Course Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

1. Nature and Scope of Canine Psychology
• A brief history of the canine evolution
• Self-domestication
• Canine industries

2. Canine Senses
• Understanding canine communication
• Sight
• Body Language
• Smell
• Sound
• Elimination Postures

3. Understanding Natural Canine Behaviour
• Social Structure
• Social Behaviour
• Aggression
• Clinical Problems
• Biological Rhythms
• Sleep
• Sexual Behaviour
• Maternal Behaviour
• Parturition
• Suckling and Weaning
• Eating and Drinking

4. Canine Behavioural Development • Nature or Nuture
• Sensitive Periods
• Neurological Development
• Canine Temperament Testing
• How Breeds Differ

5. Canine Behavioural Disorders
• Attention Seeking Behaviour
• Excessive barking
• Chewing
• Running away
• Chasing moving objects
• Begging
• Digging
• Separation anxiety
• Agression
• Phobias
• Excessive compulsive disorders
• Cognitive Dysfunction
• Calming a dog

6. Basic Dog Training • Forming habits
• Conditioning
• Classical Conditioning
• Operant Conditioning
• Socialisation
• House training
• The use of visual signals
• The use of voice commands
• The use of training aids

7. Dog Obedience Training
• Practical Training Techniques
• Recall
• Sit
• Stand
• Drop
• Leave
• Down
• Stay
• Heel
• Seek
• Retrieve
• Bark on Signal

8. Controlling a Dogs Movement
• Territorial nature of dogs
• Fencing
• Dog doors
• Kennels
• Exercise requirements
• Socialisation requirments
• Walking on a lead/leash
• Electronic barriers
• Microchips
• Pet Registration and Licensing
• Controlling Killing Wildlife

9. Training Working Dogs
• Training for scent discrimination or substance detection
• Training for retrieving
• Guarding
• Hearing dogs
• Hearding
• Tracking
• Controlling attacks on animals and people


Course Duration - 100 hours (plus 100 hours) 

Qualification - Statement of Attainment

Understanding Dog Psychology is Essential if You Live or Work with Dogs

In order to work well with dogs, it is vital that you have a thorough understanding of their basic behaviours. We cannot possible understand how a dogs thinks entirely, but we have studied canine behaviour to understand how dogs communicate with each other.  Dogs will communicate using sound, scent, facial expressions and body positions. Their sense of smell is their most highly refined sensory ability and they use scent as their major means of communication.

Use of Scent
When dogs respond to scent, they are actually responding to the chemical pheromones secreted in the scent. Pheromones are present in the dog’s saliva, faeces, urine, vaginal and preputial secretions, and in their anal, perianal and dorsal tail glands. The pheromones can influence immediate behaviour responses from other dogs, as well as long-term responses.

Pheromones communicate the dog’s social status, age, genetic relatedness, and its emotional and physiological state. When a dog sniffs the faeces and the anal regions of another dog it is finding out important information via the pheromones in the scent, including the other dog’s sex and sexual status.

Barking and other vocalisations are much less important for communication between dogs. They have five basic sounds:
1. Infantile sounds made by pups: crying, whimpering and whining
2. Warning sounds: barking and growling
3. Eliciting sounds: howling
4. Withdrawal sounds: yelping
5. Pleasure sounds: moaning

Domestication and breeding has accentuated sound as a means of communication. Wild dogs are much less vocal than pet dogs. Barking, crying and whining are common traits in pet dogs, partly because the dog’s alarm bark was one of the first traits that our ancestors selected for.

Howling is common in wild dogs and some breeds such as Dobermans, huskies and malamutes. In wild dogs it is used to assemble and coordinate spacing the pack members’ spacing in their territory.

Yelping is the most common withdrawal sound in dog. It communicates either distress or actual pain.
Facial and Body Signals
Emotions can usually (but not always) be identified by the dog’s facial and body signals. They use eye contact as a means of communicating authority. A dominant dog stares down less dominant ones and the submissive dog averts its gaze and exposes its neck.

What body signals mean: 

  • Calm – ears and tail are relaxed
  • Alert – ears and tail are up
  • Fear – crouched with tail between legs
  • Frightened – ears are flattened back, tail between legs
  • Abject submission – lying down, hind leg lifted, urinating
  • Aggressive – lips are pulled back and hackles, tail and rump are up
  • Increased aggressive – snarling with teeth exposed and a straight stance
  • Greeting – licking face, begging food, play bowing



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