Student Study Guide

The CIDBT is a front-runner in providing affordable, high quality education courses in a range of dog behaviour and training subjects taught by experts in the field.

This study guide is for general information only. Your tutor should always be the first port-of-call should you require any information or assistance after enrolment.  Your success is our goal!

Table of Contents


  1. Student and Tutor Course Communication
  2. Course Requirements
  3. Helpful Hints for course work
  4. Helpful Tips for Writing
  5. Plagiarism
  6. Research Advice
  7. Home Study Communication Guide
  8. Multiple Choice and Certificates
  9. Workshops and how they work
  10. Home Study and General Information
  11. What Challenges Can I Expect?
  12. Appendix A – How To Reference
  13. Policies and Procedures 

1. Student and Tutor Course Communication

Naturally, this course is designed to be student focused, which also includes your responsibility to keep in contact with your Course Tutor.

Please do keep in mind that all of our tutors work full-time in Professional Dog Behaviour & Training (an unprecedented benefit that is unique to the CIDBT), therefore expect course work to be returned within 10 working days, although typically it is far quicker, but there may be occasions when it takes that amount of time.


2. Course requirements

Most courses require access to the following:

  • Regular access to a PC, Tablet, or Mobile with (email and internet facilities)
  • Minimum of Microsoft Word to submit work and PDF Reader for opening Course documents
  • General familiarity with the basics of email (to include the sending, receiving and opening of documents) and how to conduct Internet searches
  • Ability to stream or download videos or play DVDs
  • Effective study practices to include dedicated study time and distraction-free study space. It is your responsibility to approach Home Study in the same manner as classroom learning – both disciplines require the same amount of study time, thus honour a strict schedule and start working as soon as you receive your course material.


3. Helpful Hints when approaching coursework

  • Clearly label the assignment with the assignment number, question or topic
  • Do the assignments while the content is still fresh in your mind
  • Take notes as you study, particularly with material you find difficult. You can refer to these notes when completing the assignments
  • Be assertive – if you do not understand something, please do ask for clarity. You may not be in a classroom, but you have a tutor who wants you to succeed. Your tutor is the single best resource for helping you to understand course material
  • Make the material relevant to you. Read related articles and books, watch related television shows, observe dogs in your daily life, and so on
  • Always read through what you have written to make sure it makes sense and it is as accurate as you can make it. Double check spelling and grammar, including having someone else proof your work if possible
  • When sending work to your tutor, send the entirety of the work in one email at one time, and in one word document (i.e. one attachment).

4. Helpful tips when writing

Essential rules for formal, academic essay writing are as follows.

  • Assume your audience knows next to nothing about the subject matter. Therefore, your writing must be clear, unambiguous, literal and well structured.
  • Keep in mind that this is an academic institution, therefore, avoid ‘text speak’ in your tutor correspondences and assignments: “You are” should not be presented as “ur” and “because” is not “coz”, and so on.
  • Be mindful of poor grammar and spelling. You will not be marked down for such incorrect and improper writing as the Institute is more interested in what you know rather than how you write it down (within reason), however, if your thoughts and ideas cannot be easily grasped, it will reflect upon your overall work.
  • Challenge what you read! In other words, triangulate your research – find at least three sources to support any theories you choose to put forward in your work. Keep in mind that a lot of what you read on the Internet is unreliable, including Wikapedia. Therefore, choose your research wisely.
    Basic rules of structure
  • Your written work should have one main topic (the “thesis” or “theme”) that is clearly evident in the introduction and conclusion. The reader should never be in doubt as to what your main points of contention are. When in doubt, use the simple rule: introduce – expand/justify – conclude.
  • Stay on topic – everything in your answer should be related to your main question
    Staying on topic does not mean one-sided – it is quite appropriate to discuss opposing views as they are relevant, (i.e. directly related to the main topic of your paper).
  • Write what you mean, mean what you write – avoid informal language such as colloquial phrases and clichés, rather formal writing should literally mean what it says.
  • Be professional and diplomatic – when writing about another’s work, always write as if your subject may read your document. In other words, avoid pejorative, insulting and offensive remarks and terms. If your intent is to challenge another’s views or theories, do so professionally and with clear, grounded statistics to support your own views and theories.
  • Structure your entire presentation on all levels, to include section titles, headers, sub-heads, or other visual cues.

Overall organisation
Try to keep each paragraph related to one sub topic only; when you start writing about something new or change the slant or emphasis of your work then a new paragraph should be started. Authors are authors, not writers – use last names (avoid referring to an author as if they were your friend). Be respectful – an author’s name is similar to a key in a database lookup, therefore spell their names and cite their work correct.

5. Plagiarism

  • Do not plagiarise. Copying & pasting work from the Internet or copying text verbatim from a book, video or DVD is forbidden in any form. Your work must be your interpretation of what you read, learn and already know. If your research is wholly or partially copied, you will automatically receive it back to redo.  Any plagiarism found will result in an immediate fail.

6. Research Advice

If you do not know where to find reliable research consider the following methods:

  • Look for articles in esteemed publications – they can be anything from scientific, medical, historical, environmental or dog-specific journals, et al
  • Check the writer’s references, in other words, look-up and read their sources whether it be a direct reference within the text or articles listed in their bibliography
  • Research the writer’s qualifications – who are they and how are they accomplished? How much of their knowledge is academic versus practical, and so on
  • How representative was their study (if you are reading another’s research project)? Did their study include 12 dogs or 200? Natural or artificial environments? Who are they referencing in their work, and so on.
  • As you continue to read and cross-reference, you’ll start to see the same names and projects in other’s work.
  • Become familiar with boolean searches, such as using quotes (” “) or plus or negative signs (+ or -) to narrow your search, or find specific results. If you do not know how to do this, search “boolean search” for step-by-step assistance.
  • If you cannot find information or evidence for something, do not be afraid to admit it – cite what you did learn and actively show that you have done the necessary research to reach this conclusion reliably. Do not simply bypass the question and assume your tutor will understand.


7. Home Study Communication Guide

Course Marking
A Tutor should respond to you within 10 working days of receipt of your email communication (typically much faster). Mark and return your submitted phase within 21 days of receiving the same (again, typically this is much quicker)
This is a guide and holidays, ill health and IT setbacks may impinge on these timelines guide. Always check your email junk folder if you feel that you have not had your work back and or no reply to an email sent to your tutor.

In addition all tutors have telephones so do contact them by phone if need be.

All references and quotations must be detailed directly following the text in brackets, at the end of the assignment. For examples of how to reference books, periodicals, videos or DVDs and web sites, see section 11 at the very bottom of this page.


8. Multiple Choice and Certificates

Most Level 4 course work will include a short multiple choice test. This is not a major component to your final outcome, however, it is included to ensure students are reading and researching more than is asked of them within the specific assignments.

In other words, do not skip directly to the assignments and just “look-up” the information necessary to complete the task – all students are expected to read all required material and conduct thorough research to answer not only the questions asked, but the whole of the course according to the Learning Outcomes. This is your commitment to being a student and your commitment to learning.


9. Workshops

The workshops may be film led, student interactive case study problem-solving or involve the practical work with dogs and people. Workshops are typically supplemented with Home Study assignments to complement the nature of the course. All courses that include workshops are clearly identified as such in the course descriptions.

It is important that you check your workshop dates on the CIDBT website before attending and at the time of enrolment. Your course workshop is mandatory.

Typical workshop structure:
The tutor will announce when the workshop is about to commence – it is likely they will ask everyone to gather in a central location, such as the foyer/lounge/ where they will then guide you to the lecture area.

The introduction to the workshop will start with a presentation overview of the itinerary and workshop content so that everyone knows what to expect and can relax.

Our tutors operate professional, structured yet informal workshops where all people and opinions are valued.

10. Home Study and General Information

Home Study, also known as distance learning or correspondence study, is any educational process, which exists outside a classroom setting. Courses are taken by students in their own homes using a variety of means including mandatory reading, independent research, email correspondence and information gathering via Video, DVD or the web.

The CIDBT training courses are available to people from all backgrounds, from beginner to advanced levels. The Institute aims to provide students with the necessary skills and qualifications that will make a difference to their knowledge and career.

Further course benefits include:

  • Recognised qualifications in a variety of educational levels & disciplines to raise the marketability of those working in the field of pet care
  • Flexible Home Study at a pace that suits each individual student
  • Full support from expert tutors actively working in their area of study
  • Opportunity to add value and achieve greater job satisfaction in an existing career
  • Open doors to new career opportunities
  • A wide range of pet care courses for custom designed study. Our Levels are an equivalent to the industry standard. In the past, education was largely confined to the classroom. As technology has changed over time, so has the process of learning. No longer do students and tutors have to be in the same place at the same time. Many individuals, who in the past were excluded from education, have another opportunity or option to pursue education.

International students considering our programmes are advised to check the compatibility between the UK formats and that of their own country. We have students from all around the globe and will aim to accommodate wherever possible.

The use of email and the Internet are the two most commonly used as the proctors of lessons, monitoring work or administering tests. In addition to the above, there is a component of printed material to include textbooks.


11. What Challenges Can I Expect

Previous studies comparing Home Study with traditional on-campus learning have indicated similar, if not higher, success rates. The Home Study student, however, will have to compete with other distractions such as family and work unlike the “traditional” classroom student. Make sure your schedule will enable you to successfully complete requirements for each module.

Keep in mind that some course work will strictly adhere to pre-established time lines while other programmes are flexible and self-adjusting to the rate of study.


12. Appendix A – How To Reference

The author’s surname is listed first, followed by the initial(s) and the year of publication in parenthesis, followed by the title of the book is printed in italics, (chapters in single quotations – capitalise first word and proper nouns only), followed by the publisher and finally the page number where the quotation or reference can be found.

Evans J M & White K, (2008), Doglopaedia, Ringpress

Periodicals and Published Work
The author’s surname is listed first, followed by the initial(s) and year of publication in parenthesis, followed by the title of the article in single quotations, followed by the name of the publication in italics, followed by the page number of the quote or reference.

Ostrander, E, A, Galibert, F, & Patterson, D, F, 2000, ‘Canine genetics comes of age’, Trends Genet., 16, pp117- 124.
Parker, H, G, Kim, L, V, Sutter, N, B, Carlsom, S, Lorentzen, T, D, Malek, T, B, Johnson, G, S, DeFrance, H, B, Ostrander, E, A, & Kruglyak, L, 2004, ‘Genetic structure of the purebred domestic dog’, Science, 204, pp1160- 1164.

Downloads, Streams, Videos and DVDs
The surname is listed first, followed by the initial(s) and year of publica- tion in parenthesis, followed by the title of the Video or DVD in italics, followed by the production company.

Tennant C, (2000), 21 days to train your dog, (2000), Pets on Film.

Name of web site, followed by the word “Online” in brackets, followed by the full web site link, followed by access date (where applicable).

Example: followed by the URL link page.

If an author’s reference is from a web link, list the author’s surname first, followed by initial(s), followed by the title of the work in single quotations, followed by the name of the organisation in italics, followed by On- line in brackets, followed by the web link and access date in brackets.

Tennant, C, 2016, Smart Dog Psycholgy’, Canine & Feline Behaviour Association, [Online]. Available from: [accessed December 2010].


13. Policies and Procedures

Full CIDBT Policies and Procedures can be viewed upon request, at ‘’.

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