This course is ideal for kennel workers, pet shop and vet assistants, farm workers, groomers, animal trainers, park rangers, farmers, animal charity workers or anyone who loves or owns animals. Our Certificate of Animal Behaviour will give you insights into understanding, anticipating and modifying animal behaviour.
This animal behaviour course will also introduce you to the various models and theories of animal behaviour and the specific characteristics of different species. You will learn to identify animal behaviour types, what drives behaviour, and recognise the psychological impacts of different handling techniques.
You will also study the role of genetics in behaviour, understand the interactions between different types of animals, and gain an understanding of reproductive, abnormal, social and territorial behaviour.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking an animal behaviour course include:
- Learning about behaviour and the purpose of animal behaviour
- Exploring what motivates behaviour
- Studying behaviour types – reactive, active, cognitive
- Gaining insights into learned behaviours – classic conditioning, reinforcement, extinction, operant conditioning, Skinners experiments
- Examining other influences – external stimuli, internal stimuli, physiological responses, psychological responses
- Understanding terminology
- Learning how to observe animals
- Exploring the basics of genetics
- Gaining an understanding of the basics of genetics
- Studying terminology – alleles, allelomorphs, genes, phenotype, mitosis, homozygous, genotype, etc.
- Gaining insights into environmental affects, heritability and epigenisis
- Understanding innate behaviour and the interaction between different species
- Learning about survival and studying a case study of inherited trains in horse behaviour
- Exploring animal perception and behaviour
- Studying animal communication and perception
- Gaining insights into how animals perceive things
- Examining imprinting and types of stimuli – visual, auditory, tactile and chemical
- Understanding monocular and binocular vision
- Learning about neutral control
- Exploring behaviour and the environment
- Gaining an understanding of orthokinesis, klinokinesis, navigation and homeostasis
- Studying thermoregulation, motivation and biological clocks
- Gaining insights into the sun compass, migration and hibernation
- Examining tolerance, acclimatisation and sexual and reproductive behaviours
- Understanding social behaviour including animal societies and fight or flight response
- Learning about aggression, social constrains, sexual behaviour and social order
Edward Thorndike: The Law of Effect
One of the the theories you will learn about in our animal behaviour course is Thorndike’s Law of Effect. Thorndike is famous in the world of psychology for his work on learning theory. He suggested that “responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation”. Thorndike was the first to apply psychological principles, in particular the concept of reinforcement, to the area of learning.
He studied learning in animals — usually cats — and devised a classic experiment where he used a puzzle box to empirically test the laws of learning. He placed a cat in the puzzle box, and it was then encouraged to escape the box to reach a piece of fish that was placed outside. Thorndike would then measure how long it would take them to escape, and noticed that cats experimented with different ways to escape the puzzle box to reach the fish.
Eventually, most of the cats would stumble upon a lever which opened the cage. When the cat had escaped, it was put in the cage again, and Thorndike would again measure the time it took the cat to escape. In successive trials, the cats would learn that pressing the lever would have favourable consequences, and they would adopt their behaviour and become increasingly quick at pressing the lever.
30 Fascinating Animal Behaviour Facts
Our globe is home to more than one million known animal species, and many of them exhibit fascinating behaviour traits. Here are thirty facts that will provide an abundance of inspiration for undertaking an animal behaviour course.
- Wild dolphins call each other by name with “signature whistles”.
- Young goats pick up accents from each other.
- Humpback whale songs spread like “cultural ripples from one population to another.”
- Some African elephants have a specific alarm call that means “human”.
- Horses use facial expressions to communicate with each other.
- Azara’s night monkeys are more monogamous than humans.
- Male gentoo penguins “propose” to females by giving them a pebble.
- Barn owls are normally monogamous, but about 25 per cent of mated pairs “divorce.”
- African buffalo herds display voting behaviour in which individuals register their travel preference by standing up, looking in one direction and then lying back down. And only adult females can vote!
- If a honeybee keeps “dancing” in favour of an unpopular nesting site, other workers head butt her to help the colony reach a consensus.
- It was recently discovered that the bone-house wasp stuffs the walls of its nest with dead ants.
- Myotonic goats faint when they are startled. The breed characteristic, known as Myotonia Congenita, is a condition where their muscle cells experience prolonged contraction which causes them to freeze and fall over.
- Horned lizards have a variety of ways to avoid predation, including squirting blood out of their eyes. They do this by stopping blood flowing to their head which increases the pressure and ruptures the tiny vessels around their eyes.
- A pistol shrimp stuns its prey by snapping its claw so quickly that it makes a sound that’s louder than a gun shot.
- Some army ants are completely blind, which means they can become disoriented and march in circles until they die of exhaustion.
- Female bower birds are attracted to beautiful homes. Which is why the males decorate dry grass with flowers and pebbles and spend hours on colour coordination!
- Female cuckoos shirk all responsibility when it comes to parenting. They lay their eggs in other nests and then abandon them. Eventually the baby bird is fed and raised by another bird, often indirectly killing its “fake” siblings.
- Elephants are known to display emotional behaviour, particularly rituals related to death. When they come across elephant bones, they will stop and remain silent. If an elephant from their own herd passes away, other elephants will stand by the body for hours, even abstaining from food and water.
- Crows hold grudges and have an amazing memory capacity for those who have wronged them. Crows that have been captured will remember their abductors, even going as far as dive bombing them when they are spotted.
- Meerkats teach their babies or “pups” rather than relying on trial and error. Their main diet is scorpions, but instead of allowing pups to sting themselves when eating them, the parent will give their pups dead scorpions as practice. As the pups improve, the parents bring back livelier scorpions until they can eventually catch and eat live ones on their own.
- Male giraffes drink a female’s urine to work out if they are ready to mate. Their urine is flavoured with certain hormones that signify if they are ready to become pregnant.
- Moths and butterflies drink the tears of mammals, turtles and crocodiles to obtain the essential nutrients found in salt.
- Clownfish start out as male, but once the group’s female dies, the largest male morphs into a female.
- Teenage elephants become delinquents if they don’t have strong parenting. Elephants will also harass people and villages if older members of their group are lost due to poaching.
- The Australian marsupial, antechnius, mate for two or three weeks non-stop. This often leads to exhaustion and then death.
- Dolphins sleep with one eye open and half of their brain still awake. This helps them watch out for predators and obtain air. After about two hours, their awake brain hemisphere will go to sleep and the other side will wake up.
- Komodo dragons can have virgin births, and in science, this is called parthenogenesis. Her eggs fused with other materials in her body to form embryos. So essentially, her babies have the same DNA as her.
- Urchin crabs carry sea urchins around on their backs to protect themselves from predators. Other “decorator” crabs will put corals, seaweed and sponges on their bodies to camouflage themselves.
- Assassin bugs put balls of dead ants on their backs to confuse predators. They kill them by first paralysing them and then eating their insides.
- Secretary birds viciously kick their prey — snakes, lizards and insects — to death with a force that’s five times their body weight.
Gain foundational knowledge of animal behaviour which will enable you to safely and effectively interact or work with animals with an animal behaviour course, such as our