Codes of Practice

APDT Code of Practice

This code applies to members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Its purpose is to establish and maintain standards for the practice of dog training, to advise and inform veterinary surgeons and members of the public seeking dog training and to further the understanding and advancement of good practice among members.


Members shall practice with integrity and shall recognise their responsibility to clients, clients’ dogs and society in general. Their actions or advice should not knowingly cause psychological or physical distress or damage to any of these.

The welfare of clients and their dogs shall be paramount and shall not be made subordinate to commercial consideration.

Members shall maintain professional relationships with their clients. They shall not exploit such relationships for improper personal, professional or financial gain, nor seek inappropriately to impose their own values on clients.

Members shall not misrepresent their activities or make unrealistic claims to their clients or in their public statements. It should be made clear whenever they are expressing personal opinion and speculative theories should be stated as such.

Members shall respect the views and independence of others and shall not publicly denigrate their conduct or opinions.

Members shall not seek to attract business unfairly or unprofessionally or conduct their practice in any way which would discredit the reputation of the Association.

Members are responsible for continuing their personal and professional development by undertaking further training and study and acquiring knowledge of new theory and practice.


The training methods and/or equipment advised, employed or sold by members shall be consistent with the principles of kindness and fairness to both clients and dogs. For this reason, coercive or punitive techniques and/or equipment should not be used, recommended, advertised or sold by members (Appendix 1.)

The training techniques employed and advised by members are assumed to be the application of scientifically-based research and knowledge and to result from practical experience of the use of non-compulsive methods. Where techniques are experimental, the client and, if applicable, the referring veterinary surgeon must be so informed, Members shall keep clients fully informed about the nature of and reasons for their actions and any possible risk or drawback that might arise from them. They shall not lead their clients to form unrealistic expectations of the outcome of any action or intervention.

Members shall conduct themselves in such a way as not to undermine public confidence in their profession or the Association and shall not practise when physically or psychologically unfit to do so.

Members may accept clients from a variety of referral sources or through direct advertising. Where such advertising refers to clubs or societies it should not assert or imply endorsement by the Association other than to state, where applicable, that all instructors are members. Members may use the letters MAPDT (membership no.) after their name. Members must ensure that their name and membership number appear in all advertising. The logo may not be used except in conjunction with the member’s full details.

Members who work with assistants who are not members are responsible for ensuring that such assistants act responsibly towards clients and are willing to conform to the spirit of this code.


Members are required:

To agree to accept and abide by this code and to supply the Association with a signed statement to that effect.

To abide by and observe the rules, regulations and pronouncements of the Association.

To acknowledge that membership of the Association is solely for individuals and shall not be used to endorse the activities of any club, society or Organisation to which they may belong.

To carry public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

Where acceptance of clients by direct referral from veterinary surgeons shall be part of their practice, to secure and maintain full professional indemnity insurance and to supply referring veterinary surgeons with proof of such insurance, should they request it.

To be careful not to make any misleading claims or statements in advertising or otherwise.

In their endorsement or commercialisation of any product, not to use their membership to suggest that they are speaking on behalf of the Association.

Not to disclose any information about any client which comes to their notice as a result of their professional relationship with the client, or to make public any record, in any form, of their dealings with a client, except where required to do so by rule of law or where the client has consented to the nature and extent of the disclosure.

To agree to be spot checked at any time without prior notification.

Members shall do nothing to bring the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, UK into disrepute.


The committee of the Association shall advise and give directions on all matters of principle and of conduct of members and any complaint or dispute arising there from shall be dealt with by reference to the Constitution of the Association.

Membership will be terminated if a member is found guilty of cruelty or other crime(s) against an animal(s).


This code may be altered by the committee of the Association provided that the proposed alteration is notified to all members and their comments requested and duly considered by the committee.

Appendix 1

Such equipment includes check/choke chains, prong or spike collars, electric shock devices in any form, and high frequency sound devices which are designed to startle. There can never be a definitive list of equipment and techniques that the APDT does not permit. The following list gives examples of some of the equipment and training methods which are covered by the Code of Practice (‘Practice number 1’) not to be used in a dog training class.

  • Pet corrector – emits a hiss of cold air
  • Dog stop – emits a high pitched sound
  • Remote controlled spray collars
  • Automatically triggered spray collars
  • Anti-bark collar – emits spray directed onto dogs skin (including new product jet master)
  • Training discs
  • Liquid sprays
  • Loud noises e.g. rattle cans/bottles/Chains/keys
  • Throw stick/chain
  • Strong smelling substances e.g. smelling salts/ bite back

Punitive methods not to be used in a dog training class

  • Pinching – ears/feet/toes
  • Hitting
  • Biting (of dog)
  • ‘Alpha roll’
  • Any manhandling that causes pain or discomfort

The APDT website directory of members, is regularly updated. Veterinary personnel can rest assured that the names which appear can be referred to with confidence and every member is happy to work closely with the referring practice, in whichever way they are requested to do so.

(source: APDT, retrieved 5 March 2014)

Kennel Club’s KCAI Scheme Code of Practice

This Code of Practice is designed to set out the principles governing both business and training practices to which all KCAI Scheme members, on registering for membership to the Scheme, agree to abide

A. Business Practice - members shall:

  • act with integrity, in a professional courteous manner befitting membership of their club, business, the Kennel Club and the Scheme.
  • exercise professional judgment, skill and care to the best of their ability.
  • respect confidentiality, personal rights and expectations of all, as individuals.
  • charge a fair price for the services provided and shall not unfairly exploit / mislead / offer levels or services not trained / qualified to deliver.
  • not unfairly elicit trade or clientele to the detriment of others, be diplomatic in discussions to avoid criticising or condemning advice given / methods used by other Clubs / Instructors, especially where those in question will not have the opportunity to justify their actions.
  • ensure adequate awareness of legal, health and safety issues including having appropriate insurance.
  • only use designated letters of the Kennel Club when appropriately qualified to do so.

B. Training Practice - members should:

  • be conversant with / promote the Kennel Club Canine Code and aspects of responsible dog ownership.
  • be able to work in the best interest of the individual dog and handler / owner(s).
  • acknowledge and promote suitable and motivational methods.
  • take every reasonable care to control activities which may cause injury or aggression to or by the dog.
  • have an understanding of dog behaviour and mechanisms of learning.
  • have an understanding of the human skills of learning, communication and counselling.
  • be able to advise on the choice, maintenance and safe use of training equipment.
  • be able to teach to the level of their experience and recognise their limitations and consequences of advice given.
  • be willing to keep up-to-date with relevant developments, to improve their own skills and to expand their knowledge.

C. Complaints and grievances

  • Complaints and grievances arising from non-adherence to this Code should be referred to the Kennel Club.
  • The Kennel Club Rule A42 will apply – this rule covers complaints made in respect of conduct that is discreditable or prejudicial to the interests of the canine world.
  • The Kennel Club will offer help and advice to members

(source:  KCAI, retrieved 5 March 2014)