Basic Animal Behaviour: Dogs

Dear Prospective Student,

Thank you very much for enquiring about the Basic Dog Behaviour Course..

Drs. Hannes Slabbert (a veterinary ethologist) and Frédérique Hurly (a veterinary behaviourist) present this course.

The Basic Dog Behaviour Course is essentially done through correspondence. Most of the students who enrol for this course work full-time and the course is therefore designed to be done on a part-time basis.  Being a private company Ethology Academy is very flexible. As long as students communicate with us we are usually able to accommodate them in various ways should personal circumstances develop during the year making it difficult for them to continue with their studies and complete the course successfully.

The Basic Dog Course is recommended by both the South African Board for Companion Animal Professionals ( and the Animal Behaviour Consultants of South Africa ( The course is accredited for CPD at the South African Veterinary Council..

The Basic Dog Behaviour Course is a prerequisite for enrolling for the Advanced Behaviour and Management Course: Dogs presented by Ethology Academy.

The content of the Basic Behaviour course: Dogs is divided into four modules:
1. Introduction and approaches to the study of animal behaviour.
   • Ethological Approach
   • Experimental or instrumental approach. (This section deals with the way animals learn and the different conditioning techniques that are used in training of animals)
   • The developmental approach (Pre-natal – Ageing, development calendar, development of behaviour)
   • The Physiological approach (The nervous and endocrine systems as well as pheromones)
   • Social behaviour (Groups, relationships, factors influencing rank, social spaces and communication)
2. Problem behaviour and possible resolutions.
   • Contextual assessment
   • Assessment by classification of behaviour problems
   • Assessment of animal welfare
   • Assessment of responsible companion animal ownership
   • Indirect approach
   • Direct approach
   • Complementary therapies
   • A report for record purposes
3. Applied dog behaviour.
   • Genetic background ( domestication and breed traits)
   • Behaviour background
   • Most common behaviour problems ( like aggression, coprophagia, attention seeking and destructive behaviour, dogs that dig, and more)
4. Care and welfare of dogs including human-animal interaction, genetic selection for breed purposes, nutrition, exercise, training, social needs,     environmental enrichment, transport, hygiene and preventative measures, handling, breeding and housing facilities.

How the course is presented
After enrolling, the student receives all the study material via registered mail. Included will be a “Student Letter” and an “Exam letter” giving detailed information on every aspect of the course. Also included will be eight assignments (two on every module). Students will receive an electronic copy of the assignments that is to be used to submit the assignments via email.

The student will be expected to submit eight assignments during the period March to October.  The assignments will be marked and returned to the students. The marks obtained for the 8 assignments constitute the year mark, which will give the student entrance to write the final examination in November. The assignments do not count towards the final mark. The assignments are not difficult, because all the answers are in the notes. It should not take more than 2 – 3 hours to complete an assignment.

During the year 6 Webinars will be presented. The student is expected to take part in these webinars. They will be held on a week day evening, so that students that work full time can attend them.

Final evaluation:
A formal examination is scheduled for Saturday, 2 November 2019. It consists of a two-hour paper and the pass mark is 50%. To pass the exam requires a fair amount of studying and insight. Students are therefore advised to start well in advance with their examination preparation. Students will be able to sit for the exam at a venue in close proximity to where they live. Students who complete the course successfully will receive a certificate. Distinctions are awarded to students who pass with a mark of 75% or more.

The study material does not include information on specific breeds. You may want to purchase a book on breeds, but then ensure that the book pays attention to the typical temperament of the breed. Alternatively, some internet searching can provide you with that information as well!

The course is presented from February to November each year.  Registration for this course takes place from 2 January to 28 February 2019. Students may enrol earlier (in 2018) but the study material will only be posted as from the 2nd January 2019 and once proof of payment has been received. The course fee for a Basic Behaviour Course for 2019 is R 8 400. The fee includes the study material, assignments, attendance of the webinars and the evaluation fee.

How to enrol for this course:
Go to the website
  • Click on ‘Enrol"
  • Read the ‘Terms of Agreement
  • Complete and submit the enrolment form and financial agreement form if only the registration fee is paid when enrolling.
  • Pay the appropriate fee
  • Provide Dr Frederique Hurly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with confirmation of payment

If you have any further questions, please contact me by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Best regards
Dr Frederique Hurly
(Veterinary behaviour)
Course administrator, Ethology Academy.


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