Dog Psychology and Training

Duration (approx)

100 hours


Statement of Attainment

Dog Psychology and Training

Learn How Dogs Think.

Working dogs are commonly used on all sorts of farms; from herding livestock, to deterring predators and trespassers.

The key to getting the most from a working dog is to understand the animal, appreciate how its mind works differently to the human mind, and develop techniques for controlling the dogs behaviour in the way you need to control it.
Understanding the Dog mind allows you to predict and manage its Behaviour

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of Canine Psychology
  2. Canine Senses
  3. Understanding Natural Canine Behaviour
  4. Canine Behavioural Development
  5. Canine Behavioural Disorders
  6. Basic Dog Training
  7. Dog Obedience Training
  8. Controlling a Dogs Movement
  9. Training Working Dogs

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe how canine animals think and discuss the relevance of understanding canine psychology to people.
  • Explain how canine animals communicate and formulate an understanding of possible ways that a human may communicate with a dog.
  • Understand behaviours that are natural and predictable in canines and learn to recognise and understand signals that dogs give.
  • Explain how dogs develop behavioural characteristics throughout stages of their life.
  • Describe commonly occurring behavioural problems in dogs.
  • Develop a program for training a new pet dog when it is brought into a household. • Explain how to train a dog to perform predetermined actions upon command.
  • Describe how the movement of dogs can be controlled, both through training and other methods.
  • Describe how dogs can be trained to perform tasks required as a working dog, including a sheep dog, tracking dog, blind dog or substance detection dog.

Dog Training Tips from the Course Tutors

Training is beneficial for both owner and dog. It will assist with obedience and toilet training and can be used to end undesirable behaviours. If you are purchasing a pure breed, research its temperament thoroughly first to ensure it is suitable for your home.  Behaviour has both genetic and learned components. Encourage good behaviours with positive reinforcement and avoid physical punishments, especially with more aggressive breeds.

Training by using treats and other positive enforcement such as praise consistently gets the best results as opposed to punishing a dog if it does not do what the owner wants it to. For example if you ignore the dog that constantly jumps up at you as a greeting but reward it with a treat as soon as it stops, it will soon learn that there is a definite advantage to not jumping up. This works better than constantly knocking the dog down as he sees this as a way of getting the owner’s attention and will continue to do it. The same principles of reward apply for all forms of training.

Puppies have short memories and attention spans and need to learn by repetition. Aim for short but frequent training sessions in the beginning (once daily is ideal as a minimum).  It is important to teach certain basic commands such as ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’ and how to walk on a lead without pulling. Training basic commands are particularly important for the control and safety of the owner and dog. Imagine a situation where there is busy traffic, having a well trained dog able to sit and stay calmly is important, whilst you may also be busy securing children into a vehicle at the same time.

Combinations of voice and hand signals are useful as then the dog can be controlled at a distance as well as close up. The best way to get a dog to come on a regular basis is to encourage it with a small food treat and a verbal cue. The dog will soon learn to associate coming to the owner with a reward. Never sound panicked and lose your temper when calling the dog as it will sense that something is wrong and will be less inclined to come back. It is a good idea to call the dog to you several times during a walk and not just when you are going to put the lead on otherwise it will soon associate returning to you with a loss of freedom.

Another way to reward your dog is by using a ‘clicker’. This is a metal strip inside a small plastic box that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. To teach a dog the meaning of the click, a treat is given immediately at the time of clicking. Once the dog learns the positive effects of the clicking sound, the clicker itself acts as a conditioned reinforcer, although edible treats should not be stopped completely otherwise the clicker will lose its effectiveness.

A dog should never be smacked as punishment, especially on the nose, as the dog’s sense of smell can be easily damaged by doing this. If a dog is punished, you must catch it in the act of wrong doing or it will not associate the punishment with the deed.  Do not expect too much too soon but persist. Particularly with large or aggressive breeds it is crucial you are dominant. Even with smaller dogs, lack of dominance by the owner can result in nuisance and even aggressive behaviours. Seek professional training for large or aggressive breeds or if you have dominance issues.


A properly trained farm dog is a huge asset to the farm – if you know how to handle dogs you may have a better chance of finding work on a farm.

If you own a farm and need dog handling skills then this is a great starting point.

Dog training skill are useful outside of farming too – both for your pets but also to train dogs correctly, dog training is a growing industry.

Enrol today!

Purchase this training below and we'll be in touch with your course material and next steps.