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Although most of my work has focused on exotic animals such as dolphins, chimpanzees and iguanas, I am also passionate about the work I do with domestic animals, especially dogs. I have lots of friends and colleagues who know a lot about dogs, who care for and train them, among the many other things they do for and with dogs. They interact and work with them in therapy and rescue and collaborate with them in research projects, including dog-human interactions involving other animals like the endangered San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis), who are tracked by dogs specially trained for conservation efforts. Cool stuff, right?

We all have our expertise and mine is predominantly with wildlife. As in other fields, in the field of animal care and welfare an interdisciplinary approach is fundamental in order to learn from others and potentially apply models and frameworks in one field to another. When it comes to dogs I often collaborate with and teach in different facilities where dogs live and/or work, such as shelters, laboratories, and the police force. I also work with representing organisations such as dog protection agencies and individuals who organise conferences, workshops and seminars. I am also the proud ambassador of Fondation Contacthond, a Dutch organisation that supports people who face daily challenges in their lives in a unique way – using specially trained dogs and trainers as support in a variety of therapy sessions. I support their mission and provide valuable knowledge and assistance on animal welfare and research related topics. Read more about all the work they do in our specially dedicated BLOG.

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Through AnimalConcepts I have organised many animal training, care and welfare seminars, including with world-renowned animal trainers such as Dr. Bob Bailey, Ken Ramirez, and the late Dr. Sophia Yin, a veterinarian who raised awareness for the need of attention to behaviour in the veterinary field and importance of low-stress handling. I also worked with researchers such as Dr. Brian Hare, one of the co-founder of Dognition, and Professor Ludwig Huber, known from his work on investigating the human-dog attachment among other topics.

Over the last 10 years I have been an invited speaker at several dog-focussed seminars and conferences, I have taught animal training to dog owners, researchers and the police dog taskforce and worked on improving the wellbeing of dogs in shelters and research facilities.
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Beside animal training I have also spoken in particular concerning the 24/7 approach to an animal’s life. A concept which is concerned with what the animals need and want during the day and night, during the hours we are sleeping, at work, or busy with our friends and families. It revolves around questions in order to understand what their life is like, and importantly what it could, and should it be like if we are serious about quality of life and promoting optimal animal welfare. Whether we have dogs at home, in research facilities, shelters, at work for us as service dogs in the police force, a guide dog, in search and rescue, whatever the role is we ascribed to them, it is important to ask “what is a good life for a dog in this situation, and are we the best we can be?”
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Isn’t it amazing all the things we can do when we get together? I think it is, and I am grateful and thrilled to know so many amazing ‘dog’ people and of course all the fuzzy (and not so fuzzy) dogs, because their personalities are as diverse as ours!

Our strengths lay in sharing and collaborating in our dedication to caring for dogs, whoever they are and wherever they are, and it is my honour and pleasure to help in our joined mission to promoting optimal dog wellbeing!

Photo below: Dr. Nikki Rethmeier, Director of Contacthond with Sabrina Brando at an animal training congres in the Netherlands, and wonderful therapy dogs and people caring and interacting with them.
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"AnimalConcepts is a great company to work with on dog welfare, especially if you are looking to integrate science from other disciplines in your own field. Bridging and bonding is a beautiful way to professionalise your dog business! At the Dutch Royal Association for the Protection of Dogs we have enjoyed working with Sabrina Brando to increase dog welfare in animal shelters. Get inspired to take the next and/or a different step towards improved dog welfare with AnimalConcepts!"

- Ineke van Herwijnen -
Dutch Royal Association for the Protection of Dogs

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