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Study Animal Management and Welfare today

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management - Canine Behaviour and Training

Study canine behaviour and training at NZ’s only ITP that offers a dog training course. Learn to care for and train your canine companion in preparation for a constantly evolving industry. 

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
Full-time for one year

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:

  • Aspects of daily care and management. You’ll develop your skills for managing daily canine health and husbandry in a training environment and apply your knowledge to train a variety of dogs in a range of disciplines.
  • The role and responsibilities of canine professions. Learn about health and safety planning and the ethics, philosophies and regulatory procedures surrounding Aotearoa New Zealand’s canine industry.
  • Get to know canine legislation. You’ll also develop an understanding of the Animal Welfare Act as it applies to all animals in Aotearoa New Zealand (and dogs specifically).


  • Focus on applied learning covering many aspects of canine behaviour and training, including extensive practical training in our on-campus dog agility area.
  • Practical work experience. You’ll complete at least two work placements at an external canine facility of your choice.
  • A passionate teaching team of experts. Our highly-experienced lecturers continue to work closely with industry and are experts in animal behaviour, management, welfare and practical dog training.

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:

  • Be no younger than 18 months and no older than 7 years at the start of your first semester
  • Have current registration details 
  • Be in good health to cope with, and excel in, the physical aspects of the programme, such as agility and tracking work
  • Be desexed, vaccinated, and up-to-date on parasite prevention
  • Have a good play and food drive, and be sociable with other dogs and people 
  • There are no breed or size restrictions.
  • In case of injury, we recommend you have pet insurance. 
  • Desexed, vaccinated and up to date on parasite prevention are a requirement. 

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

Before being accepted into the programme, Unitec’s dog training tutors must assess your dog. It’s essential they have a high level of food and toy motivation and are 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. If you don’t own a dog before applying for a place on the programme, Unitec’s dog training tutors may be able to help you find a suitable dog.

Where to next?

If you’re interested in continuing your studies, this programme will give you the academic admission requirements for the Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Management and Welfare).

Please note: International students who graduate will NOT be eligible for a post-study work visa upon completion of this programme


Our canine facilities

As a canine behaviour and training student, you'll be paws-itively delighted to know we have some great facilities for you and your furry friend. Our purpose-built agility area provides a safe environment for your dog while you're learning and developing your handling skills. Then, as you gain confidence throughout the year, you'll take advantage of other locations around campus for more hands-on practical experience, testing your dog's training abilities in real-life situations.

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.