International Programme for Applied Canine Studies 1 (IPACS 1) - In-depth Dog Behaviour Course


In Rugeley

£ 2,250 VAT inc.


  • Typology

    Intensive workshop

  • Level


  • Location


  • Class hours


  • Duration

    18 Months

  • Start



The International Programme for Applied Canine Studies (IPACS) is a quality, professional, attendance based course.

Dog-related courses are widely available, but behaviour is often dealt with theoretically or through correspondence courses, and few address the implementation of practical skills in any detail. Many continue to advocate out-dated methods. Huge advances have been made in animal behaviour and psychology in recent years, including the understanding of the link between body and mind, and physical and mental health. The whole approach of the IPACS is unlike any other: it is an up-to-date, applied educational programme which has at its core not the method, nor what the trainer or behaviourist “wants”, but the needs and individuality of each dog and owner.

Behaviour, communication, handling and health go hand-in-hand. Often the indications of problem behaviour and stress are targeted for modification, ignoring the underlying causes. Students are given the opportunity to work hands-on with guidance in applied animal behaviour, applying the knowledge, processes and procedures taught during this course.

The IPACS offers -
• Renowned for its unique practical approach to handling and canine behaviour
• Mixture of ground-breaking theory and practical work.
• Attendance based over approx.18 months (10 blocks of 4 days tuition - 40 days tuition in total)
• The option to bring your own dog as a case study
• No specific entry requirements just a willingness to learn.
• Different approach to understanding your dog through developing skills, trust and enhancing relationships
• In-house certificate of attendance
• Opportunity to submit work for an accreditation with OCN(WMR) at level 4 (equivalent to 1st year of a degree)

Important information


  • Short IPACS Prospectus (Full version available from our website)




Rugeley (Staffordshire)
See map


01 Aug 2021Now taking bookings

To take into account

The programme aims to help provide students with a good understanding of dog behaviour, training and canine communication and to encourage an empathy for the dog. Handling and recognition of the dog’s needs are of paramount importance. Course Content: 1 Body Language & Communication 2 Life Balance 3 Practical Handling Skills 4 Relationships & Natural Abilities 5 The Holistic Approach 6 Learning Principles 7 Life Stages 8 Teaching & Life Skills 9 Problem Solving & Behaviour Problems 10 Development and Review Practical work does not exclusively imply working with dogs, and includes planning and working through case studies is a part of the majority of areas of study. Students will be expected to participate in group and pair assignments with or without dogs.

Anyone from pet owners who want to understand their own dogs to professionals working within canine industries. Through attending the IPACS you should gain insight into how dogs communicate and an understanding of their behaviour. Whether you wish to have a better relationship with your dog, gain tools for overcoming problem behaviour, whether you are active in handling dogs on a day to day basis, or wish to work towards a more professional approach to teaching or behaviour counselling, this course will give you sound information to help you achieve your goals, along with an independent accreditation.

The only qualifications for entry are an open mind and a willingness to participate and to learn. Previous knowledge and experience will be beneficial but are not pre-requisites for admission.

You will receive a certificate of attendance. You will also have the opportunity to submit work for an accreditation by the Open College Network OCN(WMR) at level 4 (equivalent to 1st year of a degree). Attendance-based, this part-time course leads to study at either Level 3 or 4 in order to fill the demand for an in-depth nationally recognised course, and especially one with a practical, hands-on bias.

The International Programme for Applied Canine Studies (IPACS) course is unique in its holistic approach to behaviour, psychology and ethology. There is a strong practical bias which consolidates much of the theoretical learning, where teaching real life skills is of paramount importance. It is an up-to-date, applied educational programme which has at its core the needs of each individual dog and owner. You can bring your own dog for practical work and as a case study. This is an outstanding and unique course which is widely recognised as giving students a sound basis in applied canine behaviour.

We will contact you with the information that you have requested and offer any assistance and help that you need to decide if our course is for you.

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  • Dog Handling
  • Dog behaviour
  • Dog
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Approach
  • Quality
  • International
  • Quality Training
  • Communication Training
  • Lead Handling
  • Dog Communication
  • Dog Body Language
  • Holistic
  • Train to be a Dog Bahaviourist
  • Working with Dogs
  • Dog Activities
  • Canine Stress and Anxiety
  • Dog walking
  • Dog training
  • Dog Health

Teachers and trainers (2)

Sheila Harper

Sheila Harper

Tutor B.Ed, BA

Winny Boerman

Winny Boerman


Course programme

Format of the IPACS 1

Please note: We are in the process of changing the format of this course to a mixture of theoretical (online) and attendance based practical. The outline below is from a previous prospectus, but should serve to give you an idea of the kind of content to expect when our brand new course begins towards the end of 2021.
We are updating this course to give insight into the innovative area of skill-based learning for dogs and owners. This includes improving dogs' natural communication with other dogs and people, social skills, problem solving skills and self-control to name but a few.
If you are interested please contact us for updated information

This popular course is intended to address the demand for an in-depth nationally recognised course that focuses on the practical aspects of training and behaviour as well as the theoretical. It is a multi-disciplinary course normally taken over a 1 ½ year period, with some flexibility in the study period to sensitively consider student circumstances and unforeseen events. Students can if they wish, work towards a formally recognised accreditation provided by the Open College Network or may, if they prefer, attend the course simply to gain an in-house certificate of attendance.

Programme Structure

The programme comprises ten areas of study, each of specific subject content in its own right, with a strong behavioural emphasis. Irrespective of the level, delivery of the course content is the same.

The units are structured so that canine communication and stress are dealt with at an early stage, as these are critical to student development and feature in all four assessment areas. The programme then focuses on learning techniques and training methods. These basic skills are subsequently applied to canine development and general problems that arise. Following this the programme broadens into behaviour counselling, which requires a good understanding of previous units. The programme concludes with information on delivering knowledge to the public through instruction and classes.

Each area of study builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous one.


Although each seminar comprises self-contained topic areas there is a progression, building upon behaviour and training knowledge acquired. It is preferred that students complete the entire course in sequence. However, those missing a particular seminar may have another opportunity to make up the gaps in their knowledge at a later date.

Current students come from a variety of backgrounds – from pet owners to professionals working full time with dogs, frequently travelling from other European countries.

A range of practical and theoretical issues will be covered, and therefore student numbers will be strictly limited.

This course is offered as an accredited course in the United Kingdom. The course is also run in other countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

Course Content

This is the proposed outline of the course; however the sequence may be flexible with changes made at our discretion.

1: Body Language & Communication

(Study type: Theoretical bias)

· Canine observation

· Understanding the escalation towards signs of fear, defence & “aggression”

· An introduction to ethology and instincts

Main Tutor: Sheila Harper

2: Life Balance

(Study type: Theoretical bias)

· The physiology of stress

· Recognition and causes of health & behaviour issues

· Influences on physical & mental health

· Getting back into balance

Main Tutor: Sheila Harper

3: Practical Handling Skills

(Study type: Practical bias)

· General handling and awareness

· Lead work

· Handling for problem solving

· Preventing aggression & defensive behaviours

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

4: Relationships and Natural Abilities

(Study type: Practical bias)

· The dog’s senses

· The dog’s viewpoint. Life rewards.

· Confidence building, creativity and environment enrichment

· Nose work and mental stimulation

· Building relationships

5: The Holistic Approach

(Study type: Theoretical & Practical)

· Assessing dogs

· Movement, nutrition, health issues

· Complementary health

· Handling for administering therapies & general care

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

6: Learning Principles

(Study type: mixed, practical with case studies)

· Questioning the purpose of training

· Critical evaluation of what is really being learnt

· Practical applications of learning theory

· Understanding rewards: their use and abuse

· Implications of operant conditioning

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

7: Life Stages

(Study type: mixed, practical with case studies)

· The role of the breeder

· Social and behavioural development

· Associated issues

· Puppies, adolescents, mature dogs, and older dogs

· Programmes for quality socialisation

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

8: Teaching and Life Skills

(Study type: mixed, practical with case studies)

· Teaching and people skills

· Curriculum content

· Planning and running classes, expectations and compromise

· Needs of dog and owner

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

9: Problems Solving and Behaviour Problems

(Study type: mixed, practical with case studies)

· Causes, indications and consequences of behaviour problems

· First steps towards solving problems

· Canine skills for conflict solving

· Behaviour modification and the holistic approach

· Therapy and rehabilitation

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

10: Development and Review (Study type: Practical bias but mixed with some theory and with case studies)

· Planning and executing suitable social walks

· Problem solving

· Stopping techniques

· Counselling skills and information gathering

· Case histories and their systematic evaluation

Tutors: Sheila Harper & Winny Boerman

International Programme for Applied Canine Studies 1 (IPACS 1) - In-depth Dog Behaviour Course

£ 2,250 VAT inc.