About Edinburgh Dog Behaviour

River McDonald BSc (Hons) MSc CCAB

Clinical Animal Behaviourist

As the founder and director of Edinburgh Dog Behaviour, my goal is to build a happy confident relationship between people and their pets. I believe in honesty, kindness and the highest level of service and therefore promote only the use of kind, reward-based methods based upon up-to-date research and best practice. My approach is firmly centred on you and what you hope to gain from working with me, whilst paying close attention to your pet’s history and individual needs, to build a behaviour plan that is achievable for you both.

I have a broad range of experience handling and working with dogs, from strays and street dogs in Asia to assistance dogs here in Scotland. With a background spanning education, enforcement and the charity sector I hope to bring a range of skills to your unique situation and collaborate to help you get the best from your dog. I am particularly interested in working with aggressive dogs and support separation anxiety dogs and rescues with complex behavioural needs, and I conduct behaviour consults both in-person and remotely via Zoom.

As a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist with ASAB, a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC)  and registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC), insured dog owners can also claim on their insurance for my services. Please contact your provider to enquire about your individual circumstances.




Eilidh Mackay BVM&S MRCVS MSc

Veterinary Surgeon and Clinical Animal Behaviour Graduate

I graduated as a vet in 2016, from the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. I then worked in a range of general practices for 5 years in both the UK and Australia, largely with companion animals. This included living and working in Tasmania, Australia for 2 years, which is where I discovered my passion for animal behaviour. I subsequently moved back to the UK to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Animal Behaviour at the University of Lincoln from which I graduated with Distinction in 2022.

I have since returned to part-time veterinary work whilst working towards full qualification as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist. After completion of my Master’s degree, this involves seeing a range of cases under the supervision of a fully qualified Clinical Animal Behaviourist, such as River. I am currently registered as a Provisional Member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) and a Candidate Member of the Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (FABC) and hope to become a full member of both once I am fully qualified.

I love both dogs and people and am passionate about creating solutions that work for you and your lifestyle, as well as your individual dog. I am especially interested in the link between medical conditions and behaviour, and how pain and discomfort impact problem behaviour. I believe in kind, evidence-based methods and will always work with a sympathetic, non-judgmental approach towards both animals and humans.

In my free time, I love spending time in the great outdoors with my husband, friends and canine companion, Nel. Nel has taught me a lot about canine behaviour over the years and I love watching her interact with the world!

Christina Wells

KPA-CTP, Edinburgh Puppy Club, Puppy Expert

Growing up in The Gambia, Christina always found herself surrounded by a variety of animals - domesticated and wild - and from a very early age, she was fascinated with animal training and how to communicate with other species effectively.

When she finally welcomed her first very own dog into her and her partner’s family in 2013, she made many naive and common puppy raising mistakes and, following a number of unfortunate incidents with other dogs, her little dog Indie became reactive towards other dogs and would bark whenever he saw, smelled or heard another dog. Through trying to help him, Christina found herself attending different dog training classes, and then also dog training seminars by well-known professionals including Victoria Stilwell, Chirag Patel and Sarah Fisher among others. Indie made great progress and after graduating from uni with a BA(hons) in airline management, Christina made a snap decision to follow her passion and study dog training, in particular, the clicker training method, through the Karen Pryor Academy. In 2015 she graduated as a Karen Pryor Academy as Certified Training Partner, with Certified Canine Graduate Indie by her side.

Christina has since raised another 3 puppies, including selecting, raising and training her Working Cocker Spaniel George as a diabetic alert dog for herself. She has helped countless puppy owners, running puppy training classes as well as one-to-one puppy sessions focusing on all things puppy raising and training. She has a particular interest in the critical developmental stages of young puppies, and how to support them in becoming the most confident, well-rounded versions of themselves, and we are proud to have her onboard providing online training and behaviour advice to our Edinburgh Puppy Club Members!



Amy Bastow

Separation Training Specialist

If you’re looking for 1-2-1 training to help your dog feel calm and happy home alone, you won’t find a more supportive, kind and skilful trainer than Amy.

Amy joined the separation training team in 2021 after graduating from Julie Naismith’s SA Pro course. She comes with extensive training and behaviour knowledge, over 10 years experience working with and training dogs, and is ready to support separation anxiety clients with bespoke training exercises and Whatsapp support. River & Amy work together to deliver a combined clinical and training package that represents the highest level of support you could wish for in tackling the problem of separation anxiety in dogs.

As a committed fear-free trainer, Amy will work with you to help you understand and communicate with your dog better, coaching the human side of the relationship and bringing insight and practical techniques to further your training goals. She holds a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, as well as an MSc in Wildlife Biology & Conservation and lives with her gorgeous Rottweiler Coco.



Tania Pires

Admin Assistant

Tania joined Edinburgh Dog Behaviour in May 2019 to provide administrative support for our growing business. She provides a point of contact for all new enquiries, helps manage bookings and payments and liaises with veterinary surgeries to ensure health and welfare of dogs and owners remains at the heart of what we do.

Originally from Portugal but settled in our beautiful city, Tania is a Virtual Assistant with over 10 years of management and IT experience in a range of industries. In her spare time she loves to travel, and has a gorgeous and friendly Westie who loves to pose for photos.