Frequently asked questions

Here are selection of frequently asked questions, if you would like to ask us
a question please submit it using the form below.

I’m very interested in the courses you offer, but I’m unsure which one would suit me best.

Choosing a course is a very personal thing – it depends on your experience, your previous reading and study, and your goals. At Alpha Education we find that having a chat about all these aspects is the most effective way of helping you to make a decision – and we love talking about dog behaviour and our courses, so go on – give us a ring. Tel: 01753 856 780.

Are there pre-requisites for your courses?

Some of our courses are designed to be taken in a progressive sequence. For example, it is a pre-requisite that learners wishing to take the Think Dog! Intermediate course need to have completed the Think Dog! Certificate first. Those wishing to take the Think Dog! Advanced course need to have completed both Think Dog! Certificate and Think Dog! Intermediate.

Our other courses can be taken as stand-alone courses or in combination, or with Masterclasses and practical workshops.

How many hours per week would I need to put in?

The courses are accredited at different OCN ‘levels’ – this means that the amount of work learners need to do for each one varies. However, on average it is sensible to budget around 6 hours per week – this to include background reading, planning, any field research or practical observations and writing.

How long do I have to complete each course?

Most of our home-study courses are designed to be completed within a six month time frame, however, learners’ registration with the OCN lasts for one year, which means that there is ample time allowed.

Are the courses recognised?

Our home-study courses (with the exception of Think Dog! Foundation) are all accredited by Laser Learning (Open College Network South East Region). Laser Learning is an externally awarding body – much like City and Guilds – and their accreditation is government recognised. Their standards for accreditation are stringent and Alpha Education is proud to be a Laser Learning Recognised Centre.

What do the course credits mean?

Each of our accredited courses are awarded credits, which denote the amount of work completed, at a certain level, which denotes the complexity of the work. These vary between courses. Visit Laser Learning (OCN South East Region Ltd) website for more info on credits, or give us a call for a chat about specific courses.

I'd like to spread payments for the course. How does the instalment option work?

In order for us to register you on the course we require the deposit and the first instalment when you sign up – we will then send you confirmation of your place and your reading list, and/or joining details. The three remaining instalments will then be taken automatically at 30 day intervals after this. (Note: ThinkDog! Practical is split into deposit + two instalments only). Your payment details are held securely and are not seen by us.

Will I need to buy books for the course?

We supply a recommended reading list for each course. These are recommended, not compulsory, but most students benefit greatly from a wide range of reading about the subject. The books that we recommend are generally inexpensive (around £6.50 for the most popular texts) and can be easily obtained from Amazon, or you can become a subscriber to the APDT and borrow books from their extensive library.

I haven’t written an essay for years – will I manage the course work?

Don’t worry! Your work is marked on ideas and content – not on grammar or spelling! We love students to use their experience and understanding, not just rely on factual regurgitation. It’s your opinion that counts and although you need to support this, we are more interested in hearing what you have to say than marking work based on ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

I have dyslexia, or a disability - will I cope?

We are completely inclusive in terms of our courses – our learners range in age from 15 to 85. We have had visually impaired and blind students happily complete courses and those with dyslexia or other difficulties too. We have had students submit work by video, and those who supplied photographic portfolios of their work. Just call us to have a chat, or e-mail us, so that we can help you to enrol confidently on a course.

Once I’ve finished this course, can I practise as a dog trainer or behaviourist?

The million-dollar question! Unfortunately, at the moment in the UK, dog training and behavioural consultancy is unregulated, therefore allowing anyone to set themselves up to offer training or give advice to owners. However, we all have to start somewhere and this is why choosing an accredited course is so important.

Professional organisations such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) offer membership – and working towards this is certainly to be recommended. Check out their websites for their membership criteria. Alpha Education is also part of the consultation process set up by the Animal Behaviour and Training Council, ABTC, who are attempting to form regulatory guidelines for the industry.

Many of those currently practising in this profession started with the Think Dog! courses – including Sarah Whitehead – so taking your first steps en route to a new career in this way is an excellent start.

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