Dogs Trust

Rebecca Sommerville

Behaviour Officer

Qualifications

  • BSc Animal Behaviour, University of Sheffield
  • MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare, University of Edinburgh

Rebecca's role

Rebecca is a Behaviour Officer in the Post-adoption Support team, where she provides support for owners who have just adopted a dog. This updated post-adoption support initiative launched in April 2018 to provide more proactive, targeted support for newly adopting owners and to collect data from owners on dog health and behaviour after adoption. The post-adoption support behaviour team makes telephone calls offering behaviour advice and referral for more in depth support when needed, alongside an ongoing research project to evaluate its effectiveness. The aim is that owners feel more supported after taking home a new rescue dog from Dogs Trust and that the dog’s settling in process goes more smoothly and so their welfare is improved.

Biography

Rebecca completed a Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behaviour at the University of Sheffield. During her MSc she studied the behavioural development of future guide dogs, investigating play and the human-animal bond. Rebecca is a provisional member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and is working towards Certification as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist. Rebecca is passionate about improving the lives of animals internationally, she has worked for several leading welfare charities.

Most recently she worked as an animal welfare advisor for Brooke - Action for Working Horses and Donkeys, on the welfare assessment of working equids in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Prior to this she was a researcher in the Food Business team at Compassion in World Farming, helping large companies raise the minimum standards of welfare for farm animals in their supply chains. Alongside Dogs Trust, Rebecca has a voluntary role as Development Officer for the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE), to promote applied animal behaviour and welfare science in developing countries and support researchers and practitioners there. She is also a Trustee of The Humane League UK.

In her spare time, Rebecca can be found walking her ex-racing greyhound in the greener parts of London, or at the coast, and doing sprinting and hurdling as part of an athletics club.