What do the ISCP courses offer that makes them different to other courses?

The ISCP courses are globally accessible and approved, with students in over 34 countries. The diploma course gives in-depth information about how the dog’s mind works, why dogs behave as they do, and how you can use compassionate, force-free, science-based methods to successfully work with dogs with all kinds of behavioural issues. The 184 page diploma course textbook was written by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, the founder and principal of the ISCP, and is updated regularly to include new research. The course textbook takes you step by step towards developing a profound insight into the canine mind and dog behaviour, incorporating the latest scientific research results, and is easy to read and absorb.

This course encourages you to think about the principles of canine behaviour, and to write about and discuss your own thoughts, theories and findings. You will be learning through a combination of acquired information and practical application, and this will give you a sound foundation for your future work with dogs.

The ISCP provides a great deal of support, encouragement and prompt feedback, which our students tell us is a major positive factor for them during their studies. This support is ongoing post-graduation, and ISCP members also have the benefit of our monthly online webinars (which are recorded for future reference), regular newsletters, and stimulating discussions on our private Facebook group.

How does it work?

Your course files will be sent by email once you have enrolled with the ISCP, and you will be allocated a personal tutor who will guide and support you through your studies. If you enrol on the full diploma course you will be sent the paperback version of the course textbook, so that you can study from this or your PDF version. Your written coursework, some of which is based on practical work, will be sent by email to your tutor on completion of each unit, and your tutor will assess and return this to you and to our principal. After Unit 4 you will receive your Certificate in Canine Behaviour as a .jpg file. After Unit 11 you will receive your Intermediate Certificate in Canine Behaviour. After Unit 17 (your thesis) you’ll receive your Diploma as a .jpg file and your glossy printed diploma will be posted to you.

You can choose to study up to your level of interest, or you can study the diploma course in three stages if you’d rather spread the cost: certificate, intermediate and part 3 of the diploma.

Can I enrol on the course from anywhere in the world?

Yes, because the ISCP is globally approved as a training college and the diploma is accepted in all countries. As you will be studying from home, distance is no object. All you need is an internet connection and an understanding of English language. We have students and graduates all over the world, including England, Wales, Isle of Man, Scotland, Orkney, Northern Ireland, Eire, America, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Greece, Estonia, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Malta, Cyprus, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Poland, South Africa, Mauritius, Bahrain, Dubai, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia and Russia.

Do I need to have already studied dog behaviour in order to enrol on this course?

No, this is not necessary. Although some students are already qualified behaviourists or people involved in dog rescue who wish to further extend their knowledge, the course guides you through all aspects of canine behaviour so is also suitable for beginners.

I have already gained a qualification in canine behaviour. Can I use this as credits towards the ISCP diploma?

Yes, you can. This is tailored specifically for each individual. You can find out more about the diploma course as CPD here.

Do I need any particular qualifications in order to enrol on the course?

The only qualifications you need are an understanding of the English language, a desire to understand dogs, commitment to studying, and the application and self-discipline necessary to write the essays of up to 3,000 words that are required as part of your coursework at the end of each unit.

How many hours per week will I need to commit to studying and practical exercises?

The time you spend on studying each week depends on your circumstances. You may prefer to spend an hour or two in the evenings, or to use part of your weekends for study time.

How long will it take me to complete the course?

It will take you at least 360 hours to work through the full diploma course, so the length of time this will take depends on how many hours each week you can set aside for study. Some students complete the course within 6 months, while others take a year, or much longer, to work through the course.

Would I be able to do some of my practical study with a local rescue shelter?

This is encouraged and will be at the discretion of your local rescue centre. Many rescues are willing for students to work under supervision with dogs who need help, as this ultimately benefits the rescue as well as students. You can discuss case histories individually with your tutor if you need guidance, and can also share and discuss these with other students during the monthly webinars.

How will the monthly GoToWebinar seminars benefit me?

You will be linking up with the course principal and with graduates and students around the world, so the online seminars and meetings will be immensely useful. A subject is chosen for each meeting’s presentation, so you can gain further information about particular issues or aspects of dog behaviour. The webinars are led by our principal, course tutors, affiliates and guest experts who are working at the cutting edge of the dog behaviour field. Our GoToWebinars are recorded so that they can be watched at any time, and new students are sent links to the recordings of all previous webinars.

Can I set up my own practice as a Canine Behaviour Practitioner once I have qualified?

Yes, you can. The final units in the course explain how to do this, and advise you on important issues such as Public Liability Insurance. Most of our graduates have either launched their own successful behaviour practice or have been employed as behaviourist for a rescue charity.

Will I be able to apply to join any organisations or governing bodies during my studies and after I have qualified?

Yes, you will. All applications are considered according to the individual regulations and requirements of different organisations, and some organisations will only accept applications after a certain period of time has passed since you qualified. While you are studying with The ISCP you will be able to apply for Friends Membership of The Association of INTO Dogs. You can then apply for Full Membership of INTO Dogs once you have your ISCP Diploma. As INTO Dogs is a member of the Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC), you would then also benefit from the ABTC organisation membership.

You can apply to join Pet Dog Trainers of Europe (PDTE) as an Associate and then full Member. You can also apply to join Pet Professional Guild,  The National Register of Dog Trainers and Behaviourists and the CMA when you have gained your ISCP Diploma. You will need to prove that you have insurance in order to apply to join as a professional member of most organisations. 

Please be aware that the ISCP cannot guarantee that your application will be accepted, because acceptance of any organisation is at the discretion of their governing body. For instance, when you apply to join INTO Dogs and PDTE you will be required to answer a detailed questionnaire so that the organisation can be assured that you are committed to using only compassionate methods in your work with dogs.

I won’t be able to attend the in-person practical study day that is included in the course. Does this mean I can’t enrol, or qualify to complete the course?

You can gain your ISCP diploma without attending a practical study day, as this is not compulsory. We recommend attendance at a study day, if possible, because you will be working directly with dogs under the personal guidance of the course principal or a tutor, and this will be a valuable addition to your home study. As parts of the practical study days are recorded, students who were unable to attend can watch afterwards.

Will I have to pay extra to attend the practical study day?

No, you won’t. However, you will be required to arrange, and pay for, any accommodation and meals if you need to stay overnight. You’ll be given a list of places to stay, that you can choose from and book in advance.

If I decide not to continue my studies for any reason, can I get a refund on the course fee?

Students are sent the course files on enrolment, and once you have received these we cannot give a refund because the course materials are sent digitally and cannot be retrieved. However, you can opt to have a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period on enrolment. If you decide to have this, you will need to inform us by email to secretary@theiscp.com as soon as you enrol so that we can wait for 14 days before sending your course files.

Can I read an extract from the diploma coursebook before making the decision to enrol?

Here’s a short extract from the text in Unit 4: The Emotional and Mental Needs of the Dog

HOW DOGS READ OUR EMOTIONS

There is now scientific evidence that dogs are attuned to our emotional states and can ‘recognise’ our facial expressions and body language in ways that  have not been established for other species apart from our own. This is an ability that has evolved in dogs through their long association with us, and adds yet more proof to the close bond that exists between canines and humans.

When we meet a new person, or are trying to gauge a person’s state of mind and emotions, we adopt what’s called a ‘left gaze bias’, spending more time focusing on the other person’s right eye. One explanation is that this is because the right side of a person’s face is considered to reveal more about their emotional state.

Experiments carried out by Professor Daniel Mills, Dr Kun Guo, Dr Kerstin Meints and their team at the University of Lincoln have revealed that dogs also display a left gaze bias when looking at a human face. Interestingly, they have this most strongly with human faces, not with other dogs when both faces are neutrally emotional, and this indicates that they have developed a strong desire to interpret what we are feeling.

The ability to interpret our moods would be useful for dogs, and would have a distinct biological advantage. They know that it’s safe to approach if we are smiling or calm, and that it’s better to steer clear of us if our faces show signs of anger.

Dogs can also read the subtle cues that we give, even unconsciously, through our body language and through the scents caused by chemical changes that occur when we are nervous or afraid. This will be covered in Unit 6, which explains the language of the dog, and in Unit 12, when you explore how to deal with emotional issues in dogs.

Can you give an example of the coursework assignments?

Yes, here is the coursework assignment for Unit 4: The Emotional and Mental Needs of the Dog

COURSEWORK (write up to 3,000 words in total)

Which emotions have you noticed in dogs you have known? How did the dogs express those emotions?

What is the bonding hormone? Why is it important?

What is the left gaze bias, and why do dogs use this?

Describe the dog’s primary emotional needs.

List four visible signs each of a happy and unhappy dog.

Why do dogs need mental stimulation?

How can I find out more about the course units?

You can read the basic outline of each unit here.

How can I enrol on the diploma course?

You can enrol on this page. If you are involved with a rescue, you can enrol through this page to gain a 50% discount on the course fee. Your completed enrolment form will be sent to us (please ensure you have typed in the correct email address), and we will send your course files as soon as we receive this. Your course files consist of your welcome letter that explains the study process, a PDF version of your course textbook, a list of recommended books, a case study form, a list of recordings of previous webinars, and your ISCP charter. Diploma course students are also sent a paperback version of the course textbook by snail mail.

I volunteer for a rescue. Will I qualify for the rescue discount on the course fee?

If you’re in any way involved with a rescue, whether you help out with fostering, dog walking, assessments, transport runs, vet runs, or in any other capacity, you’ll qualify for a 50% discount on the course fee. You can then enrol through our dedicated rescue page.