+27 (0)10 006 0193 / +27 (0)83 407 1316

Canine Behaviour and Training Instructor’s Diploma

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. 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.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will run live webinar (Zoom) lessons for theory and meet at the venue for the practical sessions with the dogs.

The Virtual option is open to students who do not live near one of the venues and the practical exams are delivered via video submissions.  The Virtual option requires that the student has a dog of their own to work with.

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 Canine Behaviour would be necessary to specialise.


The CBTI DIP requires the following criteria:

  • You have some practical experience with dogs.
  • You can commit to sessions over 3 months – see dates and times below.
  • You can attend physical classes – see details below unless you join the Virtual course.
  • 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: Windows 7-10 or Mac OS x, Internet connection – broadband or wireless (3g or 4g/LTE), speakers and microphone, webcam, or built-in.


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?


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. Canine Form and Function
  • Understanding what form and function are
  • Canine sight
  • Canine hearing
  • Canine olfaction
  • Canine taste
  • Canine touch
  • How different breeds originated
  • The difference between natural selection and artificial selection
  • Hound Group
  • Terrier Group
  • Gundog Group
  • Utility Group
  • Toy Group
  • Working Group
  • Pastoral Group


  1. Avoiding Problem Behaviour
  • The thinking behind this module is to equip students with the ability to provide dogs with the required social environment to avoid common


  1. Defining Aggression
  • Introduction to canine aggression
  • Defining aggression in human terms
  • Social communication
  • Can aggression be thought of as a natural and/or beneficial behaviour?
  • Selective breeding and its influence on behaviour
  • Nature /Nurture Debate
  • Group dynamics
  • Social behaviour
  • The dog’s expressive body language
  • The need for understanding body language
  • Stress levels contributing to aggression
  • Calming signals and displacement behaviour
  • Are there any circumstances where aggression is appropriate?



Course Details:
Venue: Dates: Times: Address:
Cape Town September: 4,11,18 and 25

October 2, 16, 23 and 30

November 6 and 20th

Saturday 2pm – 5pm Webinar or Vista Nova Highschool, Loerie Ave, Pinelands, Cape Town, 7405
Johannesburg September 4, 11 and 18

October 2, 9, 16 and 30

November 6, 13 and 27

Saturday 9am – 12pm Webinar or The Links Bridge Club, 147 10th Street, Linksfield, 2192
Pretoria September 4, 11 and 18

October 2, 9, 16 and 30

November 6, 13 and 27

Saturday 12pm – 3pm Webinar or 894 Halse Street, Wingate Park, Pretoria, 0153
Durban August 28

September 4, 11 and 25

October 2, 16, 23 and 30

November 13 and 27

Saturday 2pm – 5pm Webinar or Kloof Scout Hall, 13 Buckingham Road, Kloof, Durban, 3610
Virtual September 3, 10 and 17

October 1, 8, 15 and 29

November 5, 12

Friday 4pm – 7pm Webinar


8 Module Course – intensive study over 3 months.

  • Students are assessed on weekly assignments, 2 projects and a practical obedience exam at the end of the course. Every module must be passed as well as the practical examination to gain the diploma. We require strict compliance with attendance of students to qualify for the diploma at the end of the course.


  • R9660 (Practical course) or R8000 (Virtual) excluding VAT


Payment options:

  • Upfront for the whole course or


  • Installment option – (Practical course)
    • R1000 non-refundable deposit is required upfront to confirm your booking when registering
    • R5054.5 paid by 28 August 2021
    • R5054.5 paid by 1 October 2021
  • Installment option – (Virtual course)
    • R1000 non-refundable deposit is required upfront to confirm your booking when registering
    • R4100 paid by 28 August 2021
    • R4100 paid by 1 October 2021


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 always wear a mask 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 join at that time. We will not be offering any refreshments, please bring your own. We are able to run this course up to Lockdown level 3.

Contact: 083 407 1316 / 010 006 0193

Email: cbti@petsensecollege.co.za



Download Cape Town CBTI Enrolment Form

Download Durban CBTI Enrolment Form

Download Johannesburg CBTI Enrolment Form

Download Pretoria CBTI Enrolment Form

Download Virtual CBTI Enrolment Form