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

  • Patryk Krawczyk

    February 24, 2024 at 11:51 am

    Hello everyone I see everybody already made a lot of compares and after reading commends i only will add something from my rules of participation in classes. I raise the topic to also obtain certain behaviors from customers, and this already says a lot about our standards. There are some parts:

    . Vaccinations and health:

    a. All dogs participating in the training must be vaccinated in accordance with applicable regulations.

    c. In case of any health problems, the participant is obliged to inform the instructor before starting classes.

    d. It is forbidden to participate in classes with dogs suffering from infectious diseases (e.g. dog runny nose, conjunctivitis, etc.)


    Participants are obliged to participate in classes on time.

    Any “dirt” left by dogs must be cleaned up immediately by owners, and it is forbidden to throw away bottles and other garbage on the training ground.

    Any form of violence towards the dog is strictly prohibited.

    Photographing and recording during classes is allowed only with the consent of all participants.

    .Prohibition of consuming intoxicating substances:

    a. Any use of narcotic substances by training participants is strictly prohibited.

    b. Participants will be immediately excluded from classes if this rule is violated.


    a. If accompanied by children, parents are fully responsible for their safety and behavior.

    b. Children who are not training participants should remain under constant adult supervision.

    Instructor Education:

    a. Instructors are obliged to regularly improve their skills by participating in training and courses.

  • Barbara Sobotka

    March 4, 2024 at 1:56 am

    Me and Adrian Rykaczewski have been working together for a long time, based on the same principles. I took part in the creation of Adrian’s Code of conduct, so first I thought I’ll just sort out our points, because I still agree with all of them and I would add nothing. But I decided to think about all the rules in a different way and search not for rules, but their foundation – values that guide us. I found only 4, not 10 or more, but I think they are essential and include all the points we wrote down a few months ago.

    1. Improvement

    Not only dogs learn during training and not only in working directly with dogs we can improve as trainers. We, our clients, other trainers, even our teachers – we are all students whose only difference is the stage of learning. We still have a lot to learn and a lot of opportunities to do so, so have an open mind and still search for new, better ways, according to LIMA.

    1. Respect

    This point includes the respect for the law, for science, for truth, for the bond between dog and the owner, for canine nature and for human nature – we work with both species in fact. We should act in the right way to show respect and be respected. We should be aware of our own and others’ (people and dogs) needs, weaknesses and strengths, and the time needed to accomplish every single step. In order to safely, effectively and ethically solve any problem or help owner train a dog, we must respect all actual possibilities and limitations (for example not try to speed up the training process, use training hacks or slip over some steps, but in the same time try to solve a problem as soon as possible) and prepare a good training plan, without side effects. By ignoring some factors, we will not get the job done well. Our goal is to create not only good plans, but also doable ones, and for me, that also involves respect.

    1. Courage

    Courage means speaking the truth, even if it is inconvenient for us or others. We have to act responsible even if that means to refuse or break the work with the dog or redirect clients to other trainers. Courage is often necessary to change point of view, face the consequences of mistakes and start to search for new answers.

    1. Love

    If you don’t love this profession and the things that come with it, all the points above just won’t work.

    Now IACP and APDT codes of ethics:

    Both codes are based on the need to define clear rules – in IACP it is done chaotically in the form, so these rules aren’t so clearly shown as they should be, and in APDT the form imposes a certain order, which I like.

    In my opinion, in a lot of cases the trainer is an advocate for the dog and must represent its interests, of course respecting the needs of his client and the relationship between the client and his dog. Training should make their living together better. However, both of these codes say nothing about this issue, focusing only on the relationship between the “human” sides of the work in this profession.

    In both codes there is no guarantee of results, but also neither of them contains information about the expected results, the training plan and steps, approximate time needed, the most likely consequences of the actions taken, and possible alternatives.

    In IACP my attention was particularly drawn to the point: “IACP members may not seek to deprive any canine professional of his or her ability to conduct his or her business by seeking to restrict or ban accepted and established tools of the trade, or by seeking to restrict or ban accepted and established techniques and practices within the industry through calls for boycotts, restrictions, bans, or other actions designed to interfere with free marketplace participation of a canine professional in his or her business. Accepted and established tools of the trade include, but are not limited to, leashes, harnesses, training collars, slip collars, prong collars, head halters, remote electronic collars, and electronic pet containment systems. Accepted and established techniques and practices include, but are not limited to, those techniques and practices described in published books, videos, and professional seminars. A personal preference shall be allowed in the individual member’s choice of methods, equipment and techniques within their own practice.” The first part is good, but in the second part there should be principles or rules for ethical using tools, according to LIMA. But in IACP code, everyone can use any “techniques and practices described in published books, videos, and professional seminars” without verifying the ethics of these techniques and practices and even without verifying the competences of authors of these “books, videos, and professional seminars”. So it seems that everyone can do anything with dogs, using any tool in any way they want.

    I was looking for a good code of ethics in Polish organizations to compare and I ended up with “Psychologist’s code of ethics” in Polish Psychological Association. I think it is really well written and quite accurately reflects the issues related to the profession of a dog trainer. For those interested: Kodeks etyczny psychologa – Polskie Towarzystwo Psychologiczne (PTP)

  • Hailey Mott

    April 7, 2024 at 7:46 pm

    Comparing & Contrasting the IACP and APDT:

    In reviewing the codes of conduct, each organization comes off as as credible, professional and advocates for humane practices; it’s really just a matter of where your values and training styles align with more. Between both, there is a lot of overlap in important areas:

    1. Honesty
      • Give clients honest feedback and opinions
      • Avoid guaranteed statements and create realistic training plans
      • Create transparency in your services (do not deceive your clients)
      • Be honest about your skillset and credentials
      • Adhere to the promised training plan and schedule
    2. Respect
      • Respect clients and how they manage, handle and care for their dogs
      • Respect your clients in how you speak to and teach them
      • Respect the public and local laws and spaces
      • Respect the code of conduct that you serve
    3. Inclusiveness
      • Be respectful and inclusive to all clients, no matter the race, age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, health status, religion, political beliefs, national origin, or sexual orientation
    4. Competency
      • Ensure that as a trainer you take on only clients that you have the skillset and expertise for
      • Assess and recognize when it’s best to recommend another professional for the job
      • Serve customers with proper time, care and attention
      • Set your clients up for success
    5. Empathy
      • Listen and understand your client and their dog’s unique needs
      • Adjust and create custom training plans accordingly
    6. Professionalism
      • Act professionally, as you are a reflection of the organization, the dog training industry and your own business
    7. Continued education
      • Continue to further your education — increase knowledge, skills and experience
      • Stay current and remain open-minded/respectful to other training methods
    8. Confidentiality
      • Do not release documentation, advertising, client conversations, etc. without their consent
    9. Humanity
      • Use minimally aversive methods and humane practices
    10. Follow your respective codes of conduct & report members who do not adhere

    Overall, I found the APDT’s code of conduct to be easier to read through, more strict and detailed, with a variety of topics included. It’s clear that positive reinforcement practices are on the forefront. However, I believe that their mentions of LIMA can be a grey area and should be updated.

    It states that trainers should minimize aversives and promote LIMA training. If you are not following this, there is a system for filing complaints and it is taken very seriously. This is great because it encourages safe practices, but due to the lack of details of what this entails, this could cause subjectivity when it comes to the choice of tools. More of an antidote/example to clarify: I’ve heard stories of APDT certified trainers who have had complaints filed against them for what they believed to be minimally aversive, but the trainer filing the complaint disagreed. To ensure objectivity and minimize biases within this organization, clarity is needed. Are they using Steven Lindsay’s LIMA or a modified version? Currently, their site has more information about filing a LIMA-based complaint against an APDT member than explaining how to follow it.

    In comparison, the IACP’s code of conduct is more broad. My inference is that the broad nature is intentional; a way to give their trainers more flexibility on their methods, tools and training opinions (this could also be seen as positive or negative). The IACP seems business-forward. While their code of conduct feels less intimidating to me with more freedom, it also seems less written with care — or possibly generic — due to it’s short nature (versus the APDT’s). It could benefit from adding a few rules that the APDT has that I found valuable:

    • Encourage trainers to document everything and have contracts
    • Have liability insurance
    • Be aware of and avoid conflicts of interest
    • Give advice/rules related to branding, logos, advertising, copyrights, and more

    These small admin and business-related details could save a trainer from a lawsuit.

    Additionally, I loved the APDT’s focus on collaboration with their client’s vets/other related professionals and ensuring a holistic, cross-care approach. I believe that no matter the organization, this should be of importance.

  • Hailey Mott

    April 7, 2024 at 11:48 pm

      Hi all! Here’s my code of conduct. This is very tailored to me and my specific passions.

      1. Lead with empathy and compassion

      Towards the owner: Build trust with clients by being an active listener who has a deep understanding of their situation and their needs. Provide support and guidance outside of training sessions.

      Towards the dog: Embrace the dog’s viewpoint of the world. Be patient and develop a genuine bond. Reward every win and exude positivity.

      2. Foster safe spaces

      Towards the owner: Encourage open, candid, collaborative communication and honest feedback. Respectfully take critiques. Speak humbly and approachably to clients.

      Towards the dog: Above all, prioritize the happiness and wellbeing of the dog using humane practices. Consistently re-evaluate, analyze and make necessary changes to ensure the dog feels safe and advocated for.

      Towards the owner & dog: Guide with confidence and a calm presence.

      3. Operate with respectful professionalism

      Towards the owner: Respect each owner’s unique beliefs, values and experiences as the dog parent. Speak with kindness and professionalism. Uphold all confidentiality agreements.

      Towards the dog: Build mutual respect by respecting the dog’s feelings and boundaries. Train using LIMA-based practices while creating consistency and promoting positive interactions.

      Towards other trainers: Never put down other trainers — publicly or privately — in a negative, unprofessional manner. Respectfully disagree and/or invite them to learn more about my point of view if they’re interested.

      4. Be transparent and honest in…

      My experience: Provide all clients with my certifications and background. Work only with dogs within my limits of knowledge, skills and abilities. If I do not have the skills necessary, I will offer recommendations and support in finding a trainer who does.

      My training methods & business: Ensure clients understand my training methods and the dogs schedule, plan and goals. Openly share and display customer reviews. Encourage questions and answer honestly.

      My communication style: Set expectations to clients upfront as to business hours, preferred communication style and communication turnaround time.

      My administrative practices: Send clients all necessary paperwork upfront, such as pricing, financing and payment options, contracts, waivers, confidentiality agreements and process documents. Always communicate updates and changes.

      5. Adapt and iterate

      For the owner: Actively listen to feedback from the owner and adapt approach as needed. Tailor communication style to the method that works best for the dog owner. Be open to change and quickly iterate on what’s already been built.

      For the dog: Tailor training methods to each dog’s individual needs, temperament, personality and learning speed. Identify what is and isn’t working and adapt accordingly.

      6. Be accountable

      To my actions – Personally and professionally

      In my commitments to clients – Be on time and follow through with all training plans/goals

      In my communications – Respond thoroughly and in a timely manner

      7. Be objective

      Remove personal biases in all situations. Remove myself from clients or situations if I am unable to do so.

      8. Stay committed to continued education

      Continue meeting certification and licensing requirements

      Keep up with industry standards and seek out new, innovative techniques

      Always look for ways to improve skill set

      Network with and learn from other trainers

      Mentor new trainers

      Read, research, and value the science

      Never stop asking questions

      9. Value collaboration

      Create a holistic, consistent approach to training by working with my client, their vet, behaviorist and/or any other relevant parties when applicable.

      10. Give back

      Provide pro bono training services, volunteer time or knowledge sharing with a rescue in need to help increase the chances of successful adoptions, while reducing return rates and promoting responsible dog ownership.

  • Allie Dellosa

    April 9, 2024 at 12:34 pm

    I love how thoughtful and thorough this is. This sets very clear expectations for your process!

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