Foundation Mechanical Skills Program

Teaching our non-human animal learners is presented in all sorts of ways, but for us, the central focus must be on the learner.

Learning is stressful; think of stress as challenges that the body and brain face. But that doesn’t mean our learners should be exposed to any extra stress during learning. How we teach is a welfare issue.

Often times our learners are blamed, but as teachers, we take on responsibility for our skills and the effects that has on our learners. This course starts your journey of recognising the importance of your skills and knowledge for your learner’s welfare.

"Mechanical" refers to the application of tools and skills; it doesn't mean cold or unfeeling! You must acquire such smoothness and efficiency with these teaching skills to allow us to give all our attention to our learner's comfort, and the environmental conditions under which behaviours happen. 

The Mechanics of Teaching includes the skills you need to teach cleanly and efficiently. This involves you being able to handle your learner, set up an appropriate learning environment, monitor the environment to maintain safety, monitor your learner to ensure their comfort, all while making sure that your behaviour allows your learner to develop behaviours that you are teaching and develop pleasant associations with the learning process. That’s a lot of multi-tasking!

To be able to do that, your behaviour, i.e. the signals you send to your learner, must be well practiced so that you can monitor everything else!

Most of the time, when we are talking mechanics, we are talking about how cleanly you present training stimuli; signals that help your learner develop the behaviours you are teaching. This is a complicated business and most people believe that you have this as some sort of ‘natural’ skillset. That’s not true. Teaching is first about developing mechanics that anyone can learn, with practice.

This program is all about you and your mechanics, rather than your learner. The danger with that is that you can become a little robotic, but that’s ok at this stage. Once you have mechanics drilled and underway, you can begin to inject some more personality into your teaching interactions. Get your mechanics drilled first!

Your mechanical skill gets your knowledge and experience from your head translated into your body movements.
But you don’t develop any of your skills in isolation. Your knowledge and understanding, your observation skills and your mechanical skills develop, each supporting one another.

Bob Bailey says, “Training is a mechanical skill! It is what you do, not what you think or know, that counts.

Goals of this course: 

  • emphasise your arrangement of the learning environment to maximise learning and minimise stress for your learner
  • to develop skills in the fundamentals of reinforcement
  • using a clicker as secondary reinforcement & enhance your mechanical skills
  • learn to give your learner control
  • develop fundamental teaching skills
  • start to become an effective teacher

You get:

  • 24/7 access to the course online area, from anywhere, for four months
  • multiple media learning resources for viewing and downloading
  • comment facility at the online course area for participation, enquiries, interactions
  • access to a private Facebook group for real-time feedback and guidance
  • regular live online meetings scheduled to suit group participants
  • ongoing online interaction with fellow-students and your tutor as we take this journey of discovery together

Submission of final assessment work is optional but you are encouraged to work through assessment and self-evaluation to support knowledge development and skill building.
As this is a self-paced course, the level of participation is up to you. There may be times when you are more available and other times when you have less availability. Obviously, to get the full benefit, we encourage the fullest possible participation.

After successfully submitting completed final assessment work, you will be awarded an AniEd certificate of achievement.

Course Details: 


You can start this course any time and dive right in. This is a self-paced course so once you complete enrolment, we will send you access details to the online course area and you will be good to go!


Anywhere, any time! This course is entirely online so you can participate when and where you like….from your sofa…in your PJs…
You will have access to all the course materials to download to your device so you can work even without an internet connection.


All our courses are evidence based but as this is a foundation level course, this information is presented in a very digestible manner, split into bite-size chunks to support your progressing through the coursework.

Although these foundation mechanics are not the sexy-stuff, and application of these skills is sorely lacking in the training & behaviour industries.

This course is essential for those starting out and entering professional training, but may also be eye-opening for those already working with dogs.

We take a reinforcement based approach to teaching, but this course is not a place for ‘trainer-wars’. These are the foundations to teaching, regardless of dogma.

How long? 

This is a self-paced course and you will have access to the online course area for 4 months. We don't put pressure on learners about deadlines so this is individual and can be discussed with each learner. 

How much?

This course costs €150. 
You can pay the entire fee or via an agreed payment plan. Payment & terms details here
Course fees must be paid in full before you can access the online area. Please read the terms at application carefully before committing as there are no refunds, full or partial, for any reason, after you have been given access to course materials. 

What will I learn about? 

This course program is all about your skills acquisition, so there are plenty of practical games for you to practice!

This program is made up of three course components that you work through largely at the same time.

Course Content includes:


Component 1: Set-Up for Success!

  • no extra stress for your learner
  • session set up
  • session planning
  • reinforcers & reinforcement
  • the learner is in control
  • introduction to the A-B-C of learning

Component 2: Clicker Mechanics

  • learning is in the environment
  • mechanics of reinforcement
  • clicker mechanics

Component 3: Fundamentals

  • fundamental teaching skills
  • effective teaching

If you’re ready to go, we would love to have you!

Once payment has been received, you will be provided with course access. There are no refunds, whole or partial, available for course fees once you have been provided with access to the online course area.

Ethos & Transparency

AniEd provides pet-owner services too. We apply these same skills and knowledge on a daily basis with our human clients and their dogs.

Our approach is needs based; the dog’s behaviour tells us about their behavioural needs. We recognise the dog’s behaviours, even those which are problematic for owners, as being indicative of behavioural needs that must be addressed. This includes ethological considerations particularly in relation to breed/type & selection related needs.  

We take primarily a functional approach – what does the dog gain by doing unwanted behaviour, what do they lose when we manage, what can we teach in place?…and so on. What skills does this dog need to be able to live in their world, access reinforcers and experience a high standard of welfare?

We recognise the importance of assessment of the topography of behaviour, particularly signaling, as indicators of the dog’s emotional responses and affective states, while also emphasising an understanding of the contexts and conditions under which behaviours happen.

Tinbergen’s Four Problems forms part of the basis for our ethological analysis of behaviour. Functional behavioural assessment (FBA) and where possible, Functional Analysis (FA), will form the approach to analysis of behaviour and best interventions.  

We recognise that behaviour is often problematic for people and that when it impacts the animal’s physical health/welfare beyond environmental intervention, veterinary/medical collaboration is required.

Our programs emphasise owner-support and education, recognising the importance of their participation in maintaining and improving the welfare of their dog. The owners’ needs and participation are recognised as central to applying our programs, and developing relationships between pets, owners, and professionals.

All of this is further discussed during the course.

Once payment has been received, you will be provided with course access. There are no refunds, whole or partial, available for course fees once you have been provided with access to the online course area.