Unit of competency details

ACMBEH404 - Condition animal behaviour (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes ACMGAS306 - Assist with conditioning animalsCode and title changed to reflect AQF alignment. Performance criteria and assessment requirements updated to reflect work function 12/Apr/2021

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 13/Apr/2021


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Unit Of competency

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 4.0.


This unit of competency describes the skills and knowledge required to condition animals using positive conditioning techniques. It applies to a range of species and includes the individual demonstrating skills and knowledge required for conditioning animals to others.

This unit applies to individuals with responsibility for formulating and implementing an animal conditioning plan that may include operant and classical conditioning processes. They work autonomously and apply specialist knowledge and skills to provide solutions for predictable and unpredictable problems, and may have accountability for the work of others.

All work must be carried out to comply with workplace procedures according to Commonwealth and state/territory health and safety and animal welfare regulations, legislation and standards that apply to the workplace.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Unit Sector

Behaviour and Training (BEH)

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Develop a conditioning plan

1.1 Identify a range of desirable and undesirable behaviours for a variety of animals

1.2 Identify behaviours that require conditioning for a specific species

1.3 Identify appropriate positive reinforcers specific to the species being trained

1.4 Identify and establish a conditioned reinforcer appropriate for the species and behaviour to be conditioned

1.5 Develop a written plan for each behaviour to be conditioned according to current, best practice positive reinforcement information

2. Condition a desirable behaviour using low stress handling techniques

2.1 Assess risks and ensure required safety and infection control procedures are followed, and personal protective equipment is used where required

2.2 Identify signs of stress prior to and during the conditioning process

2.3 Implement the approximations required to condition an animal for a specific behaviour

2.4 Modify approximations when signs of stress are identified during the conditioning process

2.5 Confirm that the behaviour is under stimulus control in different environments or housing locations

2.6 Confirm that the conditioning process meets animal welfare principles and ethics requirements

3. Monitor and review a conditioning plan

3.1 Review the short-term and longer-term objectives of the conditioning plan in consultation with relevant personnel, where required

3.2 Update the conditioning plan incorporating reasonable expectations of the animal's abilities

3.3 Maintain records of behaviour being conditioned according to workplace procedures

4. Demonstrate positive reinforcement techniques to others

4.1 Prepare information on positive reinforcement conditioning and explain to relevant stakeholders

4.2 Prepare information on signs of animal stress and how to minimise in conditioning programs, and explain to relevant stakeholders

4.3 Demonstrate the process for conditioning a secondary reinforcer and how it is applied in the conditioning process

4.4 Respond to queries from stakeholders on the conditioning process

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential for performance in this unit of competency but are not explicit in the performance criteria.




  • Interpret industry terminology about approaches to positive reinforcement conditioning

Oral communication

  • Use open-ended questions and active listening to gather and clarify information
  • Discuss animal behaviour with others using current, best practice terminology, and language and tone appropriate to audience

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title current version

Code and title previous version


Equivalence status

ACMBEH404 Condition animal behaviour

ACMGAS306 Assist with conditioning animals

Code and title changed to reflect AQF alignment 

Performance criteria and assessment requirements updated to reflect work function

Not equivalent


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103


Assessment requirements

Modification History



Release 1

This version released with ACM Animal Care and Management Training Package Version 4.0.

Performance Evidence

An individual demonstrating competency must satisfy all of the elements and performance criteria in this unit.

There must be evidence that the individual has conditioned at least two animals of different life stages using behavioural conditioning techniques, including the following for each animal:

  • prepared and implemented an individual conditioning plan for a desirable behaviour, incorporating:
  • the application of animal learning principles in relation to conditioning techniques
  • industry best practice positive reinforcement techniques and tools to condition/shape behaviour
  • maintained accurate records of behaviour being conditioned
  • prepared information and demonstrated the process for a conditioned reinforcer, to a minimum of two stakeholders, by training two different simple behaviours.

Knowledge Evidence

An individual must be able to demonstrate the knowledge required to perform the tasks outlined in the elements and performance criteria of this unit. This includes knowledge of:

  • normal and maladaptive animal behaviour and behaviour patterns relevant to species and the individual animal to be conditioned
  • appropriate behaviours that can be trained, relevant to species
  • signs of stress in animals to be conditioned
  • purposes of conditioning or training animals
  • key concepts of animal learning, conditioning and training, including:
  • associative learning – operant and classical conditioning, including extinction
  • non-associative learning – habituation and sensitisation
  • primary and secondary reinforcers
  • schedules of reinforcement
  • positive reinforcement conditioning techniques and tools, including:
  • luring
  • targeting
  • capturing and shaping (prompting and free)
  • overview of key features, benefits and limitations of guidelines for animal trainers, including:
  • Least Intrusive Effective Behaviour Intervention (LIEBI model)
  • Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) training
  • Hierarchy of Procedures for Humane and Effective Practice
  • key principles of animal welfare and ethics
  • safe, low stress techniques and equipment used in conditioning
  • workplace policies and procedures, including health and safety and animal welfare relevant to conditioning animals.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment of the skills in this unit of competency must take place under the following conditions:

  • physical conditions:
  • an animal care facility or an environment that accurately represents workplace conditions
  • resources, equipment and materials:
  • live animals as required for the performance evidence
  • tools for reinforcing desirable behaviours in the animals
  • specifications:
  • workplace policies and procedures relevant to conditioning animals, including safety and infection control
  • relationships:
  • stakeholders specified in the performance evidence (carer, owner, team member, supervisor or animal health worker).

Assessors of this unit must satisfy the requirements for assessors in applicable vocational education and training legislation, frameworks and/or standards.


Companion Volumes, including Implementation Guides, are available at VETNet: - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b75f4b23-54c9-4cc9-a5db-d3502d154103