Unit of competency details

ACMBEH501 - Work collaboratively to manage complex animal behaviour (Release 1)


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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 understand, interpret and assess animal behaviour and work collaboratively with clients and professional stakeholders to develop conditioning, training and management programs to address animal behaviour issues.

This unit applies to experienced individuals working as behaviour or training practitioners who provide advanced animal training and behaviour management services for individual stakeholders (personal clients) and professional stakeholders (behaviour veterinarians or other qualified professionals). They analyse, design and implement behaviour change programs requiring the application of current best practice animal learning theory, methodologies and concepts with particular attention to animal welfare.

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. Research and maintain current information on animal behaviour and training

1.1 Identify common behavioural issues, and context-specific, undesirable and maladaptive behaviours, in relevant species

1.2 Recognise behavioural indicators of different emotional states in animals, and their potential consequences

1.3 Research and analyse information on current ethical, scientifically validated approaches to training and behaviour management

1.4 Evaluate consequences of different approaches and methodologies, and equipment used for training and behaviour management

2. Assess animal and individual client requirements

2.1 Obtain a general profile of client and animal and specific information about the behaviours of concern, taking into consideration environmental set-up, antecedents, regularity, and history of consequences

2.2 Obtain further history of the animal's behaviour and living situation as indicated by reported history

2.3 Conduct an assessment of the animal, client and animal relationship and environment, considering the behavioural impact on other affected people and animals

2.4 Analyse findings and determine personal competency to undertake work with client

2.5 Discuss and confirm potential training and behaviour management approaches, methodology and techniques with client, if the case is within scope of personal competency

2.6 Refer client to another animal professional if the case is beyond personal competency

3. Collaborate with behaviour veterinarian or other qualified professional to determine program requirements

3.1 Accept referrals from behaviour veterinarian or another qualified professional

3.2 Review background information and animal history, and desired goals

3.3 Discuss behaviour management methodology, techniques and proposed program with behaviour veterinarian or qualified professional

3.4 Establish arrangements for reporting progress and issues

4. Implement constructive management and training techniques

4.1 Implement the agreed training and behaviour management program establishing measurable goals and outcomes for client and animal

4.2 Provide clear instruction and support to client on animal management and training program

4.3 Use humane techniques to reinforce behaviours and manage successive approximations for animal to achieve goals

4.4 Provide constructive feedback to client and stakeholders on progress throughout program

4.5 Educate client on reasonableness of expectations and agreed goals throughout program

4.6 Discuss reasons for any required changes to the training and behaviour management program or to any equipment used in the program

5. Evaluate outcomes of training and behaviour management program

5.1 Compare program outcomes with intended goals and measures

5.2 Seek further advice from behaviour veterinarian or other qualified professional to address unresolved issues, if required

5.3 Discuss concepts and strategies to maintain longer-term management and training goals

5.4 Provide advice and instruction in ongoing training and behaviour management

5.5 Maintain training and client records according to workplace requirements

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 critical information accurately from scientific documentation related to animal training and behaviour management


  • Use industry terminology and accepted formats when completing professional reports

Oral communication

  • Use open-ended questions, active listening, paraphrasing and summarising to obtain information
  • Use appropriate language to explain animal training and behaviour concepts to professionals and non-professionals

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title current version

Code and title previous version


Equivalence status

ACMBEH501 Work collaboratively to manage complex animal behaviour

Not applicable

Unit created to address an emerging skill required by industry

Newly created


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:

  • researched strategies to address at least three different animal behavioural issues, selected from:
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • aggression towards humans or other animals
  • predation
  • behaviour problem with another medical basis
  • repetitive behaviours (stereotypies)
  • reactivity
  • developed, implemented and evaluated a training and behaviour change plan to address the three different behavioural issues selected above, including:
  • one working collaboratively with a behaviour veterinarian or other qualified professional
  • one working directly with an individual client.

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:

  • professional ethics for work in animal training and behaviour sector, including:
  • personal competency – knowledge and expertise
  • business ethics, informed consent and confidentiality
  • protocols for working with other qualified professionals
  • use of humane, ethical, scientifically validated methodologies and techniques
  • professional networks and mentoring options
  • range of qualified professionals with specialised skills, including:
  • behaviour veterinarian, including a veterinarian with an interest in animal behaviour or a veterinarian with Membership to Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (MANZCVS)
  • registered Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine (SVBM)
  • animal physiotherapist
  • key concepts of species-specific ethology, animal social behaviour
  • species-specific animal body language and behavioural signs, including:
  • signs of stress
  • gross and fine body movement and vocalisation (where relevant)
  • patterns of behaviour, including frequency, duration and intensity
  • general overview of triggers, motivating factors and reinforcers
  • signs of emotional states/arousal and their social and environmental triggers, including:
  • concept of anthropomorphism
  • social behavioural signs with animals and people
  • signs indicating an animal is presenting an unreasonable risk to itself or people, and what to do in these cases
  • basic physiology, including stress physiology; threat perception and coping behaviours; impulsivity and other aspects of animal personality
  • key concepts of animal learning, conditioning and training:
  • associative learning – operant and classical conditioning, including extinction, desensitisation and counter-conditioning and differential reinforcement
  • non-associative – habituation and sensitisation
  • primary and secondary reinforcers
  • schedules of reinforcement
  • species or breed specific training requirements and considerations
  • positive reinforcement conditioning techniques, including luring, targeting, and shaping (prompted and free)
  • importance of management of the animal's environment, health and behaviour, including: 
  • awareness of the effect of domesticated/captive/urbanised lifestyles on natural behaviour needs
  • providing species-specific basic needs in domesticated/captive/urbanised environments
  • impact of medical problems and chronic pain on animal behaviour
  • awareness of use of medication in behaviour management
  • overview of key features 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
  • how to format, conduct and analyse assessments on the animal, the client/animal relationship and the environment in which the behaviour occurs
  • formats for documenting training and behaviour management plans
  • application of the principles of animal welfare and ethics, including:
  • safe, low stress and defensive animal handling and humane restraint techniques and procedures
  • commonly used animal training equipment.

Assessment Conditions

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

  • physical conditions:
  • an animal care workplace
  • resources, equipment and materials:
  • live animals as required in the performance evidence
  • relationships:
  • behaviour veterinarian or other qualified professional, and individual client specified in the performance evidence.

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