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







Canine Behaviour and Training Instructors Diploma– Part-time Course

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.

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 mornings. 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.  Other methods are discussed so that students understand the implications of negative training methods.

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 morning 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.

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 Riverbend and 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, 6 July 2019
  • Class dates:
  • July 6,13,20 and 27
  • August 10,17 and 24
  • September 7 and 14
  • Venue: Execupaws, 17 Main Road, Riverbend.  Less than 4kms from Fourways, Lanseria and Northriding.
  • Time: Saturdays 9am to 12pm.


  • Course fee – R7900.00 includes registration, certification and 8 modules. The modules will be handed to students on the 1st day of class.

Payment option: Upfront or paid off over two months.  Half paid by the 4 May 2019 and the balance by end of  June 2019.

Download CBTI Enrolment form here

Pay Online

Feedback from our March 2018 class.

Did you enjoy the course?

I thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of the course.

Did you find the content relevant and up to date?

Yes. I feel so privileged to have gained all the insight and knowledge that this course provided. It has completely changed the way I think about dogs.

Did you enjoy the class presentations?

Yes. Everything was presented in such a way that it kept my attention. It was always interesting and I particularly liked the use of practical examples to help the students understand.

Was the lecturer clear and make classes enjoyable?

Celia is absolutely brilliant. She doesn’t just give you an answer but rather assists you to answer your own question by gently guiding you in the right direction. I would have done the online course at first but I am so happy that I ended up doing the practical one. Celia ensures that her students are stimulated and encourages them to take part in the class. She is very knowledgeable and very quickly became a role model to all of us.

What did you think about the practical lessons?

They were invaluable! Having the opportunity to bring my own dogs and actually learn practically how to work with them, changed the way I approach any dog but most importantly, it changed my relationship with my own dogs. Everyone who meets me with my dogs, comments on how well behaved they are usually in awe when they see the communication between us. The practical lessons can take a lot of credit for this.

Did you get enough support from the lecturer?

Celia always made herself available to answer our questions.

Did you cope with the workload?

Yes. It was just right. Any more might have been a bit daunting (for those who are working 9-5) and any less would have felt too easy.

Please add anything else you’d find useful for us to think about in future.

I loved everything about this course and I feel that every dog owner in the world should do this course. Obviously that is not possible but maybe if there were a one day course for people who are just interested in their relationship with their own dogs. That’s the only recommendation I can think of!



Thank you, Celia. Your passion for our furry friends shines through and inspires those around you! Thank you for fighting the good fight. I sincerely appreciate every bit of effort that you put into the class. I want to commend you for staying patient with the ‘slower’ students, there were a few times that I felt I would have lost it but you just continued to guide them in the right direction. You didn’t give up on any of your students and that is amazing. You really did change our views on dogs and you definitely helped improve the relationship between me and Django and Ozzy! I’m sure if they could thank you, they would!


Did you enjoy the course?                                        

– I loved the course. The information provide was so practical and understandable.

Did you find the content relevant and up to date?            

– Definitely. I was SO happy to learn that, that which people believed 30 years ago is now history! And hopefully buried.

Did you enjoy the class presentations?                  

– Presentations were well structured and applicable to each module

Was the lecturer clear and make classes enjoyable?        

– I loved the classes, Celia definitely made it enjoyable.

What did you think about the practical lessons?                

– I loved the practical’s, learnt a lot, different view to being a client going for dog training to presenting it.

Did you get enough support from the lecturer?                 

– Yes, Celia was always available to assist and answer questions. Thanks for the support.

Did you cope with the workload?                                            

– It was tough – having to work full time, having a family (both human & canine ), and doing rescue work, but I loved it and it was worth it.