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Student Guidelines © The ISCP Ltd





© The ISCP Ltd. This is the intellectual property of The International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour Ltd

Author: June Pennell, ISCP Vice-Principal

There are lots of things you will need to consider when starting your studies with the ISCP. Many of our students have studied recently so are familiar with what to do and how to get started on our course. However, if you have not studied for a while, you may feel you are a little out of practice. Don’t worry, that is all perfectly normal!

The good news is that the introductory coursework for the diploma is designed to help you get started, it is all about you and the dogs you have lived with and loved. A subject you will know in detail so I don’t think you will have any trouble getting started and completing that essay. The rest may need more planning and effort.


  1. Getting prepared

Time management

Try to get yourself organised, develop a system for yourself. It is so easy to start reading everything you come across on Facebook, in books, and watch everything that comes up on a search. YouTube and the internet are fabulous resources, but they can also be great time wasters. There is so much information out there, so you will need to try and find a way of screening out what is not needed right now, not needed for this Unit. We all get distracted and realise that the time we had put aside has just disappeared, so a little discipline with your time will help you enormously.

Work out what free time you have and what needs to be done. Plan in your sessions if you can. You could set up a study diary like this one.


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


You won’t always stick to it, as life has a habit of interfering with all our plans, but it is better to have a plan than not.

You could break down what you need to do for each Unit into smaller parts so individual sessions could be ‘reading’, ‘make notes’, ‘consider reading a recommended book on the topic’, ‘do research on the internet’, ‘plan my answers’, ‘write first draft of the coursework’, ‘decide which research I would like to include and how I will reference it’, ‘write second draft’, and ‘review answers before submission’. Additional ones might be contact other students’, ‘read this week’s posts on Facebook’, and don’t forget to plan in time to ‘write my study plan for the next Unit’.

Of course, you may need more than one of each of these categories and that’s fine. I can’t tell you the number of times I rewrote my answers until I was satisfied it was good enough to submit to my tutor.


Setting up your study area

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I can’t study when someone else is in the room, moving around, making noise or worse switching on the TV! We are all different of course, but at the very least I think you will need an area you can call your own. Your study area. Somewhere you can leave your books open, your PC at the right height (think ergonomically correct), your notepad accessible for those moments of inspiration when you just have to write down something you want to include in your coursework. It should have good lighting and temperature control. I know it isn’t always possible to get all of these ideal conditions but try to get some of them and find somewhere you feel comfortable.

Then once all that is done all you need is the enthusiasm to get started on Unit 1!


  1. Getting started

What is expected of you?

We want you to think through the principles and ideas presented in the coursework file, to research and read widely on the subject, to provide references when you quote from text that you have read in the file or elsewhere, and to form and express your own opinions and theories based on your personal experiences with dogs.

Although the diploma is a level 5 course overall, it is structured so that the level of difficulty increases as you move through the course. Units 1-4 are Level 3, Units 5 to 11 are Level 4, and Units 12 to 17 are Level 5. Your tutor will help you build your skills as you progress through the diploma.

Each Unit starts off with the Unit’s Learning Outcomes and you should use these as a guide when studying and preparing your coursework.

Your writing should be:

  • Planned and focused: answers the question and demonstrates an understanding of the subject;
  • Structured: is coherent, written in a logical order, and brings together related points and material;
  • Evidenced: demonstrates knowledge of the subject area, supports opinions and arguments with evidence, and is referenced accurately;
  • Presented well: be organised, have good grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Word count:

  • Each Unit requires you to write between 1,000 and 3,000 words. The coursework for some Units has multiple questions and for these, it would be more usual to be closer to the top end of the word count requirement.

Reading and your reading strategy

We all read for pleasure but reading as part of your studies is different. You may want to take notes and jot down your thoughts about what you are reading. Do you agree with what you have read, or do you have a different opinion? Have you undertaken any additional research about what you have just read? It may help to make a note of these things while you are reading each Unit. You will need the additional research sources for your reference list when you come to submit your work to your tutor.

As for your reading strategy, this might be as simple as deciding to read the whole of the coursework file before going back to Unit 1 and working on your coursework. It could be that you need to work out what is the best time and best place for you to do your reading, making sure you have your pen and paper to hand for making notes.

One thing I recommend you read more than once is the coursework question. I would recommend that you add it to the top of your coursework so you can refer to it and ask yourself “have I actually answered the question?”.


Note taking

You may want to bullet point important ideas or concepts or set up a new heading for each area that you want to include in your work. You could then add in more detail as you are reading more about the subject. One good way of making notes is to mind-map your thoughts and this is a link to a quick guide to mind mapping if you have not used this method before. Other methods might be to have index cards for each subject and build up the information on the cards as you read more books or online articles. I’m sure you will find the way that is best for you.


Planning your answer

Spend some time interpreting the question and deciding how to tackle your coursework. Once you have a clear idea of what is required, you can start planning your research and gathering evidence. Creating a plan as mentioned above will help you to ensure you have enough time to complete a high-quality piece of work.

Break down your assignment into manageable tasks and deadlines. Some of your planning activities may include:

  • searching for information and finding material;
  • reading and note-making;
  • drafting and writing;
  • editing and proofreading.


  1. Your coursework

Your thoughts and opinions

More than anything else we want you to tell us your thoughts on the subjects featured in the coursework questions and for you to explain why you hold these opinions. Give details of the research you have undertaken and explain your personal experiences that support, or dispute, what you have read.

In any academic writing it is important to be concise. This helps your tutor understand the points you are making. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Only include one main idea per sentence.
  • Keep your sentences to a reasonable length (generally not more than 25 words). Long sentences can be difficult to follow, and this may distract from your point.
  • Avoid repetition.


Focus on one Unit at a time

You will be expected to have successfully completed each Unit’s coursework assignment before moving on the next Unit. This is important as the feedback you receive from your tutor may have an impact on the work you do for future Units.

Your work should be submitted as a Word or PDF document. Your tutor will acknowledge receipt of your work and will endeavour to provide feedback within 10 days.



It is important that you provide evidence of any ideas you have included in your work. Any academic writing must be supported by evidence such as data, facts, quotations, arguments, research, and theories. This evidence will:

  • add substance to your own ideas;
  • allow your tutor to see what has informed your thinking;
  • demonstrate your understanding of the general concepts and theories on the topic;
  • show you have researched widely and know about specialist/niche areas of interest.

There are several methods that you can use to incorporate other people’s work into your own written work. These are:

  • paraphrasing;
  • summarising;
  • synthesising;
  • quoting.

If you need help with referencing, there are many simple guides produced by universities, just search ‘simple guide to Harvard referencing’. Referencing helps you explain how the information you found in books or online has helped you to develop your own arguments, ideas and opinions.

Academic writing is concise, clear, formal and active. It does not need to be complex or use long sentences and obscure vocabulary.


Plagiarism & Referencing

The ISCP takes plagiarism very seriously and if you are found to be using other people’s work you will be penalised and may even fail the course. Please take some time to ensure that your work is your own and referenced correctly.

Plagiarism is defined as ‘the act of representing work or ideas as one’s own without appropriate acknowledgement or referencing’.

Most university regulations define four main types:

  • Direct copying of text from a book, article, fellow students’ essays, hand-out, thesis, web page or other source without proper acknowledgement.
  • Claiming individual ideas derived from a book, article, etc., as one’s own, and incorporating them into one’s work without acknowledging the source of these ideas. This includes paraphrasing a source, or altering the material taken from the source so it appears to be one’s own work.
  • Overly depending on the work of one or more others without proper acknowledgement of the source, by constructing an essay, project, etc. by extracting large sections of text from another source, and merely linking these together with a few of one’s own sentences.
  • The re-submission or re-use of the student’s own work in another assignment.

Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional; both are categorised as Academic Misconduct and can carry severe penalties. At the lowest level, ‘inadequate referencing or paraphrasing’ or ‘a very minor amount of unattributed copying based on misunderstanding’ is regarded as ‘Poor Academic Practice’ and can lead to receiving a formal warning and/or being awarded a mark of zero for the coursework. More serious cases of plagiarism can lead to permanent exclusion from the ISCP.

Together with good intentions and honesty, mastering the skills of citing and referencing allows you to avoid accusations of plagiarism, and to have confidence in the integrity of your work.

Academic writing requires you to acknowledge the sources of all your information, ideas and arguments. This may be a skill that you are acquiring for the first time so your tutor will help you develop this skill during Units 1 to 2. After that you will be expected to reference properly throughout the rest of the course.


Resubmission of coursework

Our tutors use set marking criteria for each coursework assignment. If you have missed out important information from your coursework your tutor will explain which areas need to be expanded upon, and you will be asked to make the necessary changes and resubmit your work. We allow one resubmission per unit, and if you are asked to resubmit your coursework your tutor will include their usual feedback notes to guide you. Our Resubmission Policy is provided below.


  1. Your qualification

The qualification you will gain through successfully completing this course is the International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour Ltd Diploma in Canine Behaviour. You will be able to use the letters ISCP Dip.Canine.Prac. after your name on graduation.

Before receiving your diploma, you will be asked to sign the ISCP Charter which you will find in your welcome pack. This is your agreement with us to only use compassionate methods when working with dogs and their caretakers, to maintain client confidentiality, to adhere to the ethics of the ISCP Ltd, and to seek advice from your tutor if you find that you need help with a behaviour case.


  1. The future after graduation

Don’t forget that you will continue to learn more about dogs every day. Dogs are expert teachers. Your Continued Professional Development (CPD) is important to us and we hope that once you have graduated from your current course, you will stay involved with our Facebook groups where we share details of new research published as well as upcoming workshops and seminars. We also hope that as part of your CPD you will consider enrolling on one of our other courses.

Finally, even after graduation try to remember these wise words “However much we know, the dogs always have something to teach us. Dogs are the only real experts on dogs!” Lisa Tenzin-Dolma.

So, all that is required now is for you to get started. Don’t forget that your tutor is there to help you. Enjoy and good luck!





The ISCP Resubmission of Work Guide Students

Copyright The ISCP Ltd. This is the intellectual property of The International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour Ltd 


If you are asked to resubmit an assignment, it may mean one of two things:

  1. Your tutor thinks you could get a higher mark if you spend more time and improve the assignment.
  2. The tutor cannot pass the assignment as it is but is allowing you to redo it and resubmit it for a pass grade only.

Either way, it can be disappointing to have to redo an assignment. However, at least you have the chance to learn from your mistakes and achieve at least a pass grade. Make the most of this opportunity and try to see it as part of the learning process.



  • Think about why you are having to resubmit the assignment. Did you fail to answer the question? Was it because of unclear expression?
  • Go through the tutor’s comments on the essay. Make a list of things to change.
  • Examine the assessment criteria, (question). Which areas need the most work? Do you understand what they mean?



  • Where is your voice? (You have only referred to other people’s ideas. What do you think? This can be clear from the way you build up the argument. Maybe you have not built up an argument, or expressed a point of view?)
  • Where is your evidence? (You have not included any references.)
  • Conclusion needs work. (Your conclusion may be weak; it may not adequately sum up the main points; it may not clearly reflect how the topic has been addressed. If you think about your conclusion first, during the planning stage, you will naturally build up to it during the essay.)
  • Doesn’t address the question. (Analyse exactly what the question is asking. Are all your points connected to this?)
  • Rewrite paragraph 2 to include theory X.



  • Many resubmissions result from rushing an assignment. Consider how you manage your time. Does anything need to change?
  • Think about your study habits. Do you spend too long researching, and not enough time writing? Are you scared to begin your essay because it seems too overwhelming?

Your tutor can help with all your study skills questions, including reading, planning, writing and time management. If you have a resubmission to do, you can make an individual appointment to see your tutor via Zoom or Skype.





Copyright The ISCP Ltd. This is the intellectual property of The International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour Ltd 

These are specific to the diploma and each course will have their own learning outcomes. However, these are excellent examples of the types of learning outcomes all courses will include. Please note that the Learning Outcomes inform you of what you are expected to know on completion of each unit. It is not necessary to include all of these in your coursework, but they should form a useful guide when you write your thesis. As always. if you require further information please email!


By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the processes of tameness and domestication of dogs
  • Analyse the role of the silver fox experiment
  • Define ancestry and evolution in the context of theories outlined in the course text
  • Link different theories and conclude what they think is the most likely evolutionary process
  • Identify and list juvenile traits
  • Describe the group dynamics of companion dogs compared to feral dogs



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Analyse and describe basic character traits
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences between introverts and extroverts
  • Accurately describe the process of imprinting
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of classic and operant conditioning and describe how these work
  • Apply knowledge of dog breeds, roles and instincts to human-canine relationships



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Analyse and describe basic physical needs
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of diets
  • Distinguish between parasites and their effects
  • Describe the discovery of genetic links to certain diseases



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Apply the discoveries from fMRI scans to demonstrate an understanding of dog emotions
  • Evaluate the emotional needs of dogs
  • Describe the chemical, physical and emotional influences on dog-human bonding
  • Apply an understanding of how to meet emotional needs



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Define the term Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
  • Describe what cognition is and how it is relevant to behaviour
  • Assess which communication skills are effective
  • Summarize how to boost intelligence
  • Appraise the term Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ)
  • Distinguish between emotions and apply to the work appropriately
  • Examine the links between dogs and children
  • List four skills and aptitudes of emotional intelligence
  • Describe how to increase emotional intelligence



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Assess and analyse canine communication
  • Distinguish canine emotions through body language
  • Analyse and interpret canine vocal communication
  • Describe the more subtle forms of canine communication
  • Evaluate the purpose of scent rubbing
  • Discuss how human body language can be used as a mode of communication



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Describe calm guidance and positive stewardship
  • Evaluate the difference between boundaries, not punishment
  • Assess different rewards and their uses
  • Construct a plan using redirection
  • Examine the purpose of teaching incompatible behaviours
  • List ten calming signals
  • Describe the term good guardianship
  • Assess causes of behavioural issues and formulate a plan of work
  • Compare unconscious and conscious conditioning



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Argue why ‘dominance’ methods are damaging
  • Discuss the scientific definition of dominance
  • Summarize the rules of good guardianship
  • Examine why dogs disobey or are unable to comply
  • Describe the changes within the adolescent dog and evaluate his or her needs
  • Describe the changes within the elderly dog and evaluate his or her needs
  • State how to enlist a dog’s cooperation



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the difference between normal and abnormal behaviour
  • Argue the reasons for specific behaviours
  • Illustrate the dog’s perspective
  • Assess how a dog’s experience may differ to a human one



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • List differences between confident, pushy and sensitive dogs
  • Assess the dog’s status and apply it in their work
  • Describe active submission
  • Describe passive submission and compare to active submission
  • Compare different personalities
  • Assess the changes in dog dynamics
  • Formulate techniques to defuse tension between dogs
  • Summarize how to teach a dog to relax and trust



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Describe the stages of life from puppyhood to puberty, to maturity, to old age and evaluate needs
  • Evaluate the perceived issues relating to stages of life and describe how to work with these
  • Examine how hormones might affect behaviour
  • Summarize pregnancy, birth and postpartum needs
  • Illustrate how to support elderly dogs



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Summarize emotions and emotional issues
  • Describe how to address the following emotional issues using a proposed plan and methods:

o Fear issues

o Aggression issues

o Fear-aggression issues

o Anger issues

o Nervousness and anxiety

o Depression

o Grief

o Jealousy

o Hyperactivity

o Hyperkinesis

o Canine Compulsive Disorder

o Excessive attachment

  • Examine how environmental influences may affect behaviour and treatment
  • Define terms used in behaviour modification



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate and discuss the use of different allopathic drug groups:

o Benzodiazepines

o Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

o Tricyclic Antidepressants

o Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

  • Evaluate and discuss the use of different alternative and complementary therapies:

o Homeopathy

o Bach Flower Remedies

o Acupuncture

o Tellington TTouch®

o The Bowen Technique

o Reiki



 By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Propose the reasons for relinquishment to rescue
  • Examine life in kennels
  • Describe rehoming processes
  • Support caregivers to settle in a newly adopted dog
  • Illustrate how they might alleviate health issues
  • Describe the dog’s perspective through a rehoming process
  • Evaluate adoption, fostering and sponsored fostering



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Describe issues surrounding elderly dogs
  • List the contributing factors affecting health, wellbeing and lifespan
  • Plan how to meet the needs of the elderly dog
  • Evaluate the changes to exercise, health and diet required for elderly dogs
  • Define Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
  • Examine issues involved with euthanasia and death
  • Compare ways to support bereaved clients



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Define UK dog law
  • Summarize the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
  • Examine the amendment to The Dangerous Dogs Act in 2014 and its implications
  • Describe Section 2 of The Dogs Act 1871
  • Evaluate and critique Breed Specific Legislation
  • List the dog laws in your country of residence



By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Employ their knowledge in developing an area of research
  • Employ their knowledge by evaluating a case study and formulating an appropriate treatment plan
  • Critique methods used, examine theories and argue why certain techniques are preferred
  • Create a thesis of a high standard which demonstrates the application of their learning




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