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Animal Behaviour



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Study How Animals Think and Behave

Course Code: BAG203 | Nominal Duration: 100 hours 


  • Why animals behave well
  • Why animals behave badly
  • What behaviours are normal and what are abnormal
  • How different types (species and even breeds) behave differently.


Animals are complex. Dogs and cats behave differently and must be managed accordingly. Animals are intelligent in their own way, but they are not humans, and it is a mistake to think of a pet as being too much like a human - even though we are often tempted to do so.

When you appreciate the differences between animal and human behaviour, you are in a much better position to understand and manage your pets.

This course expertly leads students to:

  • review simple to complex types of learning in animals
  • acknowledgment of how they understand their world
  • review social animals as well as solitary species
  • understand how animals and humans can live together harmoniously
  • review of common psychological issues   


What's covered in this course? 

This course is comprised of eight lessons.

Lesson 1. Introduction: Influences and motivation

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

Lesson 2. Genetics and Behaviour

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

Lesson 4. Behaviour and the Environment

  • Coordination
  • Orientation
  • Homeostasis
  • Acclimatisation
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Biological clocks
  • Reproductive cycles etc
Lesson 5. Social Behaviour
  • Animal societies
  • Aggression
  • Social constraints
  • Social order
  • Play
  • Biological clocks
  • Communication

Lesson 6. Learning

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

Lesson 7. Handling Animals

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

Lesson 8. Behavioural Problems

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


What you will learn!

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


Who might Benefit from this Course

1. Pet owners -to understand more about your animal

2. Job Seekers - seeking to start a dream job working with animals

3. Pet Industry Workers/Professionals -to enhance careers or do a better job

This course provides a solid foundation upon which to build your knowledge with any end goal in mind. Use it to open doors to working in wildlife parks, nature reserves, farm work or as a veterinary assistant. Combine it with other studies or experiences to progress in this industry. 


What Next?

To be successful in an animal behaviour career, you need more than passion. You need persistence and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. You also need skills. If this describes you, we can help you to get a start in this industry. 

This course could lead to:

  • Work in a pet retail environment - many people in this industry lack deep knowledge of animals and their true needs.
  • Work self-employed as an animal behaviour consultant. 
  • Work in animal rescue or rehabilitation.
  • Work at animal boarding facility, or start your own boarding business. 
  • Become an animal advocate. 
  • Take a first step to further education.

Still undecided.... Talk with us today.

We have a friendly team dedicated to the industry and to students. We can answer questions and help you to solidify your plans. 

Email us at admin@acs.edu.au | Call us 07 5562 1088 

Looking for something else? Opt for an immediate download in the Animal Behaviour and Psychology a valuable and function 20-hour micro course to get you started! 

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Animal Behaviour Animal Behaviour
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