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Animal Behaviour and Psychology- Short Course

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Sneak Peek


Learn to decode animal behaviour and improve your animal management skills with this self paced 20 hour course!

How do horses show fear? What's the difference in horse perception and dog perception? Why are some animals so keyed to changes in smell?

This is a self paced 20-hour course to help you understand the biological foundations of how animals think and act. Learning the differences between innate, native, and conditioned behaviours, you'll build a solid understanding of how to work with your animals rather than against them. Understanding animal communication -- and the differences between communication and language -- will also help you interpret emotional responses, needs, and more. Excellent for wildlife workers and rehabilitators, trainers, agriculturalists, vet assistants, pet care workers, and more.

Our 20 hour courses are self paced and will help you understand a topic in a short amount of time. You can work through the course when you like- test yourself with mini-tests along the way. There are extra case studies or research you can undertake if you would really like to get into the topic. Once you have completed the lessons and self assessment tasks, there is a final exam undertaken online- you can then download your personalised certificate.

Course Content: What do you learn?


This course has eight lessons. Each lesson has a corresponding online self-assessment test.

Lesson 1: Introduction to Animal Behaviour

Interpreting Animal Behaviour

Descriptions of Animal Behaviour

Factors that Influence Behaviour

Additional Reading (Goats, Cats, Dogs)


Lesson 2: Animal Perception and Cognition










Additional Reading (Animal Perception, Types of Stimuli)


Lesson 3: Innate or Native Behaviours

Innate Behaviours


Fixed Action Patterns

Innate Releasing Mechanisms

Ritualised Behaviours


Feeding Behaviour

Other Eating and Drinking Adaptations



Biological Rhythms

Sexual Behaviour


Additional Reading (Feeding Cats, Dog and Cat Obesity, Sexual Behaviour, What Animals Eat)


Lesson 4: How Animals Learn

What is the Point of Learning?

Types of Animal Learning

Environment and Learning

How Instincts and Learnt

Behaviour are Related

Animal Attachments

Animal Parenting

Additional Reading (Why Animals Learn, Equine Behaviour, Conditioning)


Lesson 5: Specific Types of Animal Behaviour


Social Behaviour




Additional Reading (Social Behaviours, Horse Temperament, Aggression in Dogs)


Lesson 6 How Animals Communicate


What is Communication?

Types of Animal Communication

Do Animals Understand Human Language?

How Animals Communicate

Additional Reading (Communication in Dogs, Understanding Cat Behaviour)


Lesson 7 Animal Mentality

Animal Intelligence

Animal Emotion

Animal Psychopathology

Additional Reading (Dog Depression, Bird Behaviour Problems, Five Ways to Ensure a Happy Pet)


Lesson 8 Managing Animal Behaviour

Our Need to Manage Animal Behaviour

Why Do We Domesticate Animals?

Canines - Managing their Behaviour

Felines - Domestic and Wild Cats

Equines - Training Horses

Cattle Training

Wild Animals in Captive Environments

Additional Reading (Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation, Dog Problems)


What is the point of animals learning?

Animals learn to exist independently. 

Animals can learn. A guinea pig will learn that it is about to be fed when its cage door opens. A cat learns that it is going to be fed when it hears the cat food box being opened. A dog learns that the noise of the leash or lead means it is going for a walk. These are examples of a simple form of learning - classical conditioning. In each case the animal has learnt to associate a particular stimulus with a particular outcome.
Some animals are also able to learn more complex tasks. Consider guide dogs who lead people with visual impairments through our busy and complex world.  But what do we mean by learning? This is not easy to answer. Some researchers argue that it is not possible to have a single, generalised definition of learning - but a general definition is any behaviour which is modified by experience. There are many different types of learning.



People live in a world filled with animals and we need to understand animal behaviour in order to better manage all sorts of situations, for example:

  • Pets can enhance the life of a person or family - especially if they behave in the way you desire. However, an uncontrollable pet can make life a misery.
  • Pest animals can at best become an inconvenience, and at worst, be destructive, transmit diseases and become a serious annoyance.
  • Domesticated farm animals can be more productive, and the farm easier to manage, if the animals behave the way you desire.
  • Some wild animals (e.g. large carnivores or animals that carry diseases) can be dangerous to human wellbeing and life.
  • Some feral animals can threaten wildlife.
  • Breeders of pets, threatened species, etc. need to understand sexual behaviour in order to better manage the reproduction and the offspring produced.
  • Zoo keepers need to understand animal behaviour in order to detect signs of health issues, to manage feeding, etc.
  • Wildlife photographers are better able to photograph wildlife when they understand animal behaviour.
  • Ecotourism operators need to understand animal behaviour in order to best plan and conduct tours.
  • Working dog trainers need to understand dog mentality to enable them to better train dogs for helping people who are blind, or who have hearing difficulties.
  • Horse trainers will use their understanding of animal behaviour to enable them to train their horses better.

Of course, there are many more reasons besides these. Understanding animals in any or all such situations can make their management far easier to control.

How does this course work?

You can enroll at any time.
Once you have paid for the course, you will be able to start straight away.
Study when and where you like. Work through at your own pace.

You can download your study-guide to your smart phone, tablet or laptop to read offline.

There are automated self-assessment tests you can complete at the end of each lesson. You can attempt these as many times as you wish and each time, upon completion, you can see your results. You will need internet access to complete the self assessment tests.

At the end of the course, you are presented with a large assessment which can be attempted online, anywhere, anytime. If you achieve a 60% pass in the exam; you immediately receive a downloadable certificate of completion with your name on it. If you do not achieve a 60% pass rate, you can contact us to re-sit your exam. ( email- )

Contact us at anytime if you have any issues with the course.


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Animal Behaviour and Psychology- Short Course Animal Behaviour and Psychology- Short Course
$220.00 In stock