Learn to decode animal behaviour and improve your animal management skills!
How do horses show fear? What's the difference in horse perception and dog perception? Why are some animals so keyed to changes in smell?
In this course, you'll study the biological foundations of how animals think and act. Learning the differences between innate, native, and conditioned behaviours, you'll build a solid understanding of how to work with your animals rather than against them. Understanding animal communication -- and the differences between communication and language -- will also help you interpret emotional responses, needs, and more. Excellent for wildlife workers and rehabilitators, trainers, agriculturalists, vet assistants, pet care workers, and more.
This course has eight lessons. Each lesson has a corresponding online self-assessment test.
Lesson 1: Introduction to Animal Behaviour
Interpreting Animal Behaviour
Descriptions of Animal Behaviour
Factors that Influence Behaviour
Additional Reading (Goats, Cats, Dogs)
Lesson 2: Animal Perception and Cognition
Additional Reading (Animal Perception, Types of Stimuli)
Lesson 3: Innate or Native Behaviours
Fixed Action Patterns
Innate Releasing Mechanisms
Other Eating and Drinking Adaptations
Additional Reading (Feeding Cats, Dog and Cat Obesity, Sexual Behaviour, What Animals Eat)
Lesson 4: How Animals Learn
What is the Point of Learning?
Types of Animal Learning
Environment and Learning
How Instincts and Learnt
Behaviour are Related
Additional Reading (Why Animals Learn, Equine Behaviour, Conditioning)
Lesson 5: Specific Types of Animal Behaviour
Additional Reading (Social Behaviours, Horse Temperament, Aggression in Dogs)
Lesson 6 How Animals Communicate
What is Communication?
Types of Animal Communication
Do Animals Understand Human Language?
How Animals Communicate
Additional Reading (Communication in Dogs, Understanding Cat Behaviour)
Lesson 7 Animal Mentality
Additional Reading (Dog Depression, Bird Behaviour Problems, Five Ways to Ensure a Happy Pet)
Lesson 8 Managing Animal Behaviour
Our Need to Manage Animal Behaviour
Why Do We Domesticate Animals?
Canines - Managing their Behaviour
Felines - Domestic and Wild Cats
Equines - Training Horses
Wild Animals in Captive Environments
Additional Reading (Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation, Dog Problems)
What is the point of animals learning?
Animals learn to exist independently.
Animals can learn. A guinea pig will learn that it is about to be fed when its cage door opens. A cat learns that it is going to be fed when it hears the cat food box being opened. A dog learns that the noise of the leash or lead means it is going for a walk. These are examples of a simple form of learning - classical conditioning. In each case the animal has learnt to associate a particular stimulus with a particular outcome.
Some animals are also able to learn more complex tasks. Consider guide dogs who lead people with visual impairments through our busy and complex world. But what do we mean by learning? This is not easy to answer. Some researchers argue that it is not possible to have a single, generalised definition of learning - but a general definition is any behaviour which is modified by experience. There are many different types of learning.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO LEARN ABOUT ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR?
People live in a world filled with animals and we need to understand animal behaviour in order to better manage all sorts of situations, for example:
- Pets can enhance the life of a person or family - especially if they behave in the way you desire. However, an uncontrollable pet can make life a misery.
- Pest animals can at best become an inconvenience, and at worst, be destructive, transmit diseases and become a serious annoyance.
- Domesticated farm animals can be more productive, and the farm easier to manage, if the animals behave the way you desire.
- Some wild animals (e.g. large carnivores or animals that carry diseases) can be dangerous to human wellbeing and life.
- Some feral animals can threaten wildlife.
- Breeders of pets, threatened species, etc. need to understand sexual behaviour in order to better manage the reproduction and the offspring produced.
- Zoo keepers need to understand animal behaviour in order to detect signs of health issues, to manage feeding, etc.
- Wildlife photographers are better able to photograph wildlife when they understand animal behaviour.
- Ecotourism operators need to understand animal behaviour in order to best plan and conduct tours.
- Working dog trainers need to understand dog mentality to enable them to better train dogs for helping people who are blind, or who have hearing difficulties.
- Horse trainers will use their understanding of animal behaviour to enable them to train their horses better.
Of course, there are many more reasons besides these. Understanding animals in any or all such situations can make their management far easier to control.