The Association of Pet Dog Trainers was founded in 1995 by John Fisher to offer pet dog owners a guarantee of quality when looking for a puppy and dog training class in their area.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers are proud of the fact that they assess all members according to a strict criteria which ensures they have appropriate skills to teach dog training.

They are required to keep their education up-to-date, and adhere to a Code of Practice. If any member is found to be in contravention of this Code, then their membership is withdrawn.

There are ‘Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ in other countries, e.g. USA, Australia and Japan, but members of these Associations do not undergo the Association of Pet Dog Trainers assessments and they have a different Code of Practice.

If you are not sure which APDT your instructor belongs to, please check our website where all UK members are listed.

Please note that Association of Pet Dog Trainers members may offer services over and above the provision of pet dog training. The Association does not include these additional services during the assessment process and cannot attest to the quality of such services.

So often in the past, choosing a class has been pot luck. Damage has been done to an unsuspecting pet and owner before they can spot the danger or realise the discomfort it has caused their pet.

Training dogs has changed immensely in the last few years. It is no longer necessary, or acceptable, to use harsh methods in training, and the use of gentle, motivational methods are as successful as they are enjoyable to use.

Of course, all trainers use slightly different techniques when teaching pet owners to train their own dogs, but all Association of Pet Dog Trainers members use methods that are kind, fair and effective.

APDT  & Veterinary Personnel

Veterinary personnel can rest assured that all Association of Pet Dog Trainers members are happy to work closely with the referring practice, in whichever way they are requested.

APDT members carry their own insurance, thus protecting the owner and accepting accountability. The result of this is that veterinary surgeons are able to refer clients to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers members with confidence.

If you are a dog owner looking for a local trainer, you can check local area listings on this website. Alternatively, you can write (enclosing a SAE) to the admin office, who will be happy to send you a county printout of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in your area.

Only trainers currently listed on the ‘Local Dog Trainers’ page of this website have been assessed and approved by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is a member of the ABTC (Animal and Behaviour Training Council).

They have a comprehensive Standards for Practitioners.

The APDT Policy on half check collars and slip leads.

The APDT Complaints Procedure.

APDT Code of Practice

This code applies to members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. 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 APDT(UK) 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.

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 Association of Pet Dog Trainers 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 Association of Pet Dog Trainers 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.