APDT Code of Practice 2023


The objects of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) are to carry out activities which benefit the community and in particular (without limitation) to:

1.1. Supply and promote progressive, science and evidence-based training methods for the benefit of dogs, their owners, veterinary practices, rehoming centres and other organisations.

1.2. To assess dog training instructors in their knowledge and skills in order to maintain the highest dog training standards.

1.3. Keep a register of assessed dog training instructors (our members/stakeholders) in order that dog owners can find accredited APDT instructors to help them train their dog(s).

1.4. To further the understanding of progressive science and evidence-based dog training methods, via the provision and access to educational courses.


2.1. The APDT strives to create an inclusive environment where everyone is respected and valued. The APDT is committed to creating an association that celebrates diversity and is free of discrimination and bias.

2.2. This Code of Practice (CoP) applies to all members/stakeholders of the APDT in furtherance of the OBJECTS outlined above.

2.3. Membership of the APDT is subject to passing an assessment and agreement to adhere to this CoP and its associated policies.
Membership is subject to annual renewal which reaffirms your continued agreement.


Members are required:

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

3.2. 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.

3.3. To be covered by public liability and professional indemnity insurance, be that personal or by employment, and be able to supply evidence upon request.

3.4. To act in good faith and avoid making misleading claims or statements in the provision of dog training instruction.

3.5. Not to use their membership of the APDT to misrepresent or claim their views or endorsements as being for or on behalf of the APDT .

3.6. To comply with current General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and APDT Policy.

3.7. To understand that a spot check on adherence to the CoP may occur.

3.8. To comply with APDT policies, members must avoid promotion, involvement or creation of inappropriate content in line with the DEI and Bullying policies.


4.1. Members shall practise with integrity. Their actions or advice should not knowingly cause psychological, physical distress nor damage to clients, clients’ dogs and society in general.

4.2. Commercial consideration should not be prioritised over the welfare of clients and their dogs.

4.3. Members shall maintain professional relationships with their clients in accordance with the APDT Safeguarding Policy.

4.4. Members shall not misrepresent their activities, nor make unrealistic claims as a dog training instructor. Members must make clear whenever they are expressing personal opinion or speculative theories.

4.5. Members shall not slander and/or libel clients, trainers and other professionals.

4.6. Members shall not actively seek to attract business from other trainers by misrepresentation.

4.7. Members must ensure they continue to check the currency, accuracy and completeness of their information and knowledge by undertaking Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of not less than 15 hours per annum in accordance with the CPD Policy.


5.1. All training must be conducted according to Kind, Fair and Effective methods for human and animal learners alike.

5.2. Coercive, punitive techniques and/or aversive equipment should neither be used, recommended, advertised nor sold by members (Appendix 1).

5.3. Members must not lead their clients to form unrealistic expectations of any action or training intervention and ensure they and other associated professionals, are apprised of all potential outcomes.

5.4. Members must not practise whilst under the influence of substances that may impair their judgement.

5.5. Members must ensure use of the APDT logo is in accordance with the Logo policy.

5.6. Members who employ (paid/unpaid) assistants are responsible for ensuring they too abide by the spirit of this CoP.

5.7. Members working alongside non members who stand in as a replacement trainer must ensure that they abide by the principles of the CoP.


6.1. Complaints against members will only be accepted on the following grounds in accordance with the Complaints Procedure:

1. Breach of this CoP.
2. Breach of the Law resulting in a conviction that may bring the APDT into disrepute.

6.2. The complainant should not be disadvantaged by submitting a complaint.

6.3. Complaints which are judged to be vexatious, malicious, or frivolous will not be considered.

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


7.1. This code may be altered by the Board of the APDT following consultation with the members.


While there will never be a definitve list of equipment and techniques that the APDT does not permit, anything that is designed as an aversive should be considered prohibited.

The following list gives examples of some of the equipment and training methods which are covered by the Code of Practice 5.2 not to be used in the course of delivering dog training instruction.


Check/choke chains
Prong, spike or pinch collars
Electric shock devices in any form
High frequency sound devices
Compressed air canisters
Remote controlled spray collars
Automatically triggered spray collars
Training discs/rattle cans/bottles/chains/keys
Strong smelling/tasting substances e.g. smelling salts/bite back/bitter sprays
Any equipment designed to tighten on any part of a dog and being used to do so.


Liquid sprays
Loud noises/Startling sounds as interrupters Throw stick/chain
Pinching any body part
Biting (of dog)
‘Alpha roll’
Any manhandling that causes pain, discomfort or fear
Deliberate checks on collar and/or lead