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Canine Behaviour and Training Instructor’s Diploma– Part-time Course Gauteng

This is the only course that Pet Sense College offers which includes classes and practical sessions. The courses consists of 8 modules and therefore offers the best value for money when comparing other similar courses.  This is the only practical course in South Africa which is internationally recognised and accredited.

Upon completion of this course, each student will be able to competently train a dog to a basic standard of obedience and run effective and professional classes.  This course is run over a three month period on Saturday afternoons. Due to Covid-19 this course will run with both live webinars and practical lessons. Students will be required to bring a dog to practical training sessions, either their own dog, or one that they can work with outside of practical sessions. If the student does not have a suitable dog, then one will be provided.  This college only supports the use of positive reinforcement. 

This course is developed as a foundation course and includes an introduction to problem behaviours and aggression however it is not specialised on this subject.  Further study in the area of Canine Behaviour would be necessary in order to specialise.


The CBTI DIP requires the following criteria:

  • You have some practical experience with dogs.
  • You can commit to Saturday afternoon sessions over 3 months – see dates below.
  • You are able to attend classes in Riverbend Randburg.  
  • You have additional time to read the subject specific literature and prepare your assignments.
  • You have a dog to work with on practical assignments at home.
  • Your computer needs the following requirements for the live webinars: Windows 7-10 or Mac OS x, Internet connection – WIFI (3g or 4g/LTE), speakers and microphone, webcam or built-in.


Furthermore, an exclusive offer is open to students who register for this course.

A 6 month apprenticeship at Happy Pack Dog Training and Behaviour Management. Classes run on Sundays in Linksfield.  For more info on this offer, please contact the lecturer, Celia McCulla.

Course Modules

1. Ways of Explaining Canine Behaviour

  • The effects of biology on behaviour
  • Natures approach to behaviour
  • Nurtures approach to behaviour
  • How food affects behaviour
  • Associative learning
  • Do dogs think?
  • Canine intelligence
  • Various ways dogs communicate
  • Canine instincts
  • What is a behaviourist?


2. Understanding Canine Behaviour

  • Introduction to developmental psychology
  • The newborn puppy
  • Associative learning in the newborn puppy
  • Reflex actions
  • Initial development in the newborn puppy
  • The puppy’s vision
  • The puppy’s hearing
  • Lapping behaviour
  • Early experiences with semi-solid foods
  • The Nature/Nurture debate
  • The behaviour of the mother
  • Natural selection
  • Elimination behaviour in the newborn puppy
  • The behaviour of the father
  • The importance of play in the newborn puppy
  • Why puppies play
  • The play bow
  • The role of hormones
  • Social development
  • Canine senses
  • Artificial selection
  • What is an adult dog?
  • Sexual maturity
  • Physical maturity
  • Psychological maturity
  • The dog as a predator
  • Instincts
  • Types of aggressive behaviour
  • The dog as a social animal
  • The structure of a pack
  • Personality expression
  • Vocalisation
  • Posture
  • Scent marking
  • Burying food
  • The elderly dog


3. Body Language

  • What is meant by body language?
  • Personal space
  • Various types of body language
  • Faces and their expressions
  • What the mouth can convey
  • Staring
  • Yawning
  • Body postures
  • The confident dog
  • The shy dog
  • Distraction signals
  • The stress signal
  • Play
  • The play bow and play dance
  • The older dog and play
  • Tail language
  • Positions of the tail
  • Wagging


4. Canine Learning

  • Charles Darwin’s biological adaptations
  • The nature verses nurture debate of learning
  • Environmental influences on behaviour
  • Canine learning
  • The parental influences on learning
  • Critical and sensitive periods of the puppy’s development
  • Classical conditioning
  • Chaining
  • Instrumental or operant conditioning
  • Reward and punishment in learning
  • Reinforcers and punishment in learning
  • Primary and secondary reinforcers
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Shaping behaviour
  • Sensitisation
  • Cultural transmission
  • The importance of play
  • Insight learning
  • Habituation


5. Dog Training

  • Why train dogs?
  • The senses and training
  • Schedules of reinforcement
  • Primary and secondary reinforcers revisited
  • Choice of primary reinforce
  • Benefits of using positive reinforcement
  • Putting the theory into practice
  • Basic training of house training, the recall, the sit, sit/stand, down, watch and progressing to heel with problems and solutions. Impulse control, prevention of aggression over food and toys, leash management. Leave-it, take-it, give-it.
  • Puppy socialisation
  • Running classes
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using Clicker Training
  • Summary of training principles
  • Trainer skills


6. Handling Aggression

  • Dealing with aggression
  • Learning theory
  • Operant conditioning
  • Positive and negative reinforcement
  • Positive and negative punishment
  • One trial learning
  • Generalisation with behaviour to different surroundings
  • Initial measures
  • When should training begin?
  • Desensitisation and Counter Conditioning Techniques
  • What is flooding
  • Aversive conditioning
  • Learned helplessness
  • Over learning
  • Holistic approaches to behaviour modification
  • Legal Issues and the Dangerous Dogs Act


7. Unusual Canine Behaviour

  • What is unusual canine behaviour
  • What is normal canine behaviour
  • Innate behaviour
  • How owners confuse their dogs
  • Unwanted barking behaviours
  • Territorial aggression
  • Fear aggression
  • Progressive desensitisation
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Canine anxiety
  • Feigning injuries
  • Chasing behaviour
  • Fouling indoors
  • Coprophagia


8. Avoiding Problem Behaviour

  • The thinking behind this module is to equip students with the ability to provide their dogs with the required social environment to avoid common problem behaviours developing. Prevention is always better than cure. 


Course Details:

  • 8 Module Course – intensive study over 3 months.
  • Students are assessed on assignment work which accounts for 70% of the marks. Practical assessments account for 30%
  • Course starts Saturday, 5 September 2020


– Course dates:
– 5, 12 and 19 September
– 3,10 and 17 September
– 31 October, 7, 14 and 21 November

  • Venue: Practical Sessions – Execupaws, 17 Main Road, Riverbend.  Less than 4kms from Fourways, Lanseria and Northriding.
  • Venue: Webinars – your home.
  • Time: Saturdays 1pm -4pm



  • Course fee – R8400.00(VAT Exclusive) includes registration, certification, 8 modules and practical lessons.
  • Payment options: Upfront or paid off over two months.
  • Course fee – R8400.00(VAT Exclusive) includes registration, certification, 8 modules and practical lessons.
  • Payment options: Upfront or paid off over two months.

R1000 non-refundable deposit is required upfront to confirm your booking + (Installment option – R4330 paid by 5 September and R4330 paid by 3 October 2020.)

Please note that all Covid-19 Prevention and Mitigation protocols will be strictly adhered to.

You will be required to sign a Covid-19 register and allow us to take your temperature.  You will be required to wear a mask at all times and to sanitize upon entering and exiting.  If you are showing any symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19 you will not be allowed to enter the grounds. We will not be offering any refreshments, please bring your own.


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