What are the visa requirements?

For less than 90 days you will only need a tourist visa that is issued on arrival. The cost is dependant on your own nationality but for most countries it is free.

How much money will I spend aside from the course fees?

You will have to cover the costs of your dinners and any alcohol you consume as well as any of the optional excursions. Most nights there will be braai (barbecue) packs available   for R160 (including pork, beef, chicken and vegetables) as well as salad items for sale.  In addition we go to a seafood buffet once a week which is R200 and there is one other restaurant dinner a week. For details on the costs of the excursions please check the activities page. Please be aware that Hoedspruit produces a wealth of local crafts so bring money for your souvenirs.

What is the difference between a Canine Animal Behaviourist and a Dog Handler?

An Animal Behaviourist interprets the body language of a dog and formulates strategies for dealing with behaviour problems as well as rehabilitation strategies for dogs. Dog Handlers are trainers who develop training programmes designed to teach working dogs specific skills.

How many students are on the course?

No more than 10.

What are the course hours? 

People are often surprised at how early we start but sadly Hoedspruit is extremely hot so we have start training the dogs at sun rise. Four days a week we follow the following a similar schedule to the one below, and one day a week we go to local communities to do dog training classes.

5:00 – 5:30 Cold breakfast and tea or coffee

5:30 – 9:00 Practical dog training session one

9:00 – 10:00 Cooked breakfast

10:00 – 13:00 Canine enrichment and/or dog psychology lectures

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 16:00 Break/Research project preparation

16:00 – 17:30 Canine enrichment and/or dog psychology lectures

On community days we leave around 7:00 and get back around 14:00.

What is the accommodation like? 

You will be housed in basic but comfortable safari tents. Please note we are entirely powered by solar energy so use of high powered devices is restricted (hair driers and kettles mainly).

Will the dogs bite me? 

No one can 100% predict a dog’s behaviour but if you follow our instructions we almost guarantee that you will stay safe. We work with positive reinforcement so the likelihood of being bitten is extremely low as we are not forcing dogs to do things they don’t want to. When we work with community dogs there are safety protocols in place but as these are not our dogs we ask students to withdraw from any situation they feel uncomfortable with.

Is it safe/Will a leopard eat me? 

You will be sleeping on a game reserve where wild animals can walk through the camp. Whilst out of the big five we only have leopard, students must exercise caution at all times. By far the most dangerous animals we have are impossible to keep out anyway – snakes and scorpions. You must wear closed footwear at night and check sleeping bags and shoes at all times.

Can I do my own research project?

We welcome interns whose research interests align with our own. Please have a look at our research internship page and then email us if you wish to do research and we can discuss possibilities.

Who runs the courses?

Our course staff are highly qualified include animal behaviourists and published conservation researchers.

What’s Hoedspruit like?

Hoedspruit is one of the last pitstops before entering the Kruger National Park and is quite wild – wild dogs often use the school fields to make their kills and warthogs regularly graze by the supermarkets). It’s also very hot and temperatures often reach the mid-40sC. A well-known tourist destination that, although small, has a wealth of restaurants, curio shops and things to do.

How much time off will I have?

The course runs for eight hours a day, five days a week.

What must I bring/must I have health insurance?

Essential items

Hiking boots, running shoes, sandals, swimming costumes, sunhats, sunscreen, sunglasses, long lightweight trousers, mosquito repellent, sleeping bag, any required medication, doctor’s prescriptions and proof of medical insurance. Please note you must have comprehensive health care insurance that covers both public and private health care.

Other recommended items

In summer a rain jacket, a camera, binoculars, field guides, games, downloaded movies, books etc

Wish list

Often the community dogs we work with don’t have leashes or collars, food bowls etc so any of these items would be greatly appreciated by attendees of your dog training classes. We also appreciate any dog muzzles, puzzles and other enrichment activities as well as balls. Not just any balls though – balls with holes so we can put scent items inside them. Please don’t bring tennis balls as many of the dogs we work with have bad teeth either due to poor nutrition, distemper virus and just spending too much time with a ball in their mouth.

What about malaria/rabies and tetanus?

Hoedspruit is a low risk malaria area and outbreaks are infrequent however please consult with your local doctor if you have any concerns regarding this. All students must be up to date with their rabies and tetanus vaccinations and send proof of this prior to arrival. This is non-negotiable.