Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject offers a thorough and practical introduction to the basics of small animal behaviour and training at a level appropriate for student veterinary nurses. Students will develop the underlying knowledge and basic skills required to conduct puppy classes, and advise owners on common behavioural and training problems. Students will learn to take a thorough history and to perform a careful behavioural "triage" to enable a sound decision as to when veterinary intervention is required. Students will also develop the skills required to assist with behaviour modification as directed by veterinarians in the treatment of behavioural problems. Through a work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will have the opportunity to observe and assist with the care of a wide number of hospitalised and visiting dogs and cats. An integral part of these interactions will involve applying behaviour and training theory, and critically reviewing how they have seen veterinary team members do the same.

SchoolLife Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDimuthu Wijesinghe

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsNo

Subject year levelYear Level 1 - UG

Available as ElectiveNo

Learning ActivitiesN/A

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Must be admitted in the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (SBVN)


Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Learning resources

Canine and feline behavior for veterinary technicians and nurses

Resource TypeBook

Resource RequirementPrescribed

AuthorShaw, K & Martin, D



PublisherJohn Wiley


Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Decoding your dog

Resource TypeBook

Resource RequirementPrescribed

AuthorHorwitz D, Cirabassi J & Dale S.



PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt


Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningYes

Self sourced or Uni sourced
Uni Sourced

Entire subject or partial subjectPartial subject

Total hours/days required39 hours

Location of WBL activity (region)Domestic - metro

WBL addtional requirementsDuring COVID - virtual WBL placements are being used to assist students to achieve ILOs safely.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Perform safe and appropriate animal handing and restraint techniques which promote positive animal welfare outcomes for a range of small animal behaviours
02. Recognise when referral to a veterinarian is required for the diagnosis and treatment of behavioural problems
03. Using an evidence based approach, design and assist owners to implement training programs and behaviour modification plans for their animals
04. Educate others in an accurate, appropriate, clear, empathetic and professional manner
05. Critically self-reflect on one's own role and effectiveness within a team

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Epping (Melbourne Polytechnic), 2021, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDilhani Premaratna

Class requirements

Placement - Off SiteWeek: 30 - 42
One 3.00 hours placement - off site per week on weekdays during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via face-to-face.
WIL placement

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 30 - 42
One 1.00 hour unscheduled online class per week on any day including weekend during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via online.
Delivered as reading material, quizzes, video clips.

WorkShopWeek: 30 - 42
One 3.00 hours workshop per week on weekdays during the day from week 30 to week 42 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

10 x 5 min Pre-workshop online Quizzes (850 words equivalent) 2% each. Weeks 2 -12

N/AQuizzesIndividualNo20 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4

1 x 20 min practical skills presentation (1000 words equivalent) Practical skills assessments by tutor with simulation models and/or live animals and role plays

N/APractical demonstrationIndividualNo25 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4

Behaviour Modification Action Plan (600 words)Students select an animal case where the animal has a behaviour problem that they have been involved with in placement or in their own personal experience, and to develop a behaviour modification action plan for that case

N/AOtherIndividualNo15 SILO3

Team Client handout (Puppy Class Plan) (600 words/student)Student team (of approx. 4 students) to create a plan for a puppy class around puppy socialisation and an accompanying owner handout. 2400 words total assessment

N/AOtherIndividualNo15 SILO3, SILO4, SILO5

5-minute individual video presentation (500 words equivalent) with instructional handout (250 words)Student to create a video record of an animal before, during and after a planned animal training intervention, and to reflect on the training plan and process during the video

N/AOral presentationIndividualNo25 SILO3