Dr. Slabbert matriculated at the Hoër Seunskool Helpmekaar, in Johannesburg in 1980. From 1981 to 1985, he was a student at the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg and completed the following degrees: B.Sc. Biological Sciences and B.Sc. (Honours) Zoology.
In June 1985, he joined the South African Police Service (SAPS), where he served for 20 years (until July 2005). Most of his time in the SAPS was spent working at the Dog Breeding and Training Facility. Between 1987 and 1998, Dr. Slabbert obtained the following degrees, at the University of Pretoria: M.Sc. (Ethology) with the title, “Maternal Influences on Behaviour Acquisition in Juvenile Domestic Dogs” and Ph.D. (Veterinary Ethology) with the title, “Early Prediction of Adult Police Dog Efficiency”. Directly as a result of these research projects, the success rate of dogs bred by the SAPS increased from 7 % to 60 %. International recognition was also achieved through the publication of three articles in international scientific journals.
Dr. Slabbert has visited and worked closely with police and military training institutions in Australia, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Russia, Poland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States of America and Zimbabwe.
From July 2005 to 31 December 2007 he worked for the following USA companies: Canine Associates International (CAI) and BDG-International. His main responsibilities included, detection dog breeding, socializing and training. On 1 January 2008, Dr. Slabbert accepted a post with the De-mining company, MECHEM, as the manager of contraband detection.
Dr. Slabbert is a member of the “International Working Dog Breeding Association” (IWDBA) and a founder member of the “South African Board for Companion Animal Professionals” (SABCAP).
He has been involved with Ethology Academy since 1998, as co-presenter of the Advanced Dog Behaviour Course and consultant for the Basic Dog Behaviour Course.
A few of his major, scientific publications include:
- Slabbert, J. M. & Rasa, O. A. E. 1992. The effect of early separation from the mother on pups in bonding to humans and pup health. South African Veterinary Association 64(1): 4-8.
- Slabbert, J. M. & Rasa, O. A. E. 1997. Observational learning of an acquired maternal behaviour pattern by working dog pup: an alternative training method? Applied Animal Behaviour Science 53:309-316.
- Slabbert, J. M. & Odendaal, J. S. J. 1998. Early prediction of adult police dog efficiency - a longitudinal study. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 64: 269-288.