The rabbit is one of the most poorly treated pet animals in the UK and elsewhere. This course is aimed at animal welfare inspectors, sanctuary managers, veterinary professionals and those wishing to demonstrate the ability to study at university for animal behaviour, welfare and science. The course is set at level 5 study which is equivalent to HND level.
This advanced diploma in rabbit behaviour should provide the learner with in-depth knowledge of rabbit behaviour and natural ecology to support their better treatment. Additionally, the course should provide the training to demonstrate HE-level learning skills for application to university courses.
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Innate and learned behaviours
Before exploring any animal's behaviour, there must be some background theory to underpin understanding and application of learning. The content of unit 1 includes imprinting, a critical examination of past experiments into species-specific needs and psychology and the theories behind learned behaviours.
The ethology of behaviour is introduced with research into why a behaviour is expressed, what causes the behaviour and, development of behaviours. There is particular reference to how dog training has changed from negative to positive reinforcement and the cognitive approach.
Terminology and factors that affect learning are explored together with an examination of how behavioural responses from non-human animals are exploited.
Course fee: £495.00
Instalments: these are made by standing order and can be tailored to individual requirements starting at around £49.50 p.c.m. International transactions will incur additional fees.
Try unit 1 before committing to the whole course for £49.00
Course materials are sent via email but paper copies are available for an additional fee of £15 per unit. Postage charges may need to be added depending on your location.
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Physiology and behaviour
All behaviours stem from responses of the nervous and endocrine systems to various stimuli. Unit 2 examines and tests understanding of the links between these systems to provide a basis for justifying better treatment of the non-human animal. For the rabbit, stress is an important factor in behaviour and this can be detected in a number of ways through physiological methods.
Wild rabbit behaviour
To understand how and why a companion rabbit behaves, an examination of how wild rabbits behave and the links to their ecology must be made. Rabbits are social animals but also territorial and how they interact in the wild needs to be understood so as to care for them properly when in captivity.
Rabbit learning and sentience
Unit 4 is an exploration of whether the rabbit is able to learn and, whether they are self aware. This is a challenging topic and is examined using published research with a critical analysis of the evidence.
Lagomorph distribution & comparative behaviour
The wild rabbit of Europe is not the only member of the Order Lagomorpha. Unit 5 investigates their biogeography and whether lagomorphs demonstrate similar behaviours no matter what the species.
Accommodating the Captive Rabbit
After examination of the behaviour and ecological needs of wild rabbits, unit 6 is an exercise is applying understanding of the course and its content for the better care of companion rabbits. The work is presented in the form of lecture notes and the assignment is to produce a presentation and scientific report to the standards expected at level 5 study. You will gain important experience of skills needed at higher education with the bonus of being able to focus your efforts on rabbit welfare.