Thinking Pets - Training Excellence

CO1: DogWise – Stage 1

The following courses are ideal for anyone who wishes to further their study of the science of animal psychology and behaviour and will help students on their journey towards becoming qualified companion animal behaviourists. Students with no prior experience in this field may also enrol for these courses.

Students may enrol at any time.

This course is recognised by the ABC SA.


In South Africa, this course is SAVC CPD ACCREDITED: 30 structured points for the 9 month course and 40 structured points for the 12 month course. CPD points for SAVC accredited courses are only valid for qualified veterinarians and para-veterinary personnel.

An advanced 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 assist you in running exceptional puppy and dog training classes.

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.

DogWise - Stage 1

Introduction to Canine Behaviour and Training
DogWise – Stage 1

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


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 module 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.

In Unit 2 we investigate the importance of training – including focusing on important questions like why one 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 module 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 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 module 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.

This module 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.

Training vs. Behaviour is the focal point of this module. 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 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.



Consists of 3 modules – one per month:

Month 1: Assessing
 Assessing the adult dog in a shelter environment OR assessing a friend’s 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 thus far.

Month 2: Training
 Training a shelter dog OR a friend’s 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 throughout the program.

Month 3: Changing Behaviour
 Students can select a dog from a shelter to work with OR a friend’s pet dog that is exhibiting problem behaviour, to work with over a period of one month. (NOTE: NO AGGRESSIVE DOGS ARE TO BE USED FOR THIS MODULE). 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 increasing a shelter dog’s chances of adoption into a permanent home, or by decreasing the problem behaviour making the pet dog fit in better at the home.


  • 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.
  • If the student is a veterinarian or veterinary nurse in South Africa, this course qualifies for either 30 or 40 SAVC structured CPD points (depending on the course option chosen). This course will give the student more detailed insight into basic dog behaviour and training, which will benefit the practice and clients.
  • Students who successfully complete the course with a final mark of 50% or above automatically fulfil the qualification requirements to enrol for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour. If the final course mark is below 50% students are further required to successfully complete the DogWise Stage 2 course prior to qualifying to enrol for the Diploma in Animal Behaviour.


Tutors & Markers:

  • Karin Pienaar (Landsberg)
  • Wendy Wilson

COAPE has a team of qualified Markers who mark student’s assignments in order to ensure complete impartiality. These assignments are randomly moderated by a qualified Moderator to ensure consistency in the marking standard worldwide.

Course Type:
Correspondence on-line.

Course Format:

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

We supply you with a specially designed ‘template’ on-line to assist you in writing your coursework using your own computer and preferred word processing software. Your coursework is submitted to the COAPE offices via the internet, marked and returned back to you the same way.

Course Duration:

The duration of the course is 9 or 12 months, depending on the option you chose. You can enrol for this course any time of the year.

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

Course with Practical Pricing

Course Excluding Practical Pricing

Don’t forget to enquire about our affordable monthly payment plans, make your dream course a reality!


Please note that there is a required reading list which you will receive once you have enrolled and paid the deposit. 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 Readers, which may prove more cost effective.

For all COAPE Course enquiries, please contact Wendy Wilson: [email protected] or [email protected]

Wendy Wilson
[email protected]

[email protected]