Two Year Trainer Course1

Training skills are an ever evolving and re-evolving learning cycle. We learn, we apply, we return to the beginning and learn again. We explore, we expand, we integrate and blend learning from experience and the dogs we share the learning with. We may begin this spiral of learning of small circuits – these are the dangerous ones, they hook us into wanting to learn more without giving us an idea that we will never learn enough. As we progress up the spiral we will at some point make a massive jump from interested to fascinated. This course will satisfy The Fascinated stage of your spiral and give you the foundations to keep moving upwards.

Moving upwards is satisfying, successful and self-motivating when based on excellent training skills, clear foundations of teaching and learning and strong, sound core behaviours. Confidence for both trainer and learner ignites enthusiasm and a desire to learn more.

Dogs are incredible teaching masters, they may not tell us what to learn but they do give us clear feedback on what we have learned and how we are doing. We need skills to interpret this feedback and identify how to improve our communication. From successful planning, observation and analysis, to our personal awareness and motor skills. All can impact on the quality of our teaching enhancing a relationship of trust and confidence.

This is a 2 year practical study course covered in 11 units. Each unit will contain practical training as well as written work to accompany the classrooms. Both are equally important exercises in developing your skills, knowledge and understanding. 

Certification is available through final assessment of successful completion of the criteria for all units. Final assessment must be submitted within 3 years of enrolment.

Study format

The online study environment is run on Moodle and comprises 11 (12) Units over 2 years. This has been our successful platform for online learning since 2007.

Classroom in a forum format are held on a two-week interval, although you do not need to attend the classroom discussions as the topics continue throughout the Unit. The Classrooms dictate the pace of the course and bring our focus to specific topics. Each Unit covers 4 Classrooms with a break of approximately 6 weeks between Units to enable completions of exercises.

Global group learning brings a richness to the experience where different lifestyles, different learners and relationships will share their journey. What you get out of studying on this course is dependent on your personal investment, 4-6 hours per week should be calculated for the practical and written exercises with the addition of serious thought processes whilst you do the housework, walk the dog, drive and try to get to sleep.

The course encourages self-directed learning and critical thinking developing a new mind-set that will project forward to every dog you share your life with in the future. There is very little space for branded training recipes, off the shelf solutions or quick-fixes.

The course is equally suited to someone who enjoys training with their own dog or a professional teacher and trainer with clients. Unit 12 is an additional unit for those interested in teaching other people.

Progress and feedback

Each Classroom will require:

    Participation in the topic for discussion. This is likely to continue over the two weeks between classrooms.

    Completions of practical exercises such as collecting observation data and training your dog.

    Written and/or video essays and exercises intended to meet criteria specified for each Unit.

Exercises will include:

    Demonstration of competency (skill) by video

    Written essays demonstrating, reasoning, understanding and thoughtfulness

    Experiments or projects showing planning, application, data gathering and review

    Evaluation and feedback of selected videos

    Personal review of learning achieved

Collation of this material will contribute to your portfolio for final assessment for certification if you wish to take that option. Successful completion will lead to certification as:

    Trainer Accredited by Kay Laurence (TAKL) with an option to progress to

    Teacher Trainer Accredited by Kay Laurence (TTAKL) for those teaching other people.

Ongoing assessment during the course is reviewed by the course assessor, Clare Russell, who will offer feedback and advice. Final Assessment for the Certification is by Kay Laurence

Learning About Dogs will maintain a list of current certified trainers. Re-validation will be required every 3 years. This will require detailed reviews of books, material, conferences, seminars, workshops or other learning experiences, demonstrating evidence of continuing learning, evaluation and skill development. Plus a personal self-assessment review and plan and a random selection of 3 criteria to be re-sumitted.

Ethical foundation

The course is based on very clear ethical foundations where the needs of the dog (learner) are not compromised for convenience of society or the environment. We expect students to provide thoughtful consideration of their personal ethics and philosophy as suitable for their lifestyle, their society and dogs they share their lives with.

Training is positive reinforcement centric to maintain the health and mental welfare of the dog and encourage integration into society without compromising the needs of the dog. Training protocols for both trainers and learner is a constructive model.


Material for studying on the course will be provided in pdf format. You will need to have access to download (streaming) videos to study.

For certification you must be able to video your training to meet specific criteria, upload to a suitable video format. All written material must be in pdf format.

Study lessons  and certification process with be managed within the Moodle format.

Your learner can be any type of dog (animal) of any age that you have access to train several times a week. Competency is measured in your skills as a trainer, not in the skill level achieved by the dog (animal). Simple behaviours carried out to a high standard are valued more than complex or sport behaviours.

Excellence is measured in the training of quality, not in impressive behaviours.

Personal tutor

Personal tutors will be assigned for assistance with study, exercises, essays, practical training, preparation for assessment. These are TAKL trained and experienced in using Moodle (the online learning environment).

Quality assurance

Material submitted for review will be randomly re-assessed on a 1 in 7 basis to maintain the level of assessment. A student can request re-consideration of their material through this process.

Material presented for review can be returned for further evidence to be provided. This must be completed for 2nd review within 60 days.


Unit Outlines

Continuing through year 1 & 2:

1. Assessment and Evidence

Learning is evidence based, not exam based. This means the learner will take responsibility for providing evidence of their competency, knowledge and understanding.

Successful training requires the core skill of assessment through observation and analysis. This Unit will cover the skills needed for personal and peer assessment, ability to evaluate a training protocol, review data and outcomes, give effective, constructional and instructional feedback. There will be clear guidelines on production of video evidence and how to meet the requirements of the criteria.

2. Ethics, philosophy and beliefs

A clear and solid ethical foundation will underpin all our interactions with dogs. From how we live with dogs, our relationship, connection, handling, interaction, husbandry and training protocols. This Unit will encourage the developing your own view point and examine the consequences of your choices.

3. Development of Personal skills

Part of the development as a trainer will be a clear evaluation of your own skills, strengths and areas you wish to develop. Tracking your skill development is a continual process that required planning and review.

Year 1:

4. Reinforcement 1

This Unit examines different reinforcement patterns, the reinforcement process, how consequence drives behaviour, how delivery affects behaviours, pace, placement, energy, treat loading, different markers, emotional response.

5. Behaviour

Identify, isolate the behaviours and/or skills under training. Plan to train skills, identify influences that can affect behaviours. Foundation skills, default behaviours, generalisation processes, developing physical skills and proprioception.

6. Teaching strategies

Choosing a teaching strategies, how strategies affects the learning, which strategies are appropriate to different types of behaviours. The model to set-up the learner for success with minimal error learning.
Self-directed strategies: shaping target acquisition, shaping components of a compound behaviour. The model to set-up the learner for success.

7.  Directed  learning

Directed learning strategies, advantages and disadvantages. Luring: building the skills required, advantages. Modelling. Moulding by contact and by environment. Using prompts, and targets

Year 2:

8. Cues

What is a cue, cue delivery, changing a cue, cue attachment, capturing, syntax, multiple cues poisoned cues. Default behaviours. Building On Cue reliability.

9. Reinforcement 2

Non-food reinforcers, variation of reinforcement, volume, patterns, timing. Using play as a reinforcer, social reinforcers, life reinforcers.

10.  Planning

Facilitating success for both dog and trainer, long and short term goals, identifying skills required, teaching components, breaking down behaviours, combining and merging behaviours. Seeking solutions.

11.  Advanced protocols

Resurgence, extinction, negative reinforcement, adduction, concepts. Building chains and compounds behaviours. Preparing for performance.

ClassRoom Dates

All ClassRooms are 1800 - 2000 GMT/UTC

PreCourse Lesson: 27 Jun 2017

    Unit 1: 11 Jul, 25 Jul, 8 Aug, 22 Aug.

    Unit 2: 10 Oct, 24 Oct, 7 Nov, 21 Nov

    Unit 3: 2018 2 Jan, 16 Jan, 30 Jan, 13 Feb,

    Unit 4: 10 Apr, 24 Apr, 8 May, 22 May

Refunds are available up to the start of Lesson 3 (8 Aug) with a £25 administration charge. No refunds are available after that date.

Course Fees

Full Course Fee (2 years) £3,300 (approx $4125)

Course Fee Year 1 £1,980 (approx $2375)
assured for Year 2 in the same course

Final Assessment for Accreditation £350
payable when ready for assessment


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© 2017 Learning About Dogs Ltd. PO Box 13, Chipping Campden, Glos GL55 6WX

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