Canine Social Behavior

  • Overview

  • Required

  • Schedule

  • Prerequisites

  • CEUs & Pricing

  • About Your Instructor

Course Begins: September 24, 2024

Duration: 5 weeks

Instructor: Camille Ward MS, PhD, CAAB

Course type: Instructed Course


  • Auditors do not attend online meetings
  • Meetings are not recorded
  • Meetings take place on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern (first meeting October 1st)
  • Meetings are 1 hour in duration
  • There are 5 meetings for this course


This course will teach you about canine communication, play, greetings, conflict resolution behaviors, and puppy social development. Dig into the science of canine social behavior, with an emphasis on dog-to-dog social interactions. Veterinarians, behavior consultants, trainers, groomers, kennel staff, shelter workers, day care staff, pet sitters, dog walkers, and keen guardians will all benefit from this course.


This course will help you:

  • Explain the importance of social relationships between dogs from a scientific perspective
  • Accurately interpret body language in dogs and understand how body language is linked to emotional states and communication
  • Describe and understand the stages of puppy development and how development can affect adult behaviors, including the development of problem behaviors
  • Recognize and interpret play and greeting behaviors in dogs
  • Describe the functions of conflict and reconciliation behaviors in dogs

To receive CEUs and/or a certificate of completion, Full Students must:

  • Attend and participate in at least 4 of the 5 online meetings
  • Review the recorded lectures prior to the online meetings
  • Complete assigned reading for each week
  • Come to the meetings with one or two questions from the readings each week that they would like to discuss in addition to answers from the discussion questions based on the pre-recorded lectures

Full Students should expect to spend an average of 4-5 hours per week on the course depending on the week’s materials and speed of viewing


To receive CEUs and/or a certificate of achievement, Auditors must:

  • Review the recorded lectures
  • Successfully complete the course quizzes

This is a 5-week instructor-led course. Each week includes a recorded lecture, a scheduled live discussion, required readings, and guiding questions.

Students will have access to the course for 1 year from the date of their most recent IAABC Foundation purchase.

Week 1 - Body Language and Emotions

▪The meaning and function of canine body language ▪Research on facial expressions ▪Cultural and age effects related to the interpretation of body language ▪How body language is related to emotional states in dogs ▪Research on tail wags. What do they mean and how do we know? ▪Common myths and misinterpretations concerning canine body language

Week 2 - Puppies and the Development of Behavior

▪Stages of puppy development ▪Contribution of early life experiences to the personality and developmentof problem behaviors ▪Puppy mills and their effects on development ▪Research into the types of experiences shown to have a positive impact on puppy behaviors ▪Case studies on normal and abnormal puppy behaviors

Week 3 - Social Play in Dogs

▪What issocial play? ▪Hypotheses and attributes concerning social play ▪Do puppies form play partner preferences and,if so, at what age? ▪What is the 50:50 rule in play? ▪Do puppies balance out taking turns being in the “top dog” and “bottom dog” roles during play? ▪An investigation of sex differences related to play ▪Relationships between variables commonly seen in play (i.e., self-handicapping behaviors, initiations, play bows, and assertive or “offense behaviors”)

Week 4 - Dog to Dog Greetings

▪What is the purpose of greetings? ▪Greeting examples from other species ▪Characteristics of dogs who are more likely to initiate and participate in greetings ▪Differences between reciprocated and unreciprocated greetings ▪How emotional states reflected in body postures are related to greetings? ▪How long do dog greetings last? ▪The role of olfactory investigations in greetings?

Week 5 - Reconciliation and Conflict Management

▪How do animals manage conflicts between themselves? ▪What does the research on reconciliation and conflict management in other social species teach us about reconciliation in dogs? ▪Why might dogs reconcile after a fight? ▪Hypotheses concerning reconciliation and conflict management ▪How to use data on conflict management and inter-dog aggression to identify, understand, and address conflict behaviors in multi-dog environments


  • Interest in learning about the science of canine social behavior
  • Experience with dogs helpful but not required
Full Student:


Cost: $375



Cost: $225

Cancellation Policy: We will refund 90% up to 30 days pre-event. A 50% refund will be available up to 15 days pre-event. After these deadlines, no refunds will be issued.

Instructor: Camille Ward MS, PhD, CAAB

Dr. Camille Ward is the President and founder of About Dogs LLC, where she specializes in behavioral consultations for the prevention, modification, and management of canine behavior problems. Her philosophy stresses relationship building and working from the dog’s point of view.


Dr. Ward received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan studying cognition and the development of social behavior in domestic dogs. In addition to her work on dogs, she also conducted behavior studies on crows, primates, and fish. She received her certification through the Animal Behavior Society as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB).


Dr. Ward has lectured nationally and internationally at scientific and dog training conferences on canine behavior. She has published on animal behavior in a variety of scientific academic journals, and her work has been featured on MSNBC, in Cosmopolitan magazine, and in the Bark. She has also taught animal behavior to undergraduate students at the University of Michigan, and she designed and taught a seminar called Dog Cognition, Behavior and Welfare. She recently published a paper entitled: “Greeting Behavior between Dogs at a Dog Park” in the journal, Pet Behaviour Science. She also co-hosted a symposium on “Comparative Canine Behavior” at the 53rd Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society. The symposium was the first academic forum for canine behavior research in North America and included invited speakers from around the world to present their research on the behavior and cognition of both domestic dogs and wild canids.


Dr. Ward is on the Advisory Group of Dr. Marty Becker’s Fear Free Initiative, where the emphasis is on the emotional well-being of dogs during veterinary visits, grooming procedures, when working with trainers, and more. She also worked as an Animal Behaviorist for the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Team, working with other professionals on the rehabilitation of dogs rescued from fighting, hoarding, puppy mills, and other forms of abuse.