Thinking Pets - Training Excellence

CO2: DogWise – Stage 2

The following course is 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 this course.

Students may enrol at any time.

CO2: Canine Behavioural Psychology

A course for owners, vets, vet nurses and other professionals wanting to develop their skills of interpretation of canine behaviour.

The vast majority of dog owners who have any kind of relationship or bond with their dog are naturally anthropomorphic. That is, they interpret the likely motivation and accompanying feelings, such as happiness or sadness, driving a particular aspect of their dog’s behaviour as if they were human.

As the saying goes ‘a dog is man’s best friend, while a cat is man’s best formal acquaintance’ but, beyond the bark, just how much do we really know about the mysterious inner workings of the mammalian mind?

DogWise - Stage 2

Canine Behavioural Psychology
DogWise – Stage 2

This course can be successfully completed by anyone who wants to take their understanding of the mammalian mind and behaviour a stage further. Each Unit of the course presents the facts in an accessible, jargon-free style that will help you unlock the mysteries of the inner workings of the mammalian mind and give you the information you need to enrich the relationship between you and your dogs.

C02 is the companion course to C01 DogWise. While C01 explores the nature of the dog in the context of training and as a pet, in C02 we explore canine psychology and the intricate mental processes behind all canine behaviour. This course is an ideal course in canine behavioural psychology for students who are interested in a career in veterinary medicine and other professionals in preparation for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.


We start the course with an in-depth study into the components that make up the canine/mammalian brain and how they work together. A grounding in basic brain anatomy and physiology forms the bedrock on which the other Units of this course are built.

In Unit 2 we investigate learning and how it works in pet dogs. Every dog owner can testify just how quickly their dog is able to learn something new, be it taught or something they picked up on their own, often quite inappropriately.  What actually happens in the brain when something is learnt? How can we best utilise the latest scientific information to make learning fun for dogs and for us?  These questions are answered in Unit 2.

Unit 3 addresses memory and its function. When individuals learn something, it has to be remembered and later recalled somehow. This is the job of memory. How does memory differ from learning? Do dogs remember events in the same way that we humans do? In Unit 3 we answer these questions and many more on the nature of canine memory, its strengths and its limitations.

From fertilised egg to fully functional adult dog and on through to old age. We chart the dog’s journey through life exploring the critical points of development. We find out why these developmental stages are important and what actually happens inside the dog’s brain that makes the difference between a well-balanced, sociable dog, and an unruly, antisocial problem dog.

The way a dog ‘sees’ the outside world is nothing more than a clever ‘trick’ played on him by his brain. The dog relies on his brain’s sensory systems to gather in, process, interpret and make sense of all the information, such as light, sound, smell, touch and taste bombarding his senses. The dog has inherited his predatory sensory systems from his ancient ancestor, the wolf. But selective breeding for function by humans over the last few thousand years has altered the dog’s senses to best suit his role working alongside man. Over the last few hundred years, dogs have been selectively bred for appearance leading to a huge diversity in shape and size across the different breeds. In this Unit, we explore how dogs perceive the outside world and the variation across the various breed types.

In this final Unit, the student will draw on everything learned in the previous 5 Units to answer the questions asked in this module: Can we ever know how dogs really think? The quest to answer this question is fascinating, perplexing and highly controversial. Do they have an imagination? Can they think creatively? Can they think at all? We delve deep inside the dog’s mind and explore the very foundations of emotions, consciousness, personality and intelligence. We also explore communication and language and gain insight into just how much we can expect our canine companions to comprehend, drawing a line where anthropomorphism is no longer an asset, but becomes an obstacle between owners and their dogs.

This final Unit of the course is where the student has the opportunity to design and undertake a research-based project of their own choice that will expand on their understanding of the dog’s mind. The student will be given lots of help and guidance along the way to make this Unit not only enlightening, but the most rewarding and satisfying module of them all.


  • Learn about the inner workings of the canine mind. C02 introduces students to mammalian neurophysiology and animal cognition through modern research conducted into this fascinating subject.
  • C02 is the perfect ‘breaching course’ for anyone who already has experience in the training or behaviour profession, in preparation for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
  • 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 1 course prior to qualifying to enrol for the Diploma in Animal Behaviour.



  • 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. Students also have access to the COAPE Student Resource Centre where additional support and course material are available online. The Resource Centre gives you access to a range of rich media content to complement the formal course.

Much of the coursework for this course is conveniently completed online. We also supply you with a specially designed ‘template’ to assist you in completing the components of the coursework that require more application and writing so you can use your own computer and preferred word processing software. You can then submit these components to the COAPE offices via the internet, which are marked and returned back to you the same way.

Course Duration:
 The duration of the course is 12 months and you can enrol at any time during 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

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]