Video Proficiency Verifications (info, procedures and hints)

We introduced video proficiency verifications on a trial basis in 2005, and they showed excellent results for both students and teachers.
For the students seriously impeded to travel, video proficiency verifications give them the opportunity to complete a proficiency verification from his/her home location saving expensive flight tickets and time.
For the teacher, it proves to be a much more accurate form of analyzing the student’s work. The fact that some students have to go through a series of repetitions shooting their proficiency verifications before they send them to their tutors for approval is just a benefit. They are training and analyzing their work while shooting the videos.

[Rule 11.3] Proficiency verifications are assessments of the knowledge and skills of a student in a specific area. You will have to demonstrate satisfactorily a series of skills in a fixed program known in advance. Approved proficiency verifications are added to your records and shown on your diploma.

[Rule 11.3.3] Exceptionally and at the full discretion of the Ethology Institute Cambridge, a student may submit a video proficiency verification to his/her tutor at the Institute, provided the tutor has approved it. These are exceptional cases applicable only in very special cases where a student is physically impeded to travel any distance to complete his proficiency verification.

Video proficiency verifications must comply with the following requirements: (1) the whole session must be taken in one shot (clipping and editing is not permitted), (2) the picture must show the student and the animal clearly and at all times (for example, no zooming showing only the animal), (3) the video format must be mpg, mpeg or mp4 format, preferably 720 or higher resolution (max size for one file is 300 MB), (4) the video must start with a ten seconds recording of the session data sheet correctly filled in, and (5) the video file must not be longer than necessary.

The goal of all Proficiency Verifications (PV) of the Ethology Institute Cambridge is to verify that our students have the necessary knowledge and skills to handle and train animals, and to advise their owners. Therefore, we require that you show a high degree of understanding of animal behavior and a solid knowledge of animal learning theory. Moreover, you must also demonstrate excellent communication skills, subtlety, flexibility, and a good deal of empathy.

Proficiency Verifications are not exams or obedience contests. At the EIC, we do not care about exams and grades, and we do not deal with obedience. We are interested in good communication skills and the appropriate use of learning theory, so we show the animals, we train, the respect we believe they deserve.

We have created our Proficiency Verifications to include some of the most important skills necessary for animals and owners so that they may develop a satisfying relationship. Some of these skills are very basic and yet are consistently performed wrongly by owners as well as trainers resulting in behavior problems of various character and seriousness. Some skills are included to give us the opportunity to verify that you understand the principles of learning and behavior.

We base our approach to animal training on science applied with thoughtfulness. We require precision for it leads to the best results in the long term. Kindness and leniency (or sloppiness) are different matters. We promote and encourage the former, from ethical and scientific points of view, but not the latter. There are many ways to train any particular skill. You choose the one that best suits you and the animal you train, keeping in mind that whichever method you select, it must conform to sound science and a deep respect for all living organisms.

Procedure for taking a video Proficiency Verification

  1. Contact us at to get a tutor assigned.
  2. Contact your assigned tutor by Skype.
  3. Follow your tutor’s instructions.
  4. Upload your videos to our cloud (max size for one file is 300 MB).
  5. Your tutor will evaluate your videos and will give you suggestions to improvements, if necessary, and will approve your PV, once you have demonstrated the required proficiency.