Open main menu Close main menu


Unitec_NZ Certificate in Animal Management - Canine Behaviour and Training _banner.jpg

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management - Canine Behaviour and Training

Explore canine behaviour and welfare, develop your understanding of the roles and requirements of canine-related industries in New Zealand, and apply your knowledge through extensive practical canine training.

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert, Christchurch
Start dates
Full time for one year with blended learning (includes online and block courses)

Programme overview

With growing public and legislative interest concerning the management of animals (dogs in particular), the industry is looking for work-ready graduates with the technical and transferable skills needed to take up job opportunities in canine-related industries. 

In this programme, you’ll gain a broad understanding of canine behaviour and husbandry (and that of other companion animals).

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • You will be able to develop your capability to manage day-to-day canine health and wellness in a training environment and apply your practical training skills to create and modify behaviour in a variety of dogs.
  • About health and safety planning, the ethics, philosophies, and regulatory procedures that surround the roles and responsibilities of canine industries,
  • To understand the Animal Welfare Act as it applies to all New Zealand animals (specifically dogs).


  • Focus on applied learning covering many aspects of canine behaviour and training, including extensive practical training.
  • Practical work experience. You’ll complete at least two work placements at an external canine facility.
  • A passionate teaching team of experts. Our highly experienced lecturers continue to work closely with the industry and are experts in animal behaviour, management, welfare, and practical dog training.
  • A mixture of on and off-campus learning. You’ll be required to attend up to four weeks of on-campus learning, and the rest will be online. You can now do your block course in Christchurch. via Ara

Dog requirements

To apply for this programme, you must have arranged regular access to a suitable dog (as approved by Unitec's specialist dog trainers). To ensure a safe and effective learning environment for you and your furry companion, your dog must:

  • The dog must be no younger than 18 months and ideally no older than seven years. There are no breed or size restrictions. However, dogs must be physically able to undertake the programme. 
  • The dog must be registered, vaccinated, and in excellent health to enable them to excel in the more physical aspects of the programme. 
  • They must also be social towards others and dogs and strongly desire to work for food and toys during training sessions. 
  • We also prefer dogs to be insured since, in a learning environment, we cannot guarantee that dogs will not be injured. ​

To ensure your dog is a good fit with you on the programme, Unitec’s dog training tutors must assess.

Before being accepted into the programme, Unitec’s dog training tutors must assess your dog. They must have high food and toy motivation and be confident around other dogs and students. If we feel that your dog doesn’t quite meet these motivations, we may offer you tips to increase these motivations or recommend another dog.

Where to next?

If you want to continue your studies, this programme will give you the academic admission requirements for the Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Management and Welfare).

Admission requirements

To be admitted to this programme applicants must hold one of the following:

  • NZCEA Level 2 with Vocational Pathways Primary Industry endorsement; 
  • New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) with strands in Companion Animals, Equine, or Rural Animals; 
  • A relevant qualification at NZQF Level 2 or above;
  • A recognised equivalent

Additional requirements

All application needs to meet or submit the following;

  • Health and tetanus declaration
  • Provide a copy of your current criminal conviction history

As part of the programme you’ll need consistent access to a dog (evaluated by Unitec’s dog trainer tutors) for the duration of the programme.

You’ll also need to provide proof of your identity (ID) and other documents, such as academic certificates. Please have these handy when you’re ready to apply.

English language requirements

All applicants for whom English or te reo Māori is not a first language need to provide evidence that they have the necessary English language proficiency required for the programme. International applicants are required to have an IELTS score of 5 (general or academic) with no individual band lower than 5 from one test taken in the preceding two years, or an equivalent described in NZQA Rules

Don’t meet these requirements?


There may be other options available:

  • If you’re over 20 and have relevant skills/life experience, or
  • If you’re under 20 and have the relevant reading, writing and numeracy skills
  • We also have a range of Foundation and Bridging Education programmes to help you prepare for further academic study.

Simply apply online, and we’ll be in touch about your next steps.


For more information, download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Anatomy and Physiology (ANML4002TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the anatomy and physiology of animal health and welfare
Canine Training (ANML4502TP) 30.0 credits (0.25 EFTS) The aim of this course is to plan and apply practical canine training skills through effective communication while maintaining optimum animal welfare.
The Science of Learning (ANML4504TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to humane behavioural modification and management in canines.
Canine Health and Husbandry (ANML4505TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to husbandry and handling to ensure optimum welfare, health and safety.
Canine Development and Behaviour (ANML4506TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to canine behaviour and the canine-human relationship.
Canine Behaviour and Training Practicum A (ANML4507TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies to communicate effectively and provide day-to-day care in animal facilities.
Canine Behaviour and Training Practicum B (ANML4508TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies to provide ethical day-to-day care as a team member in an animal facility.

Unitec is part of Te Pūkenga

On 1 October 2022 Unitec became part of Te Pūkenga. Find out more about Te Pūkenga and what this means for you.