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Course Content

Core Units of Study

VU22881 Apply the Principles of Psychology to Modify Canine Behaviour

During this unit of study, students will discover the principles of learning and conditioning as well as the application of these concepts in dog training. It requires students to identify how dogs think and what motivates their behaviour. With this knowledge in hand, students are able to select appropriate training techniques in order to maximise canine learning. The study of animal psychology and the application of proven scientific principles is the only truly humane and effective way of modifying a dog’s behaviour.

Areas of study include:

  • Psychology of behaviour
  • Intelligence and learning
  • Instrumental learning
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Socialisation and desensitization
  • Counter Conditioning
  • Factors effecting learning

VU22882 Investigate and Assess Canine Behaviour

Regardless of whether we are training dogs in obedience or dealing with behavioural problems, it is critical that we assess a dog correctly in order to determine the most appropriate course of action. During this unit of study students will learn how to correctly investigate the behaviour and perform thorough behaviour and temperament assessments.

Many trainers and handlers concentrate on performance without reflecting very much on the means of communication between person and dog. Students’ education in the area of canine communication, behaviour systems and instincts, will enable them to become a trainer / handler who is in tune with his or her dog.

This unit also traces the evolution and development of dogs from their ancient ancestors through to our modern breeds. It details the relationship of wolves and their influence on the behaviour of domestic dogs.

Areas of study include:

  • Assessing canine behaviour
  • Sensory capacities of the dog
  • Canine communication and body language
  • Instinctive behaviour
  • Critical periods of development
  • Group and breed profiles
  • Evolution of the dog

VU22883 Conduct Dog Obedience Training

This unit teaches students the golden rules used by dog trainers, for teaching simple tasks, through to teaching complex behaviours. It gives them the necessary background to train dogs in a successful, safe and responsible manner.

The NDTF does not teach one set method of training. We aim to give students the basic principles behind a variety teaching methods, the advantages and disadvantages for each, and students can then go on to apply their preferred training technique.

This unit also contains a practical, ‘hands-on’ component of the course, covering the training of adult dogs and puppies in all facets of obedience. Students be educated in the use of a variety of different training equipment and will have the opportunity to work with numerous dogs of all breeds and ages. All training is conducted under the guidance and supervision of highly qualified and experienced trainers.

Areas of study include:

  • Aims of training
  • Training concepts and principles
  • General rules of dog training
  • Phases of training
  • Reinforcement and punishment
  • Equipment use and fitting
  • Obedience practical handling

VU22884 Manage Common Canine Behaviour Problems

Dogs exhibit a wide variety of undesirable behaviour ranging from the digging of holes and excessive barking, through to fear and unwanted aggression. This unit not only deals with solving these issues but also gives students an understanding of the underlying causes. As well as dealing with existing problems, this unit focuses on the education of dog owners, the promotion of responsible dog ownership and the raising of confident, balanced family pets.

During this elective we feature Australia’s leading Veterinary Behaviourist, Dr Robert Holmes.

Areas of study include:

  • Common canine behaviour problems
  • Causes and treatment options
  • Fear, anxiety and aggression
  • Leadership and dominance
  • Separation related behaviour

VU22885 Monitor Canine Health and Welfare

This unit is not designed to make students Veterinarians or professional canine health consultants; it is included in the course to give them basic background knowledge in canine health care and the common ailments of dogs.

The prevention of illness and disease is paramount for canine welfare and students will learn how to recognise signs of ill-health and determine where veterinary care is required.

Instruction in this unit is conducted by highly qualified and experienced veterinary surgeons.

Areas of study include:

  • Canine health
  • Anatomy and structure
  • Vaccination and worming protocols
  • Canine infectious diseases
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Common health conditions

VU22886 Teach Dogs Complex Skills (Core- Pre-Requisite)

This unit goes far beyond teaching the principles of basic obedience handling. It is designed to give students the necessary skills to teach dogs advanced skills and tricks. These skills may be required in film or television, or may be used to challenge one’s dog training expertise.

The knowledge gained will not only enable students to teach the skills, but to problem solve and make their training both a pleasure and a success. During this elective we feature Australia’s leading animal trainer, Steve Austin.

Areas of study include:

  • Training complex behaviours
  • Dog tricks
  • Target training
  • Shaping and chaining behaviour
  • Problem solving in training

ACMWHS201 Participate in Workplace Health and Safety Processes

When working in the kennel environment and participating in the training of dogs, personal safety as well as that of colleagues, is a constant priority. During this unit students will learn how to follow workplace procedures regarding hazard identification and risk control, observe safe practices during work operations and participate in arrangements for maintaining the health and safety of the workplace.

Areas of study include:

  • Hazard identification
  • Risk minimisation
  • Maintaining a safe work environment
  • Personal protection and safety

ACMGAS206 Provide Basic First aid for Animals

This unit is conducted in conjunction with Monitor Canine Health Care and is in no way designed to replicate the expertise of a Veterinarian or a professional canine health consultant.

During this unit students will learn the skills to enable them to respond to a range of acute medical conditions or injuries commonly seen in dogs. Students will discover the basic techniques that are required to stabilise a dog’s condition so that they can be transferred to a Veterinary Clinic for treatment.

Areas of study include:

  • Maintaining personal safety
  • Conditions requiring first aid
  • Stabilising dogs for transport
  • Transporting an injured dog


VU22887 Train Dogs for Basic Assistance Roles

This elective is for students wishing to teach canines the basic skills that would be required to perform assistance roles for people with disabilities or special needs.

Areas of study include:

  • People requiring assistance
  • Dog selection
  • Puppy Raising
  • Stages of training
  • Roles performed by assistance dogs
  • Practical training of assistance skills

VU22888 Train Dogs for Basic Substance Detection

This elective is for students wishing to teach canines basic skills that would be required for the detection of substances such as plant materials, meat, tobacco, etc. Students will learn about the olfactory capabilities of the dog, as well as various training techniques to teach a dog to detect a given substance.

During this elective students receive instruction from one of Australia’s leading operational Substance Detection Dog trainers who is currently working with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

Areas of study include:

  • Theory of scent
  • Olfactory capabilities of the dog
  • Training methods and techniques
  • Forms of indication
  • Rewards systems
  • Practical training of substance detection skills

VU22889 Tracking and Trailing

This elective is for students wishing to teach canines basic skills that would be required in the techniques of tracking and trailing. Students will learn about the olfactory capabilities of the dog, as well as various training techniques to teach a dog to follow a basic track.

Areas of study include:

  • Theory of scent
  • Olfactory capabilities of the dog
  • Training methods and techniques
  • Laying a basic track.
  • Practical training of tracking and trailing skills

ACMCAS410 Conduct Companion Animal Training Classes

The ability to handle and train a dog is a very different skill to instructing obedience classes. This elective is designed for those persons wanting to conduct group classes. Students will be trained in the conduct of all levels of obedience classes, agility work, socialisation and puppy classes. The practical ‘hands-on’ component of this unit is conducted in a simulated or actual class environment.

Areas of study include:

  • Theory of Class Instruction
  • Obedience Class Structure
  • Communication Skills
  • Methods of Instruction
  • Group Organisation
  • Catering for Different Abilities

ACMSPE316 Provide general care of domestic dogs

This elective is for students wishing to gain insight and to further their skills, in the general running procedures of boarding and training kennels. This unit will be completed at a Boarding and Training facility allocated by the NDTF and will give students valuable ‘hands-on’ experience in the care of dogs.

Areas of study include:

  • Kennel Design and Structure
  • Cleaning and Disease Prevention
  • Maintaining Safety
  • Food Preparation
  • Basic Grooming and bathing
  • Performing Daily Health Inspections
  • Administration of Medication
  • Canine welfare in the kennel environment

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