Dean Hart

Dean Hart

Canine & Feline Behaviourist

Full Member

Dean has been specialising in animal behaviour over the last 27 years. He started his early career after school within equine and was then employed as an animal training assistant by a pet training company that provided animals for TV and Film. In his early 20’s he left the animal world, disillusioned by the poor income and staff conditions and ‘fell into’ human resources specialising in commercial business training, he was later head hunted by an international ‘blue chip’ electrical company and by 27 he was head of sales training for the UK and Northern Island. His love of animals got the better of him and at 30 he gave his lucrative career away and established a dog walking and boarding company, something of a new concept at this time and this helped finance University to retrain in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling.

As he developed his animal behaviour knowledge and skills, he was then able to combine his teaching skills with his newly developed career and began lecturing in canine behaviour and applied animal behaviour at Plumpton Agricultural College at both FE and HE levels. During his early teaching period he developed his own small animal rehabilitation centre for behaviour problems and small animal hydrotherapy rehabilitation on veterinary referral. He was one of the founder members of National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists and wrote the required behaviour knowledge and skills standards for therapists in the UK and internationally (these are still applied). This was in addition to writing the UK’s first recognised nationally accredited qualification in Small Animal Hydrotherapy.

His ability to write and deliver exceptional courses led him to develop the UK’s first series of OCN nationally accredited qualifications in canine related subjects including the practical application of training and behaviour counselling and advanced training and handling to Level 3. His earlier post graduate training in neuropsychology, psychopharmacology, learning theories, ethology, companion animals & the law combined with his fun and unique delivery style led to a demand for his talks and he then delivered seminars across the South and Midland regions of the UK, in particular for charities to help raise valuable funds.

He developed his career to include professional speaking and offering an accountable Expert Witness service to the UK Courts. He met Sara, a professional dog groomer in 2006 and they married very shortly after meeting, both he and his wife possessed an equal passion for animal related topics so this naturally led to the opening of a specialised canine centre with a third business partner. This included professional grooming, veterinary referral hydrotherapy services with spa, underwater walker and swimming pool, indoor training arena, veterinary referral behaviour clinic and an independent teaching College.

Unfortunately, due to caring for a poorly relative at home, the loss of two family members within weeks, the financial downturn in the UK, combined with management and staffing problems their centre was forced to close in 2009. This caused Dean and Sara to lose both their business, their home and their investment. They were homeless for 5 days before managing to find rental accommodation that would take their five dogs! As part of their recovery, in 2010 Dean and his wife established their own City and Guilds Independent teaching college on a much smaller scale and just six years later in 2016, with their commitment to professional standards and animal welfare, their College became an international award-winning College. Their students were winning the prestigious City and Guilds Medal for Excellence competing against much larger Colleges across the globe including those from Asia, Dubia and India for three years running.

Just prior to this in 2015 Dean and his team became one of only 6 specialist teaching centres qualifying in the UK to be a Kennel Club Preferred Educational Provider, writing and delivering high quality training courses and Continuing Professional Development seminars to support the Kennel Club Accredited Dog Training Scheme. Dean specialised in teaching advanced animal training, training trainers on how to train an array of animals including cats, donkeys, ponies, rats, chickens and pigs. He also taught business skills and marketing for SME’s and as a mentor his mature students were able to change careers. Many have set up and continue to run their own successful small businesses and are still in touch with him from around the world. With their College being awarded the prestigious International Medal for Excellence Award for three years running Dean and his wife decided to close for a review of their lifestyle and did so in March 2018.

In 2016 he returned to University and studied Professional Practice, he is currently working on a citizen Science research paper with his wife on ‘Cardiovascular Performance as a Measure of Stress within Dog Grooming’ and he is also studying Natural Sciences with the Open University. Dean has always had an interest in all species and is now looking at the possibilities of a new research paper for peer review, the ‘Measured Success of Labour Division in Sicilian Formicinae’ as part of his own myrmecology studies. He is hoping this will lead to his Phd some day!

Dean writes regular articles for UK publications while living in the UK for part of the year and in Sicily when he can. He has been a Charity Trustee for Canine Concern but retired in 2018. He remains a canine behaviour adviser to the board recently advising them on processes to take returning post Covid-19. He spends his current time with his wife, helping feral animals in Sicily while developing their new charity, Sicily Animal Support.

Dean also continues to run his Veterinary Referral Behaviour Clinic in East Sussex with his business partner Ben, in addition to providing Expert Witness services and of course trying to study! In June 2019 Dean and his wife opened a small grooming salon and veterinary referral clinic in Seaford, East Sussex and continue their involvement as animal advocates supporting the amazing Kit Wilson Trust as advisor’s. Dean is a full member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association, and a member of the Association of Animal Behaviour Professionals in addition to this he is a member of the European Citizen Science Association. a link to my current work in Sicily as a feline and canine behaviour advisor (in addition to my work in the UK) .