Animal Behaviour Course Online

From: $50.00 Inc GST / week for 16 weeks



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In this online animal behaviour course you will learn to understand why animals behave the way they do. This course was written due to the demand from adult learners who want to understand animal behavior but don’t want to commit to an expensive and long term degree to do so.  Learn to understand difficult behaviour and techniques on how to deal with it. This is a very useful qualification for anyone working with animals or for someone wishing to set up their own business. Learn about the different influences on animal behaviour such as genetics, biology, environmental influences, the part played by instinct and the difference in behaviour in domesticated versus wild populations.

What is Ethology?

The study of animal behaviour (ethology) is of obvious importance in the practice of training animals especially in considering their natural behaviour and how it may be suitable for specific tasks. Additionally, understanding animal behaviour contributes to animal training by means of understanding how to encourage desirable natural behaviour and discourage behaviour traits that are undesirable.

Who is this Animal Behavior Course For?

Careerline’s Animal Behaviour course online is suitable for anyone interested in/or working with animals, trainers, pet carers, pet shop workers, zoo keepers and so on.   If you want to study more, check out our bundle of four animal psychology courses and get this course plus equine behaviour, dog psychology and cat training modules at a discounted rate.

What you will do:

  • Identify factors affecting animal behaviour.
  • Describe the influence of genes on animal behaviour.
  • Explain how animals perceive and how they respond to various stimuli.
  • Explain the influence of environment factors, such as circadian rhythms, on biological clocks, reproductive cycles, orientation and other animal behaviours.
  • Explain the social influences on animal aggression, play, sexual behaviour, communication and other behaviours.
  • Describe different ways that animals learn (such as conditioning and habituation) and some effects of learning on behaviour.
  • Discuss psychological implications of different handling techniques.
  • Identify abnormal animal behaviour (eg. psychotic, neurotic behaviour) and ways to reduce dependence on humans

Detailed Course Outline

This course is made up a number of lessons or units. Each having self assessment questions, set tasks (practical homework), and an assignment which you can upload online.

There are 8 Lessons in this course:

1. Introduction: Influences and motivation

    • What is behaviour.
    • Causes of behaviour (e.g. genetics, learning, external and internal influences).
    • Reactive, active and cognitive behaviour.
    • Conditioning.

2. Genetics and Behaviour

    • Understanding biology.
    • Natural selection.
    • Genetic variation.
    • Development of behaviour.
    • Behavioural genetics.

3. Animal Perception and Behaviour

    • How animals perceive things.
    • What stimulates them and how do those stimuli function.
    • Instinct.
    • Neural control.
    • Sensory processes, sight, sound, hearing etc.

4. Behaviour and the Environment

    • Coordination.
    • Orientation.
    • Homeostasis.
    • Acclimatisation.
    • Circadian rhythms.
    • Biological clocks.
    • Reproductive cycles etc.

5. Social Behaviour

    • Animal Societies.
    • Aggression.
    • Social constraints.
    • Social order.
    • Play.
    • Biological clocks.
    • Communication.

6. Instinct and Learning

    • Conditioning and learning.
    • Extinction and habituation.
    • Instrumental learning.
    • Reinforcement.
    • Operant behaviour.
    • Biological and cognitive aspects of learning

7. Handling Animals

    • Psychological affects of different handling techniques.
    • Training animals (horses, cats, dogs, etc.).
    • The student has a choice of which types of animals to focus on, though a variety will still be covered.

8. Behavioural Problems

    • Abnormal behaviour (e.g. psychotic, neurotic).
    • Domestication of animals.
    • Reducing human contact.
    • Reducing human dependence.

When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It’s okay if you don’t want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.


Your Tutor

Dr. Karin Dreyer-Haasbroek B.V.S. M.Sc. (Parasitology)
Karin Haasbroek

Karin’s love and passion for animals stem from growing up on a farm in South Africa. After gaining her Veterinary Science degree she worked in mixed general practice while completing a master’s degree in Veterinary Parasitology. Living and working in South Africa exposed Karin to a vast range of experiences in the clinical veterinary field: treating patients ranging from marmoset monkeys to lions to the everyday cat, dog or horse. Two years as a Laboratory Vet resulted in helping farmers tackling livestock health problems in a variety of farm production systems. Since her move to Western Australia with her family, Karin has been working in a small animal practice.

During her 20 years as a vet, she has been involved in several research projects and the tutoring of students in various fields of animal science. She enjoys mentoring students and sharing her knowledge and she loves helping students flourish and realise their full potential.