Dog Training World Forums Community Conduct Member's Create Our Code of Conduct Here

  • Mikel Myers

    April 15, 2022 at 11:15 am

    This was harder than I thought it would be. Probably will end up changing some things by the end of the course as I learn more.

    1. A base requirement of being a Foundational Style Dog Trainer is having a minimum level of core education into the science of dogs and dog trainers. Continuing education into new research and methods is essential for success for all parties involved.

    2. When dealing with the public, it is essential that we explain our methods, histories of dogs that we are working with and our business practices. Open and true communication builds trust and confidence.

    3. Timeliness, appropriate handling of animals and equipment, and providing structured plans and showing how we can help owner and dog alike.

    4. When choosing to work with a dog, make sure that we are competent enough in how to handle it. If it is beyond our skill level, recommend someone to help them.

    5. Ensure that during training sessions, everyone involved and nearby are appropriately protected. Teach owners to know how to safely handle their pets in and around the public.

    6. Give proper assessments of the dogs and how much you can help them in the time you will be working with them.

    7. Loyalty to your clients, their privacy, and the dogs that they bring you and to the profession.

    8. Treat dogs, owners, and their relationship how we would want to be treated in their position.

    9. Remember that you are choosing to be a part of a community and give the correct impression of that community out to the world. Hold yourself to the standard that brings good repute on your community.

    10. Obeying the laws of your jurisdiction will help in future advocacy with your local leaders. Make sure to have insurance and all relevant documentation of the dogs within your care.

  • Brad Rimmel

    July 29, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Hello all. Sorry that I am late to the conversation. Since the discussion thus far has been very robust and thoughtful, I’m not sure I can add much that has not already been discussed. That said, just some additional thoughts for consideration.

    By establishing a Code of Ethical Conduct, we are acknowledging that integrity and ethical conduct are fundamental to the core values of FSDT and vital to ensuring that those values are displayed in our daily interactions with clients, clients’ dogs, other trainers, and the public. The professionalism and high performance of FSDT is rooted in the highest standards of excellence, accountability, initiative, fairness, and respect. FSDT Certified Dog Technologists are guided by the simple principle to do “What is Right” for their clients and the clients’ dogs. Doing “What is Right” focuses on building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between owner and dog by applying the following Standards of Practice:

    1. Safety

    a. Always act in a manner that protects the safety of clients, clients’ dogs, and the public;

    b. Follow all state and local laws pertaining to canine activity and encourage clients to do the same.

    2. Integrity

    a. Always be truthful regarding your abilities, skills, and experience;

    b. If confronted with a problem outside the scope of your abilities, skills, or experience, seek science-based solutions and/or refer clients to a trusted trainer familiar with such issues.

    3. Excellence

    a. Utilize LIMA based principles always seeking to use the least aversive means possible to address the issue in question;

    b. Constantly be a student. Seek continued education to stay abreast of current information in the dog training profession.

    4. Accountability

    a. Always take responsibility for your own actions;

    b. Keep detailed training logs to verify accountability of services;

    c. Encourage owners to be accountable to their dogs by committing to investing the time and effort necessary to build a better owner / dog relationship.

    5. Initiative

    a. Seek creative science-based solutions to complex problems, but always be honest with your clients regarding your abilities, the issue presented, the abilities of the particular client and dog, and the degree of success / change that can reasonably be expected;

    b. Always abstain from making guarantees.

    6. Fairness

    a. Treat all people and dogs equally with dignity and professionalism.

    7. Respect

    a. Always respect your clients, colleagues, other trainers, and most importantly, the dogs imparted to your care, guidance, and training. Stress positive attitude and patience during training.

    8. Confidentiality

    a. Always maintain confidentiality. Do not disclose information pertaining to clients unless given express written permission or ordered to do so by a court of law.

    9. Transparency

    a. Always be truthful regarding your abilities, skills, and experience;

    b. Always obtain informed consent before rendering services to clients;

    c. Always ensure that clients understand the financial arrangement and fees associated with the services to be provided. Document by use of written contract or agreement.

    10. Best Business Practices

    a. Do not engage in any activity that may be illegal, fraudulent, deceptive, or have the appearance of impropriety;

    b. Give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge the accomplishments of predecessors and colleagues and do not represent information as your own if such is not accurate. Do not engage in deceptive or unfair advertising practices.

    c. As a professional, understand the risks inherent in the profession. Dog training has inherent risk of safety to you, your clients, clients’ dogs, and other individuals. Acknowledging this risk means protecting yourself legally. Always obtain a waiver of liability prior to rendering services. Obtaining an appropriate level of liability insurance is highly recommended.

    A quick comment on the Codes of Ethics by the APDT and the IACP. I liked the “principle based” approach from the APDT and felt the Code was well organized and the digital platform was easily accessible and user friendly. The Code was rather detailed, however; therefore, it was easy to get bogged down it into the minutiae and lose focus on the overriding theme, i.e., engaging in ethical conduct. On the other hand, I thought the IACP Code was concise and to the point, which lent itself to ease of understanding and practical usefulness. I was disappointed in both, though, from the perspective that neither really addressed the whole purpose of dog training, namely, to build a solid and beneficial relationship between the dog and owner so that both may experience a better quality of life.

    • Allie Dellosa

      July 29, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      I love 4c

    • Kirsten Watry

      August 23, 2022 at 5:03 pm

      I like the way you categorized each rule, which would make it easier to add new criteria later on (although I find your list to be pretty thorough!)

    • Andy Moyle

      November 17, 2023 at 7:33 pm

      The addition of the Best Business practices is a great idea, I especially appreciate the one about giving credit where credit is due

  • Michael D’Abruzzo

    July 29, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    I love how this thread is evolving. I am so impressed and grateful to all the contributors!

  • Kim James

    July 30, 2022 at 4:10 am

    Pretty good stuff here!

    • Kim James

      July 30, 2022 at 4:47 am

      I’m a fan of the concept of agency.

      I believe, agency is the appropriate corridor dog trainers should lead their attention and efforts towards when formulating an ethics based modality for performance as well as decision making.

  • Kirsten Watry

    August 23, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Here are the 10 rules that I came up with.

    1. Be respectful towards clients, other trainers, and most importantly, the dogs.

    2. Be honest with clients by providing realistic expectations to clients and not taking on cases that I am not qualified to take on. I will be transparent about what happens with the dog when the client is not present.

    3. Training should be geared towards enhancing the human-dog relationship and improving the dog’s quality of life. Steven Lindsay’s LIMA principles are a core part of the training plan to achieve these objectives.

    4. Safety of the dog, client, trainer, and public are a top priority. This includes using training tools that will minimize the risk of injury to the dog and others.

    5. Negative side effects of training will be prevented in the training plan. Unreliable “quick-fix” strategies will be avoided in favor of strategies that will get results without creating fear or panic in the dog.

    6. Continue to further my education by learning from other qualified trainers so I can improve.

    7. Follow local laws and regulations, including leash laws.

    8. Refrain from giving veterinary advice unless qualified to do so.

    9. Facilitate an uplifting culture for other FSDT members, which includes collaboration and reporting misconduct.

    10. Client information will be kept confidential. This includes asking permission before taking photos or videos of their sessions.

    I liked that IACP included that trainers shouldn’t use quick fixes and should give realistic expectations to clients. APDT’s code of ethics seems pretty thorough and I like their little tidbit about not saying something is scientific unless it is derived from peer-reviewed research.

  • Themis

    November 8, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Like the page layout of the APDT code. Found IACP’s 15 bullet points to be more direct. The APDT code was a bit redundant.

    Would have to continue looking at other organizations and what complaints cause the most conflict for the industry. Within the first read-through, appreciate that the processing and filing of complaints for APDT is in-depth. Perhaps unnecessary if FSDT standards and cases can speak for itself?

    With IACP’s mention of tools, my read is that their attempt to be all-inclusive is a bit drawn out. Would hope that the FSDT code, if beyond noting LIMA, would be very direct as the case-by-case and client goal preference on what tools are suggested. Did like “ does not take precedence over their effectiveness should it be evident that the method or tool is not compatible or productive, with the dog’s response, lack of response, or creating undue stress that is counterproductive to a learning environment”

    Like that there is an affidavit section of the IACP code. When comparing APDT, feel this ties in to how APDT states their ‘rules’ as “principles”.

    “Rules” felt that dog trainers should follow:

    1. Transparency: Being honest and objective when discussing and creating plans. Explaining all details with clients prior to services and giving a realistic timeline. Within reason, offering supportive evidence and outlets for clients. Rates are clearly stated. Do not hide details or state false claims. Ex. Training new alerts for a SDiT, will state, “this is my second time replicating this plan”.

    1. Respect: Being mindful of the dog and the client during all exchanges. Never take a job where the dog is not 110% considered and respected. Zero-tolerance for discrimination, zero bias when accepting or working with clients/dogs.

    1. Competency: Not taking cases you are not qualified for. Consider what would best suit the goals, needs and greatest wellbeing of the client and their dog. Refer out and stay within your area of expertise.

    1. Confidentiality: Get written consent from the client as to whether or not they would allow any of their information to be shared. Never post children, street signs, #s, license plates or photos that identify them. Information on their training should be kept and logged for reference, but never shared. Only offer vital details when asking for professional input on a case. Honor the clients wishes for privacy and never use training dogs for publicity.

    1. Stay up to date with local and state laws that affect the profession. Keep your environment as clean, comfortable and accommodating for any dogs in your care. Routinely inspect and improve the environment. Do not disregard leash laws, or schedule training in areas where you know the dog may not be prepared to train.

    6. Continue education. Stay open to what supports and aligns with the highest standards for the industry.

    7. LIMA

    8. Keep written records, training logs, vet files and save email/phone exchanges on file. Stay accountable. Would never guarantee, though perhaps via written assessment, “What are your overall -expectations-?” So this may open the door to what’s possible and how/where to start.

    9. Follow up and be loyal by offering the best to clients you work with.

    10. Safety. Take all necessary precautions to ensure training succeeds. Environment, tools, plans, working with clients, etc.

  • Anjani Heath

    January 4, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    1. Respect- Trainers should have respect for clients, animals, and other trainers. Trainers should not publicly attack other trainers or methods. When giving criticism it should be done in a professional manner. Show respect by being punctual and efficient with your/their time.

    2. Confidentiality- Trainers should not share personal information about their clients. Trainers should receive permission before sharing pictures, videos, etc. of clients and/or their dogs. Trainers should not talk negatively to others about their clients.

    3. Transparency- Trainers should make known all training methods to their clients. Clients should be made aware of any health issues or injuries that occur during in kennel training. Pricing should be made clear upfront-no hidden fees.

    4. Fairness- Treat all clients equally.

    5. Abide by the Law- Trainers should follow all federal, state and local laws pertaining to running a business and handling animals (e.g., Obeying leash laws). If there is a grey area or uncertainty, trainers should err on the side of what is legal rather than trying to find a loophole.

    6. Trustworthy- Trainers should be worthy of clients trust when handling their dogs and in their business dealings. Trainers should be honest and forthright. Trainers should always strive to do the right things and hold themselves to a high standard.

    7. Accountability- Trainers should take responsibility for the jobs they take and should not accept jobs for which they are not yet qualified.. Trainers should abide by what they have agreed to do and perform their services in a timely manner. Trainers should ensure that they always follow the set ethical guidelines.

    8. Abide by LIMA- trainers should make sure to train dogs in a way that is least intrusive to the human-dog relationship and use minimal aversives when administering punishments.

    9. Communication- trainers should communicate clearly with clients about what they agree to accomplish. Trainers should notify clients of progress as well as set backs. Trainers should communicate to their clients the individual nature of dog training. Each situation and dog breed is unique and may require different techniques and timelines.

    10. Professionalism- Trainers should be professional in their conversations, appearance, training environment (facility, cleaning up after dogs at parks, etc.), payment methods, correspondence etc. Expressing and displaying professionalism shows you clients that you have a strong work ethic.

    • Marina Darling Zeitler

      January 28, 2023 at 6:14 am

      Love how you added LIMA I am definitely going to remember that for my final Code of Conduct. Good work overall!

  • Marina Darling Zeitler

    January 28, 2023 at 6:07 am

    Code of Conduct

    Foundation-style trainers strive to increase the well-being of both handlers and K-9s in an ethical manner, through mutual exchange and implementation of Least Invasive Minimally Aversive (LIMA) strategies to foster better communication, competence, and collaboration between them.


    Honesty, truthfulness, and openness are paramount in business and character. No information should be withheld, such as bite history. Trainers should be appropriately qualified and fees should be consistent; nothing should be promised if it cannot be delivered.


    I will pursue excellence in the dog training profession by continued education in a wide variety of dog training techniques, theories, and methods, and self-critique to improve my communication and effectiveness with clients.


    Trainers should be appropriately qualified and fees should be consistent; nothing should be promised if it cannot be delivered.

    Trainers must possess the necessary qualifications, charge a consistent price, and only make promises they can keep.


    I promise to uphold the integrity and professionalism representative of a certified trainer.

    I Promise to Keep Records of all training plans, lessons, and notes to refer back to at any time and keep clients on track.

    I Promise to have have sufficient insurance for any case that requires it ready;.


    I will keep client personal information and other client-identifying factors confidential and not identify clients to others without written consent.


    I am obligated to render “loyal and faithful” service to the client, to act with “good faith,” and not to compete with but rather to advance the client’s interests. I will not act in a way that benefits me when doing so would create a conflict of interest with the client.


    I will maintain professional business practices, such as accurate contracts, pricing, and delivery of services, and disclose the cost for services clearly, accurately and fairly.


    In providing ethical treatment of clients and their dogs, it is important to recognize the diversity of personalities and temperaments that come with each breed. Training should be customized to the individual, taking into consideration their speed of learning. It is also important to maintain honesty with clients about the achievability of their goals, transparency about training methods or incidents, confidentiality of information, and accountability in all aspects of care and advice. It is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.


    I acknowledge the limits of my knowledge, skills, and abilities, and should I not be proficient in skills or knowledge to assist the client, I will seek outside support or refer them to a qualified professional.

    I will use only the tools, equipment, methods, and techniques that I am proficient enough to incorporate into the training practice in a humane way, ensuring that the preferred tools, equipment, method, or technique does not take precedence over their effectiveness should it be evident that the method or tool is not compatible or productive with the dog’s response, lack of response, or creating undue stress that is counterproductive to a learning environment.

    Obedience to the law

    I will treat all dogs and other animals in accordance with all federal laws as they pertain to animal welfare and the humane treatment of animals.

    • Marina Darling Zeitler

      January 28, 2023 at 6:29 am

      I’m still working on this. But really wanted to get something in because I was late on doing this part. I’ll update it once my final is done.

    • Andy Moyle

      November 17, 2023 at 7:31 pm

      I like how you incorporated the principles from Mr. D’Abruzzo’s lecture seamlessly into your suggested code of conduct

  • Patrycja Tomczyk

    March 1, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Just coming back to this now.


    IACP got few points from me for having option to translate Code of Conduct to my language. Unfortunately not the best attempt as contextual translator is full of mistakes; making it almost not understandable…

    There is a bit of similarities in both of Conducts

    * they both stands against of racism and all sort of possible discrimination of people and them dogs

    * both also emphasizing on need of continuous and ongoing development of the professionals

    * they also highlight need of passing case which is to difficult or out of our knowledge to someone else more experience

    * both also have good point on not promising something what we can’t deliver

    * importance of paying fees to the guild and respect to them members

    * importance of following government/ county laws those referring to animals and others


    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>* IACP quite wordy and a bit messy; total absence of clear layout which could be helpful to find relevant </font>information

    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>*APBT- very nicely space out with headers and highlights- easy to search</font>

    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>*IACP- clearly stating on not supporting of the ban of any tools or methods nor letting members to </font>criticize<font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”> of others. </font>

    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>*APBT- using LIMA or rather own </font>interpretation<font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”> of LIMA to justify not using of aversion and some other tools. In UK version is trying to ban of using all tools including even flat collar- so you have only harness to work with dogs 😉 This point of view is totally against of Steven Lindsay point of view. </font>

    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>*APBT- </font>emphasizing<font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”> on not attacking members and other trainers using the social media and web</font>

    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>*APBT- also very expanded complained system, including separate section for putting LIMA based complained</font>

    <font color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)” face=”inherit”>*IACP- anybody abusing animals will be removed from guild. </font>

  • Adrian Rykaczewski

    June 11, 2023 at 12:38 pm

    After reviewing the codes of both organizations, I would like to present some of my principles in a slightly less formal manner, which I follow when training dogs and solving their behavior problems.

  • 1. When working with dogs, I don’t follow any ideology or current trends, but rely on knowledge based on scientific research.

  • 2. I keep in mind the well-being of the dog, the client, myself, and the entire community involved in working with dogs, without causing harm to any of them.

  • 3. I always treat both people and animals with respect during my work.

  • 4. I prioritize the safety of the client, myself, the dog, and any other individuals or animals which may inadvertently be present in the environment.

  • 5. If I am not competent in a specific aspect of working with or living with dogs, I inform the client and make an effort to help him find a suitable specialist.

  • 6. If necessary, I consult my diagnosis and work plan with another expert.

  • 7. Before starting any work, I gather all relevant information that may impact the process or contribute to the dog’s behavior issues.

  • 8. I always remember that a health problem can have an impact on changes in a dog’s behavior, especially when they occur suddenly.

  • 9. I inform the client that working with a dog is a process that requires time and commitment on their part, and that I do not employ quick fixes, magical solutions, or training hacks as they can cause unwanted side effects and are not sustainable.

  • 10. If necessary, I make the client’s expectations towards the dog and the effects that we are able to achieve real.

  • 11. By understanding the limitations of the dog and the owner, I create a work plan that is realistic and achievable for them.

  • 12. Throughout the entire duration of working with a client, I am able to flexibly adjust and modify the work plan based on the specific situation. I am not afraid to admit when a previously devised plan needs to be changed.

  • 13. I start working with each dog from the foundations, not skipping any important elements that precede training. I also do not skip the stages of the training itself.

  • 14. The training plans I create should be understandable for the client, and I make an effort to explain in detail what we are doing and why. I also provide additional materials that explain the fundamentals of living with a dog.

  • 15. I ensure that the client understands the relationship between their everyday life with the dog, housebreaking rules, leadership, and what happens in training or when behavior issues arise. I do not begin the actual training process until these aspects are clearly understood and properly implemented.

  • 16. I am always honest when working with clients.

  • 17. I work with every client according to the same principles, regardless of their social status or other factors such as gender, religion, sexual orientation, professional competence in working with dogs, financial capabilities etc. I never succumb to pressure to skip any stage in the dog training process, and I never prioritize more affluent or influential clients over others. I always verify the implementation of my recommendations equally and diligently.

  • 18. I do not involve myself in family matters or household conflicts that are unrelated to the work with their dog.

  • 19. I resign from working with a client who grossly does not comply with my recommendations or notoriously lies in connection with their observance or the performance of tasks assigned between meetings.

  • 20. I do not disclose any client’s personal information without their consent, protecting their image in accordance with the law.

  • 21. When recording work with a dog, I do so only with the client’s consent and use it as a supplement to the recommendations. Any use of recordings for other purposes, such as education, always requires the client’s consent.

  • 22. I never mislead the client, providing honest information about the price, the expected number of sessions, my competencies, experience, knowledge, training methods, training tools, etc. This ensures that the decision to work together is fully informed and not based on any misconceptions or unrealistic expectations the client may have regarding working with me.

  • 23. I do not criticize the actions of my client and other trainers working with the dog before. However, I inform clients about the potential significance of those actions and provide an explanation of my approach.

  • 24. I use training tools that I am knowledgeable about and proficient in using, ensuring their ethical and effective use. I select tools based on the specific needs of each dog and case, never the other way around. When using training tools and creating training plans, I always keep LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive) principles in mind.

  • 25. I continuously educate myself and enhance my skills to become better in my work.

  • I have divided my thoughts into two parts: the one above about working with a dog and client, and the one below about being a member of the Dog Training World community.
  • 1. Be polite in conversations with others.

  • 2. Treat others with respect.

  • 3. Be patient.

  • 4. Be tolerant.

  • 5. Be honest and speak the truth, even if it is difficult.

  • 6. Be understanding.

  • 7. Do not judge others hastily.

  • 8. Try to help others when you have the opportunity or when they ask you for it.

  • 9. Do not be ashamed to ask for help from others.
  • 10. Share your knowledge and experience with other members of this community, just as they do for you.

  • 11. Be constructively critical in order to help others improve, providing professional assessments of their work and assisting in avoiding mistakes in the future.

  • 12. Do not criticize in a contemptuous, disrespectful or provocative manner, on other websites or social media also.

  • 13. Do not build your reputation on criticizing others, but rather on your own accomplishments.

  • Additionally, I appreciate the clarity of the code of conduct presented in the APDT. The categorization and the option to expand on each category allows for maintaining order, especially when there are many sub points. When I initially wrote my points, I thought there would be a few of them. Now, I would like to add several sub points to each point. Therefore, the format of the code of conduct presented in the APDT seems like a sensible solution to me.

  • Allie Dellosa

    June 11, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    I love 18 and 19, I also like how your ethical process includes accountability for competence and continued growth. I love it.

  • Krzysztof

    June 12, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Hello everyone,

    here are my suggestions to supplement the Code of Ethics.

    I apologize in advance for my English, but I hope everything will be understandable and clear.

    1. The trainer is responsible for ensuring the safety of participants, bystanders and the dog, which he does by informing the client about what steps he should take before and during the training – e.g. purchase of appropriate quality training equipment.

    Comment: it often happens that the client brings a dog to training in a poor quality collar or harness that can be damaged and cause the dog to run away, the same applies to the leash. Providing the owner with minimal precautions, adjusting the collar, using an undamaged leash gives comfort to both the trainer and the owner, and also ensures the safety of training.

    2. The trainer does not impose the behavior towards the dog on the client – with the exception of point 1. If the client makes a decision that raises the trainer’s doubts, he should inform the client of the potential consequences so that the client is aware of them.

    3. Confidentiality – the trainer does not provide information about the client and his dog to third parties, does not record the client’s image in the form of photos and/or video without his express consent. Sharing the recordings or the training process with other people, e.g. for educational purposes, should also take place only with the express consent of the client.

    4. We work with the client and the dog as they are. It is forbidden to evaluate any actions from the past, e.g. regarding the dog’s upbringing mistakes. Thanks to this, we increase the client’s trust in the trainer as a professional.

    5. The trainer should not discredit the work of other trainers. It should be our job to ensure that we raise awareness of professional dog training, not to ridicule someone else’s work or try to destroy the competition.

    Comment: in my home market there are schools – quite large and well-known, which regularly try to discredit the work of other trainers. Such behavior is unethical and should not take place. I believe that such practices should be eliminated using possible legal means.

    6. The trainer should adapt the activities to local laws.

    7. The trainer should conclude an agreement/contract with the client, which describes the terms of cooperation, including the financial aspect.

    Comment: such formalization of cooperation gives security to both the client and the trainer, as it allows you to clearly and precisely set the conditions. It also gives you the opportunity to pursue legal claims, if any, and defend against claims.

    8. The trainer undertakes to train the dog to the extent it is prepared. It is unacceptable to train in a field in which the trainer would improvise due to lack of knowledge.

    9. The trainer should use only such tools that he knows and understands their operation based on scientific knowledge. The trainer should work with awareness of the potential risks resulting from the techniques and tools he uses and always choose the path that brings the greatest profit for the dog and at the same time the least discomfort.

    Comment: I have seen many times how trainers fascinated by some new tool heavily abused it, trying to take shortcuts, which did not bring training benefits, but had a negative impact on the emotions of the dog and the owner.

    10. The trainer should always maintain the highest possible standard of knowledge. If the client disagrees, starts a discussion trying to impose a different way or solutions, we should be prepared to lose the client, instead of keeping him at all costs.

    Comment: I have met clients many times who tried to impose solutions or negated the proposed solutions. Compromise never led to success, the client, the dog and me as a trainer lost – I gained a dissatisfied client.

    11. The client should be informed about the opinion about the dog directly and not withhold information only because the client feels better.

    Comment: Customers are often not objective in their assessment of their dog. Make them aware of the problem and its consequences. Otherwise, it can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts between the trainer and the client.

    12. As professionals, we should pay attention to other aspects such as the condition of the dog, its health, diet, etc. If necessary, we should undertake three-way cooperation Trainer – Client – Veterinarian.

    Comment: It happens that the client is not aware of his dog’s health problem. A dog that suffers from pain, for example, will not cooperate and learn like a healthy dog, which means that training may be ineffective. Also, training work with a sick dog can worsen its health.

    13. You should train, exchange experience with other trainers, improve your competences and maintain the most up-to-date knowledge based on new scientific experiences.

    14. Transparency of the trainer by not concealing information about his work and experience, as well as by not making false statements, e.g. about skills, certificates or training programs.

    Comments: I’ve come across a situation many times where a trainer claimed to have “invented” or “developed” a technique when it turned out that they were borrowed from trainers from another country. The same applies to training materials when the trainer claims to be the author, but in fact the materials are copied from the programs of other trainers from other countries. I consider such practices unethical and dishonest. Respecting copyright seems to me paramount in maintaining transparency and purity.

    Ok. For me – and as I’ve noticed for most people here – apdt’s code of ethics is clearer and more specific, as opposed to the rather general rules of iacp. The issue of advertising discussed by apdt seems redundant – probably in most places in the world it will be governed by local regulations. Transparency seems to be a matter of course, but it is one of the points I made above – I do not see the need for additional specific regulation on advertising and marketing.

    An interesting topic (apdt) seems to be the procedure for submitting and examining ethics complaints. This may indeed be an important issue that should also find its place here.

    • Patrycja Tomczyk

      June 13, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      I like especially point 4. No need to focus on the past, when we have future to come. Most of our clients is looking for solution of problem which will help them to enjoy life with dog, not chat about what went wrong in the past.

  • Adrian Rykaczewski

    June 12, 2023 at 4:48 pm

    I like point 12 with the commentary very much. The formulation regarding three-way cooperation is great.

  • 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”

    <b style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>

    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.

  • Tina

    December 7, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Is short and to the point. However leaves some problems open. Meaning their could be problems later
    Was long to read. Covers alot and love how they will give people a chance to be part oof the Network even if they have made mistakes. It’s a great way to education people.
    However it seems like if their is a program to report on a training you will have to jump threw hoops to report, can lead to people not report and never having the problem solve.
    I think a code of conduct should be an open dialogue with trainer and customer. With realistic expectations of an outcome. Because you are working as a team an with out communication their is no set goats. Forthmore to find out if you’re a good match an able to do what the client is seeking out.

  • Ken Lebowitz

    February 22, 2024 at 11:03 pm

    The International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) both have comprehensive codes of conduct and ethics for their members, but they focus on different aspects reflecting their organizational goals and philosophies.

    The IACP emphasizes a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and harassment, the pursuit of excellence in dog training through a variety of techniques, confidentiality, professional business practices, and adherence to animal welfare laws. It mandates members to refrain from false promises and to use training tools and methods humanely​​.

    The APDT’s Code of Professional Ethics includes principles such as non-discrimination, confidentiality, professional competence and integrity, responsibility to the profession, and specific guidelines for financial arrangements and advertising. It encourages the use of positive reinforcement and a Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) approach to training. The APDT also has specific procedures for filing and reviewing ethical complaints​​.

    Here are 10 rules I feel that dog trainers should follow if taking paid jobs from the public:

    Non-Discrimination: Provide services without discrimination based on race, age, gender, or other characteristics.

    Confidentiality: Keep client and animal information confidential unless written consent is given.

    Professional Competence: Continuously improve skills and knowledge in dog training and behavior.

    Integrity in Advertising: Advertise services truthfully, including qualifications and experience.

    Safety First: Ensure the safety of clients, animals, and the public in all training programs.

    Humane Training Methods: Use humane training techniques that prioritize positive reinforcement and avoid unnecessary stress or harm to the animal.

    Legal Compliance: Comply with all applicable laws related to animal welfare and business practices.

    Client Consent: Obtain informed consent for any recordings or third-party observations.

    Conflict of Interest Disclosure: Disclose any potential conflicts of interest to clients.

    Professional Courtesy: Respect colleagues and refrain from public criticism or defamation.

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