Certificate in Applied Pet Ethology


Roger Abrantes Horse Stand (Small)

Roger Abrantes teaches Boxer to retrieve


These are the courses you have to complete to earn your CAPE diploma. In principle, you can take them in the order you want, but we recommend a particular natural order so that you build up your knowledge and skills on the acquired knowledge and skills from previous courses. This route will make it easier for you to understand the subject matters of the subsequent courses. Courses become increasingly more difficult as you progress.


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  1. Evolution is an introduction to the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. This course gives you the fundamental principles of evolutionary biology that you need in order to understand behavior, its evolution and development. It’s a basic, little course that gives you a good idea of our courses and tests. This should be the first course you take.
  2. Animal Welfare is an introduction to this topic focusing on definitions of the key concepts, principles, methods and goal. The special chapters on the welfare of companion animals, i.e. dogs, horses and cats, makes it extra relevant for all trainers of these animals. It is a relatively short course at beginner level warming you well up for the most difficult ones to come.
  3. EFR for Animals deals with emergency first response and first aid to an injured animal. Everyone should take this course—it’s a life saver. Easy to complete and once done, you will have acquired (or refreshed) some necessary skills.
  4. Anatomy and Physiology give an introduction to these subject-matters focusing on aspects related to behavior. It’s not a difficult course. It is only an introduction to these otherwise huge subjects, and yet it contains a wealth of information that will be essential for you, particularly when trying to understand problem behavior.
  5. Animal Learning explains the principles of training and modification of behavior. Now, you reached what might have been your main reason to have embarked on this study route. You want to be a good trainer, to be able to modify the behavior of animals. This course gives you the principles. Be meticulous and give yourself the time it takes to understand even the difficult topics. Enjoy the learning process. The introductory courses you have taken have prepared you to appreciate the nuances of the learning processes fully.
  6. Canine Behavior reviews all aspects of canine behavior. If you like dogs, which we feel assured you do, or you wouldn’t have started your studies with us, this will be an easy and enjoyable course for you. A breeze of fresh air after the previous heavier courses.
  7. Canine Home Alone Problems Prevention is better than cure for this canine number one problem. The course teaches you the technique to both prevention and cure.
  8. Canine Problem Behavior deals with the common problem behavior in dogs. It’s not a difficult course, particularly after you have taken Animal Learning, Ethology and SMAF. It will help you to diagnose problems more accurately and to design more efficient treatment programs.
  9. Pedagogy deals with the principles of teaching. All instructors should take this course. It’s a beginner’s course, yet containing many good tips that we are sure will help you become a better teacher/coach/instructor.
  10. Canine Basic Proficiency Verification is the time when you put it all together and show an instructor that you can handle a dog and communicate efficiently with it. It’s an easy verification if you have some basic experience with dogs and have completed all previous courses.
  11. Canine Problems Proficiency deals with solving canine behavior problems. Since this course follows the basic Canine Problem course, it only requires that you can solve the most basic canine problems that you’ll encounter while training dog owners and their dogs. We’ll deal with complicated problems in a later course. This is your last proficiency certificate for the CPDT certificate . Once your instructor has ticked the ‘verified’ box in your student profile, you can print your certificate , and you have earned your CPDT badge.



  1. Ethology explains behavior, its functions, development and evolution. This is not an easy course either, but one that will give you the essential foundations to understand animal behavior. To understand the behavior of your favorite species fully, you need to see it into a broader perspective. The knowledge you acquire during this course will be significant for the rest of your studies, no matter what specialization you choose. You will discover that there is a huge discrepancy between popular knowledge, myths, anecdotal evidence, old wives tales and reality, i.e., what proper scientific studies tell us.
  2. Applied Animal Learning gives you the morphology and syntax of SMAF, an artificial language enabling you to design training plans of action accurately. If you like logic and computer programming, you will love SMAF. If you don’t, just hang on, remember the principles and best practices and don’t worry about the SMAF itself. This course teaches you to be precise and goal oriented and it is a good quick review of the most important principles of learning theory.
  3. Canine Scent detection stimulates your dog without turning it hyperactive, teaches you and your dog what serious team work is, and is great fun for both of you. Take the theory on-line and begin practicing right away. Canine scent detection is one of the best examples of the cooperation between two species, of their separate skills working in conjunction and toward a common, practical goal.
  4. Canine Advanced Proficiency Verification is for the experienced dog trainer. It’s not difficult either but requires higher precision, a better knowledge of the learning principles and first of all more practice. If you are an experienced dog trainer, you will have no problems taking it. Upon completing this verification, you can print your certificate as CACE and you have earned your CACE badge.


  1. Equine Behavior reviews all aspects of equine behavior. This s the first course we recommend if you are thinking about completing the CPAT level. It will give you insight into a new species—and one very different from dogs. It will definitely make you a better trainer—and a better dog trainer as well— because you will need to use techniques that we rarely need with dogs, but are crucial when we have to solve difficult problems.
  2. Feline Behavior reviews all aspects of feline behavior. You continue broadening your horizon, and becoming a good all-round trainer. You learn, now, about feline behavior—yet a third very different species from the two you have worked with hitherto.
  3. Equine Basic Basic Proficiency Test is the time for yo to show that you also can work and communicate with a horse in practice. It’s not a difficult verification, but you’ll need to have acquired some ‘equine manners.’
  4. X Practice Basic Proficiency Verification is your opportunity to try yet another species besides dogs and horses. Most students chose cats and guinea pigs. Even though the basic training principles are the same for all animals, working with a third species will indeed make you an advanced trainer. You should be able to do it without too much hassle now that you are this advanced. Upon completing this verification, you can print your certificate as CAPE and you have earned your CAPE badge.



Practical experience

You have to login in at least 50 dogs, five horses and five other animals you have trained, plus 10 ITs (Individual Training). For logging purposes, you must have worked with one animal for a minimum of two hours and have achieved a significant and observable behavior modification to count it as “trained.” An IT is a case you treat individually where you diagnose and plan a program to resolve a problem behavior (e.g. a dog that cannot be home alone, a horse that does not go into the trailer, or a cat that does not use the litter box).

To go to your logbook click My Logbook.

If you train a dog class of, say, eight dogs, you may log eight dogs provided the class has extended over a period of at least eight sessions of two hours each.

If you work at a vet clinic, shelter, equine center or any place where you handle many animals every day as part of your job, you may not log them as trained animals unless your work with any particular animal demonstrates a significant and observable behavior change.




We design our courses and programs with the very clear goal of turning you into a good professional, but most importantly, we hope they will also help you to become the person you want to be.


Let’s get started!


Enroll now in the CAPE program for only EUR 1919 (USD 2,302.80). (Currency converter)


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