ACM40322 Certificate IV in

Animal Behaviour and Training

Gain a Nationally Recognised Qualification in Animal Behaviour and Training

Do you love teaching people to have a better relationship with their dog? Would you love to learn how to influence an animal’s behaviour? How would you like to take your training to the next level? Our ACM40322 Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training (previously ACM40321) is the gold star standard with input from internationally recognised experts in animal training. Successful completion of this course provides you with the nationally recognised animal training qualification as well as membership to the internationally renowned Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT).

This is a 12-month blended course and is the perfect mix of online and practical training in a supportive learning environment. Our philosophy incorporates modern, positive-reinforcement based and force-free animal training, perfectly combined with clear and compassionate training for the human half! As a graduate, you’ll be prepared for employment as an animal trainer.

Course snapshot

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Next intake: July 2024
  • Application status: Register Your Interest
  • Practical Training: 2 x 4 day intensive practical workshops
  • Prerequisite: HLTAID011 Provide First Aid (to be completed by first practical workshop)
  • Best suited to: Students with some knowledge or experience in the animal care and/or animal training industry, who are looking to consolidate their skills with a national qualification, and/or are looking to take the next step as a qualified animal trainer.
NRT - nationally recognised training - for animal studies, horse care and vet nursing
IMDT training and behaviour course for dog trainers
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Course outline


Laura has worked as the Head Dog Trainer and Behaviour Consultant for a busy veterinary clinic for over 25 years. She is a Fear Free Certified Professional and Member of the Fear Free Speakers Bureau. She holds her Certificate IV in Dog Behaviour Training and a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment is a full member of IMDT, APDT and PPG.

She has presented both locally and overseas to the AVA, VNCA, IMDT, APDT (USA) and PPG on a wide range of dog behaviour and training topics.

Fiona Cowie IMDT

Fiona also has over 20 years’ experience in the industry, including 14 years as a detection dog handler with two government departments. She has also run a successful dog training business and is passionate about supporting new dog trainers entering the industry.

Fiona holds a Level 3 Certificate in Principles of Dog Training and Behaviour and a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment. She is also a full member of IMDT and PPG.

Both Fiona and Laura are passionate about professional development and have completed numerous industry recognised courses.

Guest Video Presentations

The course also includes guest video presentations by leading international experts:

  • Steve Mann – Founder of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers and Author of the books Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy, Easy Peasy Doggy Squeezy, Easy Peasy Doggy Diary and Easy Peasy Awesome Pawesome Dog Training for Kids
  • Ken Ramirez – Executive Vice-President and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Author of the books Animal Training: Successful Animal Management Through Positive Reinforcement and The Eye of the Trainer: Animal Training, Transformation and Trust.
  • Dr Susan Friedman – Psychology Professor at Utah State University who has pioneered the application of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to captive and companion animals. Susan created the concept of ‘Unlabel Me!’ and the Hierarchy of Behaviour-Change Procedures.
  • Dr Robert HewingsRetired police dog trainer (Metropolitan Police Dog Training Establishment – London), creator of the UK College of Scent Dogs and Author of the book Scent Training for Every Dog.

Plus, you will also hear from these highly respected industry professionals:

  • Hannah Branigan
  • Michael Shikashio
  • Mikkel Bekker
  • Lori Stevens
  • Laura Monaco-Torelli
  • Lori Chamberland
  • Allie Bender
  • Emily Strong
  • Carrie-Anne Selwyn
  • Mary Hunter
  • Louise Ginman
  • Dr Rachel White
  • Scotti Harvey
  • Peta Clarke
  • Barbara Hodel
  • Helen Motteram
  • Aileen Stevenson
  • Ryan Cartlidge
  • Petra Edwards

This is a blended learning course. You will participate in:

  • Online learning from home (approx. 3 x 8 hours each week)
  • 2 x 4 day compulsory workshops based in Perth, WA. See: Key Dates
  • Regular virtual sessions

Requirements for Workshops (suitable training dog required)
Each participant will need to have a dog that is comfortable around other dogs and humans, crate trained and capable of lots of training.  If you do not have access to a suitable dog, or are travelling from elsewhere in Australia to attend, you will need to advise us so suitable arrangements can be made.

Students must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be available to participate in ALL practical training days
  • Have access to a dog who will be comfortable to undertake the practical training elements. For the at-home learning components, there are no training pre-requisites for the dogs, as they will be in their safe environment. If you do not live with a dog, you will need to ensure you have access to a dog (i.e., family or friend’s dog they are happy for you to train with)
  • Be physically capable of restraining animals, lifting and carrying objects up to 10kg and standing for extended periods of time.
  • Have a reliable internet connection and access to a desktop computer or laptop. You will be required to write, submit and in some cases upload assessments and various types of multi-media files online in your own time, therefore we strongly recommend using a desktop or laptop computer for your studies
  • Be proficient in speaking and writing in English
  • Due to the required workload and level of study, have a minimum level of schooling up to and including year 10, with a good understanding of science and maths
  • HLTAID011 First Aid Certificate – you are required to show proof of unit completion one week prior to the first practical workshop. You will need to study this certificate with an approved provider (see for a full list of providers)

This course is highly competitive and has limited places. Therefore, successful students are selected based on prior work experience, education, individual attitude and aptitude. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by an AVT team member.

At workshops, you will be required to wear:

  • An AVT polo shirt and name badge (supplied by AVT)
  • Enclosed black shoes (supplied by student)
  • Neatly presented, long comfortable work pants suitable for bending and manual work (supplied by student).

What will you learn?

ACM40322 Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training contains 16 units of study (including your compulsory prerequisite HLTAID011 – Provide First Aid) covering a broad range of topics relating to animal training and behaviour.  You will become competent in:

  • Interpreting animal behaviour
  • Understanding and applying animal learning theory
  • Evaluating best practice conditioning and training methodologies and techniques to meet the welfare needs of animals,
  • Conducting group training classes and consultations
  • Providing ethical training services for carers/clients,
  • Developing and implementing enrichment strategies,
  • Understanding animal anatomy
  • Interacting safely with animals

The skills and knowledge you will learn can be applied in a range of roles from trainers to animal handlers. For more information on careers working with animals read our article Top 6 Animal Care Careers.

Behaviour and Training Qualification for animal dog trainers

Course outcomes

Our graduates can go on to a wide range of roles across the animal behaviour and animal training industry. 

Job Outcomes

Graduates from this course can go on to careers such as:

  • Animal Trainer (self-employed or working for an organisation)
  • Puppy Class trainer
  • One to one pet dog training consultations
  • Group Dog Class Trainer
  • Trainer in an animal rescue/shelter
  • Shelter Worker
  • Assistance Dog Trainer
  • At home enrichment Provider
  • Walk and Train Dog Trainer
  • Trainer in an animal boarding facility
  • Trainer in an animal services facility (day-care, veterinary clinic, etc)
  • Trainer or handler for a government organisation
  • Educational role within the animal care industry

Skills Outcomes

Some of the skills you will be able to apply once qualified include:

  • Providing group dog training classes
  • Providing one to one animal training consultation services
  • Conditioning and training animals
  • Provision of appropriate enrichment for individual animals
  • Interpretation of animal body language
  • Understanding animal learning theory
  • Ability to interpret animal behaviour in a safe manner
  • Customer service and client education

Course content

You must complete the following 8 units (in addition to completing your compulsory prerequisite, HLTAID011 Provide First Aid prior to the first practical workshop. You will need to complete this unit with another provider).

  • ACMBEH301 Identify behaviours and interact safely with animals
  • ACMBEH403 Evaluate animal conditioning methodology and program design
  • ACMBEH404 Condition animal behaviour
  • ACMWHS401 Maintain workplace health and safety processes
  • ACMGEN402 Advise on animal industry compliance and practices
  • ACMBEH402 Develop, implement, and monitor enrichment strategies for animals
  • ACMGEN304 Promote positive wellbeing in self & others in animal care workplaces
  • ACMGEN303 Assess the welfare status of an animal

Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training Students will also be required to study:

  • ACMARM403 Identify and respond to animal behaviour in animal management and regulation environment
  • ACMBEH405 Provide individual advice on animal behaviour management/training
  • ACMBEH406 Conduct group training classes for animal owners or carers
  • ACMBEH407 Conduct animal behavioural assessments
  • ACMVET411 Prepare, deliver and review animal care education programs
  • ACMARM407 Conduct community awareness programs
  • ACMADT403 Train dogs using operant and classical conditioning techniques

What makes this course different?

  • Professionally written and delivered – this course is written and presented by industry experts Laura Ryder IMDTB KPA CPDT-KA FFCP and Fiona Cowie IMDT.
  • Fully supportive learning environment with regular zoom classroom sessions. In addition to on-site supervision at your practical workshops, you will be provided with various contact options to our support team and fully qualifed trainers.
  • You will follow a structured study timetable to ensure you stay on track. Our student support team will follow your progress and provide feedback.
  • We are an independent animal care registered training organisation (RTO). We develop and deliver our own course material, so you get the latest and most up-to-date knowledge.
  • This nationally recognised qualification also provides you with membership to the internationally recognised Institute of Modern Dog Trainers, a kite mark of quality in the dog training industry. This membership will also provide you with continued support as you transition to employment in the industry.
  • At AVT, we combine a high standard of theoretical knowledge with intensive practical training. This allows you to gain the competence and confidence required for an exciting and rewarding career
Become an IMDT dog trainer
Nationally recognised animal care course in Australia NRT

What students say about our course

Fees & inclusions

Total course fees: $6,850

Payable via our monthly payment plan. Initial payment of $1,500 plus 10 x $535 monthly payments and includes:

  • Learning guides (Downloadable)
  • Textbooks (Downloadable)
  • Dedicated student support
  • One-on-one mentoring by AVT Trainers
  • Assessments and Certification
  • Practical training insurance
  • Practical Training Kit: Uniform, name badge, workbook and more.

*Fees, inclusions and payment plan amounts are subject to change. The compulsory prerequisite unit (first aid) is an additional cost to the student. If you decide to withdraw from study for any reason, refunds are not issued. Please see our policies page for full details. 

Register for our next Animal Behaviour & Training Course

Course Dates
Application Status
July 2024 Intake
Course runs July 2024 - June 2025

This course has limited places with high demand. We reserve the right to close course intakes before any advertised close date. 


The ACM40322 Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training course is delivered with a combination of online learning and practical training. The practical component includes 2x four day intensive workshops held in Perth, WA. The workshops are a crucial part of the course and attendance in person is compulsory. The hands-on experience gained during these workshops is essential for successful completion the course.

Due to the specific contact hours required for students to successfully complete the ACM40322 Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training course, the workshops must be conducted in person and cannot be conducted virtually.

We are here to support our students coming from other parts of Australia. We organise the workshop dates well in advance. The dates for the 2x four-day intensives are set prior to enrolment. This allows you to ensure the dates work for you, plus plenty of time to plan your travel arrangements.

Why choose AVT?

Dedicated Animal Care College

AVT has been delivering Vet Nursing and Animal Care related courses for over 25 years. It's safe to say there are no plumbing or hairdressing courses here!

Prerequisite course for veterinary nursing

Outstanding Track Record

A recent NCVER VET student outcomes report found 93% of AVT graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after training and 95% of graduates would recommend the training provided by AVT.

Prerequisite course for veterinary nursing

Safe and Supported Learning

Our qualified teaching team have many years of experience as well as extensive backgrounds in the veterinary and animal care industry. They're approachable and dedicated to helping students succeed.

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