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International Advisory Group


Dr Justyna Wlodarczyk

Dr Justyna Wlodarczyk, teaches cultural studies and literature at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland. She also has extensive dog training experience and has competed with her dogs in different dog sports for over 20 years. She has combined her practical experience with theoretic analytical tools and has been involved in different animal studies projects. Her newest book publication is Genealogy of Obedience: Reading North American Dog Training Literature, 1850s-2000s (Brill, 2018), which attempts to delineate a history of dog training in America through a careful close reading of animal training manuals. In Free Market Dogs: The Human-Canine Bond in Post-Communist Poland (co-author and co-editor, Purdue, 2016) she wrote about the positive training revolution in Poland.]

She is interested in historicizing and contextualizing the human-canine relationship, especially the entanglement of everyday human-animal interactions in broader ideological projects. She has been a recipient of the Animals and Society Fellowship (2015) and two Fulbright Fellowships (Indiana, 2006-2007 and UIUC, 2016-2017).


Dr Samantha Gaines

Dr Samantha Gaines, is head of the companion animals department within the science and policy group at the RSPCA. She manages a team of scientific and technical officers who develop policy, position, advice and information on companion animal behaviour and welfare. She specialises in a variety of issues which affect the welfare of dogs kept as pets, for working purposes and those used in sport.

Prior to working at the RSPCA, and after gaining an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Sam worked as a research scientist for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. She was involved in various projects studying the behaviour, performance and welfare of working dogs. During this time she also was also awarded a PhD which studied the effects of housing and husbandry on the welfare of kennelled dogs.


Sian Ryan

Sian Ryan, gained her MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour from the University of Lincoln with distinction in 2011. Whilst finishing her dissertation on Self Control in Pet Dogs she worked as a behaviour counsellor and trainer in the Lincoln Animal Behaviour Clinic and went on to work as a researcher looking at novel ways of measuring emotions in dogs in 2012. With several years of dog training experience, Sian was the first course tutor for Life Skills for Puppies training classes and helped create and develop the course, as well as tutoring on the Life Skills for Puppies Trainers Courses offered by the University of Lincoln. Sian has been featured in all the daily national newspapers and on local and national radio as a dog training expert, and her book No Walks? No Worries! (with co-author Helen Zulch and photographer Peter Baumber) was published in October 2014. Sian has also appeared as an animal training and behaviour expert for various BBC programmes including Me and My Dog (2017), Bang Goes the Theory and was consulted during the making of Inside the Animal Mind with Chris Packham. Her next book, Older Dog? No Worries! will be published by Hubble & Hattie in 2019.

Sian owns and runs the Developing Dogs Training Centre and Holiday Cottages in Cambridgeshire, as well as giving seminars and workshops across the country. Her speciality is pet dogs, developing interactions which enable dogs and owners to make the most of their unique relationship.


Professor Alison Sealey

Alison Sealey, is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK. She has published extensively on a wide range of subjects, with an emphasis on the role of discourse in representations of the social world. She was co-investigator on the project ‘”People”, “products”, “pests” and “pets”: the discursive representation of animals’, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2013-2017), and among her recent publications are ‘Animals, animacy and anthropocentrism’ (International Journal of Language and Culture 5/2); ‘Why did the Canada goose cross the sea? Accounting for the behaviour of wildlife in the documentary series Life’ (with Lee Oakley, International Journal of Applied Linguistic 24/1); ‘”What do animals mean to you?”: naming and relating to non-human animals’ (with Nickie Charles, Anthrozoos 26/4); ‘The Discursive Representation of Animals’ (with Guy Cook, The Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics). She continues to research the implications of the ways we talk about the non-humans with whom we share the planet.


Professor Lynda Birke 

Lynda Birke is Visiting Professor in the Dept of Biological Sciences, University of Chester. Her background is in biology (animal behaviour), but she has focused on interdisciplinary research for many years, particularly in gender studies and human-animal studies. Her particular interests are human-animal relationships, and animal welfare. Her major research projects have included studies of human-animal relationships in scientific research, and most recently, studies of the horse-human relationship. She lives in Shropshire, UK, with 3 dogs, several horses, and her partner.

chirag.jpgChirag Patel

Chirag Patel, BSc (Hons), PGCert (CAB), CPBC, DipCABT

Chirag is a behaviour and training consultant who advises on the behavior, management and training of domestic animals kept as pets, exotics, zoo and laboratory animals. His passion is the application of behaviour change science and ethics to improve the life of animals living under human care, especially applying training principles to teach animals to be active participants in their own daily and veterinary care in a stress free manner.
Chirag is a consultant for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association; scientific officer and external consultant for the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) Animal Training Focus group; a Certified Parrot Behaviour Consultant (CPBC) with the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC); and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK (00923) having previously served on their committee. He also owns ‘Domesticated Manners’ and has a YouTube Channel that provides free resources for pet owners and professionals; you can access this channel by clicking here