This course is accredited as a Continual Professional Development course by the South African Veterinary Council.

SAVC CPD  ACCREDITED: CPD points for SAVC accredited courses are only  valid for qualified veterinarians and           para-veterinary personnel in South Africa.

A certificate course for Vets, Vet nurses, dog trainers and in fact anyone starting off in the Animal Behaviour and Training world who would like to know more about dogs, the human/canine relationship and training.

This course will equip you to run exceptional puppy and dog training classes.

Students with no prior experience in this field may enrol for this course.

Students can enrol at any time.

Our understanding of canine behaviour and the various relationships that we enjoy with our dogs is advancing rapidly. This constantly updated course is designed to provide the very latest information for those keen to study dogs and apply their new understanding in a professional capacity.

For example, what makes a successful dog training class? Fulfilling what the owners want – a sociable and well- trained dog where both get the very best out of the relationship.

Introduction to Canine Behaviour and Training

If you want to know…

  • Basic, essential dog training techniques; the core of any successful class.
  • How to motivate owners.
  • How to run successful puppy and dog training classes.
  • How to accommodate special needs dogs or owners into your training classes.

If you are already running a training class, or thinking of starting one, then this course is for you. Packed full of fresh and practical techniques, advice and ideas that cut to the quick of running great dog training classes, this course will give you the resources you need to kick-start your business.

This twelve or fifteen-month course can be completed by anyone who wants to gain an insight into how to structure and run successful dog training classes.



Unit 1:

We explore the history of man’s relationship with dogs through the ages. This includes a comprehensive study of different breeds and types of dogs, their domestication, and original function as working dogs, as well as the subsequent changes occurring due to selective breeding and the impact this is having on modern dogs and owners. This unit also explores the pet’s physical and behavioural development, as well as the impact crucial early learning has on their overall behaviour.  We discuss dominance – the myths, the misconceptions and the damage this old-fashioned belief system wreaks on the emotional well-being of our companion animals.

Unit 2:

In Unit 2 we investigate the importance of training – including focusing on important questions like why people should do training, the various details involved in establishing not only the type of class, but also the training methods employed as well as why motivational training is fast becoming the preferred technique applied. This unit also focuses on important practical aspects such as choosing a venue, home visits vs. class training, puppy vs. adult training, etc. and safety considerations in all the aspects of practical dog training.

Unit 3:

Unit 3 focuses on the owners and their role in training and behaviour modification. We explore various teaching and learning styles, and how to ensure that the client’s needs are fulfilled.  This unit also includes how to assess dogs and deal with special dogs as well as owner expectations and use motivation and progression to accomplish your goals in both the class and private training lesson scenarios.

Unit 4:

This unit addresses how dogs learn and factors affecting learning.  Learning theory, Clicker training and the effects of diet on behaviour are considered. Basic neurophysiology (the study of nervous system functions) forms part of this in-depth unit.  Here, the student is also introduced to the subject of Emotionality – the foundation aspect of COAPE’s unique and leading approach to behaviour therapy.

Unit 5:

Training vs. Behaviour is the focal point of this unit. We discuss difficult dogs and difficult owners as well as various techniques of dealing with both in a training and behaviour scenario.  We touch on the extremely complicated subject of aggression and students get their first set of case histories to evaluate and process.

Unit 6:

Unit 6 comprises a study on 8 dogs, about which full details are given, the student needs to bring together everything learned in the course so far to discuss the motivations for, and what is now maintaining the various behaviours, as well as how the owners have perceived the instructions given.

Unit 7:

This unit comprises a Special Study where the student arranges to assist a client with an adult dog who has a basic behaviour problem, things like jumping up, barking, digging. The student will then write up a report detailing the problem behaviour, how they are proposing to modify it and the progress made. (NOTE No aggression cases are allowed at this level.)



Consists of 3 units – one per month:

Month 1: Assessing the adult dog in a shelter environment/assessing a friends adult pet dog (not your own dog. The student is given a practical self-study assignment to assess the role of the environment on behaviour and evaluate the dog, based on what has been learned in the course.

Month 2: Training a shelter dog/a friends pet dog. The student is encouraged to select a suitable dog to train, either an untrained pet dog or a dog in the care of the shelter. The student will be expected to monitor and report on the dog’s progress.

Month 3: Changing Behaviour – Students can select a dog from a shelter/ a friends pet dog that is exhibiting a problem behaviour, to work with, over a period of one month.

The student’s assignment will include designing and implementing a basic behaviour modification program to meet the specific needs of that individual animal with an end view of decreasing the problem behaviour and thus making the pet dog fit in better at home.  

With the effects of the Pandemic, we have added an option for each of the practical units, to ensure the safety of our students. We have put together some video clips which cover the same topics for you to analyse. This option has proved so popular that it will remain an option for the practical units, even after Covid is finally a thing of the past.


One of the things we at COAPE pride ourselves on, is keeping up to date with the latest developments in the fields of Animal Behaviour and Training and passing this latest information on to our students. So, we are in the process of updating the DogWise course this year, it will be changing in probably the latter half of the year, in terms of delivery, but any content  changes will be incorporated into existing students’ course material. So if you enrol before the official update don’t worry, you will still be getting the most up to date information on your course.



  • Learn how to successfully run a dog training facility, including information about the administrative side of a dog school.
  • Understand your dog better and learn how to improve your relationship through positive reinforcement.
  • The successful completion of DogWise qualifies you to enrol for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.




  • Carla Van Rooyen
  • Tracey Manthey
  • George van Huyssteen
  • Renee Venter
  • Taryn Joshua

Course Type:
Correspondence online.

Course Format:

Each Unit of the course notes is e-mailed out to students as a separate e-Book.

The coursework for this course is conveniently completed online. We supply you with a specially designed Assignment Workbook to assist you in completing the components of the coursework, so you can use your own computer and preferred word processing software. You will then submit these completed assignments to COAPE International via the internet, they are marked and returned back to you the same way.  

We host live tutoring sessions for students, which are then available as recordings if the student is unable to attend.

Students also have access to a very active private WhatsApp group plus a dedicated COAPE DogWise Student Facebook page to encourage networking as well as being a place where additional support is available.

Course Duration:

The duration of the course is 12 or 15 months, depending on the option you choose. Both options can be completed in a shorter time frame, however the maximum time allowed for a student to complete the course is either 15 or 18 months, depending on the course option you choose.

Students can enrol for this course at any time, A new DogWise Group begins the 2nd Wednesday of every month and the student is given various start dates to select from, this is when the course notes and Assignments are sent out.


Reading List:

Please note that there is a required reading list which you will receive once you have enroled. The price of the books is NOT INCLUDED in the course fee. It is the student’s responsibility to source and obtain the books. A number of the books are available on Amazon Kindle or e-Book, which may prove more cost effective.


Abilities Required for This Course:

  • This course contains practical assessment activities which involve sight, hearing observation and physical interactions/handling skills.
  • Students must be computer literate, have the use of a computer with internet access and be able to operate basic programs such as Microsoft Word.
  • A good command of the English language is essential.


Pricing & Enrolment