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.

    Kim James
  • 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.

    Kim James
    • Allie Dellosa

      July 29, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      I love 4c

      Kim James
    • 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!)

      Kim James
  • 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
  • Kim James

    July 30, 2022 at 4:10 am

    Pretty good stuff here!

    Kim James
    • 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.

      Kim James
  • 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.

    Kim James
  • 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.

    Kim James
  • 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 ZeitlerKim James
    • 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.

    Kim James
    • 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.

  • 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>

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