In this section...

Visit our online shop

Upcoming courses

    View all courses
    • We both loved the way Sheila Harper presented herself - not to 'tell' or 'advise' us on what to believe or not (like many trainers do in a sometimes intimidating manner) but to allow us to think...
    • It was superbly facilitated and directed with dog handling, case studies, and in-depth perspective being important.
    • Sheila is not into "Sit", "Down", "Stay". The concentration is on having a positive and gentle development with your dog - you are a team - so that you can both enjoy...
    • I have been to presentations before where your attention starts to wander and where you can’t wait for the course to end. I was completely focused on this course for the whole 2 days; there was...
    • “What a weekend that was! Will life with my dog ever be the same again? I hope not! I now have some tools for a new start with my first ever dog who, at 14 months, had lost his trust in me...
    • “I soon realised that my inexperience really didn’t matter, as what we had come to learn about was new to everyone. We all had a similar motivation for doing the course. To do the best...
    • “A wonderfully stimulating and well organised weekend. It exceeded my expectations both in content and presentation.”
    • “I admire Sheila’s passion, calm positive energy and tireless motivation for teaching and sharing her profound, pioneering and unique philosophy and knowledge of dogs and owners.”
    • “I learned a great deal and ‘Bod’ was so relaxed and stress free due to your fantastic organisation. I do so appreciate how much hard work and thought goes into the preparation of...
    • “At that time, I still believed in Pack Leadership, dominance, control and obedience. Sheila opened my eyes and mind to the possibility that there was a different way to work with my three...
    • “I wanted to say a big thank you for the hard work and time put into the courses and for the patience and understanding of where I am at and what I have still to learn. It could be quite...
    • “We haven't been able to stop thinking about what we learnt and we're hungry for more. We bought half a dozen books to keep us going!”



    Accreditation is becoming increasingly important particularly for those wishing to work with dogs in a professional capacity. Studying an independently accredited programme ensures each student’s investment of resources is recognised, as course structure, material and moderation have to meet exacting educational standards.

    In order to meet the requirements for entry to our OCN programme, students must have completed the IPACS.
    At this point, each student can decide whether or not they wish to work towards gaining an accreditation. There are no exams, but the portfolio undertaken by the students is assessed by Sheila Harper Ltd staff, reviewed by the OCN (WMR)) moderator and then submitted to the OCN (WMR) for issue of certificates.

    The Open College Network (WMR) is a major awarding body providing national qualifications and a complementary range of national and local activities, including curriculum development and locally developed accreditation. The OCN (WMR) supports learning and widens opportunity by recognising achievement through credit based courses and accreditations.
    An OCN (WMR) certificate will be issued upon successful completion of the units undertaken. A choice is available of two credit levels, 3 or 4 depending on the commitment and time available students have available. Within the UK, a Level 3 is broadly equivalent to an AS/A Level, BTEC National, Vocational A level, NVQ 3 or Advanced Diploma. Level 4 is equivalent to a first year degree course.

    Achievement of a Level 3 or Level 4 is dependent upon achieving the given assessment criteria in each subject area. Students are free to choose the level for each subject area they wish to study and to be assessed. Assessment criteria are specific, detailed and available to all students. Upon completion of the course students would expect to gain up to 33 credits in total across the four units available.
    Four units comprise the accreditation we offer through the OCN. A “unit” pulls together elements from various areas of study of the IPACS to form the basis for accreditation purposes.

    Unit titles: Credits at Level 3 and Level 4 OCN(WMR) 

    • Canine Communication and Stress (9 credits)
    • Behavioural Training Practice (9 credits)
    • Canine Behaviour and Training (9 credits)
    • Canine Handling Teaching Techniques (6 credits) Total: 33 credits

    For further information on the Open College Network, log on to the OCN (WMR) website at


    EU countries vary greatly in their expectations or recommendations for working within the industry. However, there is a definite move towards standardisation across the EU. With so many educational programmes offering in-house certification, there are no clear standards and there is little impartiality.
    The IPACS is one of the few international programmes that offers independent accreditation: where a recognised third-party body moderates students’ progress. Although the OCN may not be internationally recognised in many countries, its standards are becoming well known, and its influence is spreading. The OCN now has partnerships in Scandinavia and centres in India. It is extending its international offers further to include Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Ukraine as well as developing opportunities in the Middle East, Mauritius and South Africa.


    It is of increasing importance to us to keep up with current trends within the animal industry in order that our students have the best chance of being recognised if they plan to work professionally in this field. We are one of the first learning providers to have a canine-related programme accepted by the OCN to offer Level 4 accreditation, and we strive to maintain our position so that we will be able to comply with future recommendations by the industry. In addition, those students completing the IPACS will be in an excellent position to further their study as credits gained from our programme of OCN accreditation will be directly relevant. Any future developments on our part will be intended to coincide with further imminent standardisation in the UK’s animal-related industry, along with potential changes within the EU.