Upon completion of this course, each student will be able to competently train a dog or puppy to a basic standard of obedience and run effective and professional classes. This flagship course is suitable for anyone who would like to offer puppy socialisation classes, open a dog school, or provide private training lessons and manage basic behaviour problems.  Students are empowered to educate dog owners with a view for the dog to keep its furever home. This course is run over three months, via 1-on-1 online live classes by subject-specialists, combined with practical in-person classes, should you choose the in-person option. The course focuses on both behaviour and training, giving students valuable insight to ensure that they understand each dog, to maximise training effectiveness. Students will be required to bring a dog to practical training sessions, either their own dog, or else have access to one that they can work with outside of practical sessions. If the student does not have a suitable dog, then one will be provided. This college only supports the use of positive reinforcement.

The Virtual option is open to students who do not live near one of the venues and the practical exams are delivered via video submissions. The Virtual option requires that the student has a dog of their own to work with.

The PDT DIP requires the following criteria:

  • You have some practical experience with dogs.
  • You can commit to sessions over 3 months – see dates and times below.
  • You can attend physical classes – see details below unless you join the Virtual course.
  • You have additional time to read the subject specific literature and prepare your assignments.
  • You have a dog to work with on practical assignments at home.
  • Your computer needs the following requirements: Windows 7-10 or Mac OS x, Internet connection – broadband or wireless (3g or 4g/LTE), speakers and microphone, webcam, or built-in.

Course Modules

  •  Introduction to developmental psychology
  • The newborn puppy
  • Associative learning in the newborn puppy
  • Reflex actions
  • Initial development in the newborn puppy
  • The puppy’s vision
  • The puppy’s hearing
  • Lapping behaviour
  • Early experiences with semi-solid foods
  • The Nature/Nurture debate
  • The behaviour of the mother
  • Natural selection
  • Elimination behaviour in the newborn puppy
  • The behaviour of the father
  • The importance of play in the newborn puppy
  • Why do puppies play
  • The play bow
  • The role of hormones
  • Social development
  • Canine senses
  • Artificial selection
  • What is an adult dog?
  • Sexual maturity
  • Physical maturity
  • Psychological maturity
  • The dog as a predator
  • Instincts
  • Types of aggressive behaviour
  • The dog as a social animal
  • The structure of a pack
  • Personality expression
  • Vocalisation
  • Posture
  • Scent marking
  • Burying food
  • The elderly dog

  • What is meant by body language?
  • Personal space
  • Various types of body language
  • Faces and their expressions
  • What the mouth can convey
  • Staring
  • Yawning
  • Body postures
  • The confident dog
  • The shy dog
  • Distraction signals
  • The stress signal
  • Play
  • The play bow and play dance
  • The older dog and play
  • Tail language
  • Positions of the tail
  • Wagging

  • Charles Darwin’s biological adaptations
  • The nature verses nurture debate of learning
  • Environmental influences on behaviour
  • Canine learning
  • The parental influences on learning
  • Critical and sensitive periods of the puppy’s development
  • Classical conditioning
  • Chaining
  • Instrumental or operant conditioning
  • Reward and punishment in learning
  • Reinforcers and punishment in learning
  • Primary and secondary reinforcers
  • Reinforcement schedules
  • Shaping behaviour
  • Sensitisation
  • Cultural transmission
  • The importance of play
  • Insight learning
  • Habituation

  • Why train dogs?
  • The senses and training
  • Schedules of reinforcement
  • Primary and secondary reinforcers revisited
  • Choice of primary reinforce
  • Benefits of using positive reinforcement
  • Putting the theory into practice
  • Basic training of house training, the recall, the sit, sit/stand, down, watch and progressing
    to heel with problems and solutions. Impulse
    control, prevention of aggression over food and
    toys, leash management. Leave-it, take-it, give-it.
  • Puppy socialisation
  • Running classes
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using Clicker Training
  • Summary of training principles
  • Trainer skills

  • Understanding what form and function are
  • Canine sight
  • Canine hearing
  • Canine olfaction
  • Canine taste
  • Canine touch
  • How different breeds originated
  • The difference between natural selection and artificial selection
  • Hound Group
  • Terrier Group
  • Gundog Group
  • Utility Group
  • Toy Group
  • Working Group
  • Pastoral Group

  • The thinking behind this module is to equip
    students with the ability to provide dogs with
    the required social environment to avoid common

  • Introduction to canine aggression
  • Defining aggression in human terms
  • Social communication
  • Can aggression be thought of as a natural and/or beneficial behaviour?
  • Selective breeding and its influence on behaviour
  • Nature /Nurture Debate
  • Group dynamics
  • Social behaviour
  • The dog’s expressive body language
  • The need for understanding body language
  • Stress levels contributing to aggression
  • Calming signals and displacement behaviour
  • Are there any circumstances where aggression is appropriate?
Course Details:
Venue: Dates: Times: Address:
  Cape Town

Aug 31, Sep 7 & 14

Sep 28, Oct 5 and 12

Oct 26, Nov 2 and 9

2pm – 5pm (all classes)
Combination of live webinar classes and practical lessons at
Vista Nova Highschool, Loerie Ave, Pinelands, Cape Town, 7405

Aug 31, Sep 7 & 14

Sep 28, Oct 5 and 12

Oct 26, Nov 2 and 9

1pm-4pm (online classes)

8:30am-11am (practical classes)

Combination of live webinar classes and practical lessons at Mutt Club, 5 Bloemfontein street, Founders Hill, Modderfontein, 1645

  Virtual –

Online Only

Aug 31, Sep 7 & 14

Sep 28, Oct 5 and 12(Prac lessons)

Oct 26, Nov 2 and 9

2pm-5pm (online classes) 

9am-11am (practical online classes – June)



 Live On-line Classes only

8 Module Course – intensive study over 3 months.

  • Students are assessed on weekly assignments, 2 projects and a practical obedience exam at the end of the course. Every module must be passed as well as the practical examination to gain the diploma. We require strict compliance with attendance of students to qualify for the diploma at the end of the course. Students should have at least 4-6 hours available, during the week for assignments and projects.


  • R9660 (Practical course) or R8970 (Virtual) 

Payment options:

  • Upfront for the whole course (Includes booking fee) or
  • Installment option – (Practical course)
    • R1000.00 non-refundable booking fee is required upfront to confirm your registration.
    • R2887 paid by  30 Aug 2024
    • R2887 paid by 1 Oct 2024
    • R2886 paid by 1 Nov 2024
  • Installment option – (Virtual course)
    • R1000.00 non-refundable booking fee is required upfront to confirm your registration.
    • R2657 paid by 30 Aug 2024
    • R2657 paid by 1 Oct 2024
    • R2656 paid by 1 Nov 2024

Download course info.


contact us for more info via email

Some comments from our students.

It was truly enriching and insightful.  I learned alot about Canine behaviour and gained valuable insight for managing various behaviours in a dog school environment.  The facilitator was exceptional; her explanations were succint yet comprehensive, both in theory and during in-person classes.  She always made time to delve into certain topics, which enhanced my understanding significantly.  Moreover, I found the content to be sufficient and well-structed, facilitating a smooth flow of learning throughout the course. Overall it was a fantastic experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been part of it. April 2024

Blaise M

I am very glad I signed up for this course.  I now understand how important it is to understand dog body language and their psychology to run my dog school.  I learned how to do the exercises so that mistakes aren’t made and I don’t think one realises how important it is to make sure you are perfect in your training skills to ensure the dog and the owner learns the best way.  Thank you for running this amazing course. March 2021

Terry C

I really enjoyed this course. I learned A LOT that I didn’t know before. Through practical classes & the internship, I’ve learned how to apply the knowledge gained to everyday life with mine & my clients dogs’. Being a pet sitter & working with dogs every day, the knowledge gained through the PDT course as well as the additional knowledge gained through the internship was absolutely essential for me. Celia is very patient & sincerely understanding as well as insightful & the lessons were informative as well as fun. Thank you. 🙂 Nov 2019

Adrian K