSc (Hons), MAPDT (01157), CCAB …but what do these really mean?
The dog training industry in the UK is completely unregulated and anyone can claim to be a dog trainer or behaviourist. There are a number of different qualifications and memberships available, but all are not equal. You would not expect a doctor to treat you if they were not qualified, or a pilot to fly a plane without qualifications and experience. In my opinion, the same is true of dog training! Just because an individual has lived with dogs all their life, it does not make them a dog trainer or behaviourist.
I graduated from the University of Hull with a Bachelor of Science honours degree in canine behaviour and training. This allows me to use BSc (Hons) after my name. This degree covered both the theory and practical application of dog training and behaviour. My dissertation focused on impulsivity in racing greyhounds, and involved lots of data collection from owners of retired racing greyhounds from across the world.
MAPDT (01157) – The Association of Pet Dog Trainers
All full members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers have been assessed according to strict criteria. This is to ensure that they have the appropriate skills to teach dog training. As a full member, I am required to keep my education up-to-date and adhere to a Code of Practice. All full members can use the post nominals of MAPDT followed by their membership number.
CCAB – Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist
Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourists (CCAB) are behaviour professionals whose skills and knowledge have been independently assessed by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB). Certification is administered by the ASAB Accreditation Committee, which consists of ASAB members, and representatives of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the British Psychological Society, and the International Society for Applied Ethology.
Certification constitutes recognition by ASAB that, to the best of its knowledge, the clinician meets the educational, experiential and ethical standards required by the Society for professional clinical animal behaviourists. By consulting with a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB), you can be assured that the behaviourist is suitably qualified, has experience of treating behaviour problems, and adheres to a strict Code of Conduct.
Dog training and behaviour organisations
I am a member of a number of dog training and behaviour organisations whose code of conducts and ethics fit with my approach of fear-free dog training, based on the science of how dogs learn and what works – in an effective and humane way. These organisations are:
- The Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (certificated member)
- The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (full member)
- The Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK (membership number: 01157)
- The Pet Professional Guild – The Association for Force Free Pet Professionals (member number: 8671373)
I am also recognised as an:
- Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC) Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist
- Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC) Registered Animal Training Instructor
Keeping my knowledge & skills up to date
I regularly attend seminars, workshops and conferences to expand my knowledge of dog training and behaviour and keep up to date with the latest training and behaviour developments. I have completed the Life Skills for Puppies: Training for Trainers course, run by the University of Lincoln, and based my classes on the Life Skills concept.
I have attended conferences, seminars and workshops where I have had the privilege to learn from:
• The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors • The Association of Professional Dog Trainers • Professor Ray Coppinger • Patricia McConnell • Sue Sternberg • Linda Case • Professor Clive Wynn • Ken Ramirez • Dr Susan Friedman • Dr Ian Dunbar • Dr Roger Abrantes • Grisha Stewart • Kelly Gorman Dunbar • Pam MacKinnon • Kim Hunt • Simon Gadbois • Dr Muriel Brasseur • Professor Daniel Mills • Chirag Patel • Teresa McKeon • Bob Bailey • Dr Karen Overall