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  • Andy Moyle

    November 17, 2023 at 7:29 pm

    Homework for FSDT 5.0 Lesson “<b style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>Business Ethics for Professional Dog Trainers”

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    Comparing the IACP’s with the APDT’s professional codes of ethics, the first thing I am struck by is how loquacious the APDT’s code is. I am a fan of the KISS principle in systems design, so IACP has a point going for it in my book. Simple codes of ethics based on logical principles are much easier to remember and thus adhere to than complex ad hoc ones. Several points in the APDT’s code seemed unnecessarily redundant, such as sections:

    “1.2 Shall comply with applicable laws regarding the reporting of animal bites and suspected abuse or neglect.”


    “3.3 Shall maintain adequate knowledge of, and adhere to, applicable laws, ethics, and professional standards.”


    One thing that I did appreciate about the APDT’s code was section:

    “4.2 Shall maintain adequate professional liability insurance coverage.”

    to which IACP’s code does not have a comparable provision. Professional liability coverage is essential to ensuring that a dog trainer can operate effectively and in such a way that does not place himself, the dogs, his students, or the general public at unaccountable risk.

    Something that I found unfortunate about both the IACP and APDT’s codes of conduct is that neither required their members to maintain an objective standard of competency in the craft.

    If I were to design a professional code of conduct for a dog training organization such as FSDT, here are 10 rules I believe the members should abide by:

    1. All certified members must actively maintain an openness to new training concepts and methods and will constantly seek to improve themselves and their skills.

    2. No certified member may misrepresent their own status within the organization or the relation of the organization to the services they provide.

    3. Certified members must assist in the education, training, and professional development of new members to raise the standards in the dog training craft.

    4. Certified members will always strive to raise the standard of dog ownership in any informational materials about dogs that they publish.

    5. Certified members must conduct themselves professionally in speech, appearance, and in deed, recognizing that their behavior reflects on the public perception of the organization, other certified members, and the craft of dog training.

    6. Certified members will always remember that the needs of the student, client, and/or student-dog come first, and will strive to resolve any behavior problems for which they are contracted to help, or will refer to a competent professional if they do not possess the skills or knowledge to resolve the problem.

    7. Certified members will, to the best of their ability, research and understand the breed traits, biddability, and idiosyncrasies of every student-dog for which they are contracted for training, and will formulate a training plan which incorporates these details as they relate to the needs of the dog’s owner.

    8. Certified members should be willing to visibly demonstrate any and all training techniques for which they have been contracted to instruct.

    9. Certified members will always promote and instruct humane methods of dog training.

    10. Certified members will always have as their goal a safe, fulfilled, obedient, and eager-to-work student-dog.