The Academy mission and code of conduct

The Academy exists to provide a comprehensive, evidence-based, rigorous curriculum on aversives-free pet dog training, behavior and behavior change so that dogs:

  1. are not relinquished to shelters and rescues due to behavior problems
  2. are integrated into families and not relegated to yards, garages or kennels
  3. are socialized, have high quality of life, enriched environments, and a sense of safety
  4. are understood by their human families and allowed to engage in behaviour that is normal for their species with access to attention, play, food, toys, smells etc. in ways that are acceptable in a human environment,

so that dog trainers:

  1. are fully trained and mentored in an ethical and evidence-based standard of care
  2. have long, safe, fulfilling careers
  3. are supported and provided a safe environment to learn, grow and flourish,

and so that dogs' families:

  1. can enjoy the richest possible relationship with their dogs
  2. are empowered to manage and modify their dogs' behavior
  3. understand the nature and needs of their dogs.

Code of Conduct

To achieve this mission, students, staff and graduates of The Academy ("members of The Academy") willingly adhere to the highest professional standards befitting a complex, helping profession. These include:

I.   Aversives-Free Training Philosophy
While The Academy recognizes that it is still legal in most jurisdictions to use punishment and aversive techniques on dogs, there is ample evidence in both the pure and applied scientific literature that training, dog wrangling and behavior modification can be accomplished without the use of aversive stimuli and their attendant side effects, impact on dog welfare and ethical considerations. Students, staff and graduates of The Academy practice and endorse training, dog wrangling and behavior modification that do not employ pain, fear, startle, electric shock, intimidation, strangulation or any similar methods.

II.   Evidence-Based Practice and Intellectual Integrity
Competence at dog training, behavior modification and effective skill-building in owners relies on a thorough knowledge of the principles of animal behavior, and of operant and classical conditioning, as well as their efficient application in pet dog settings. Furthermore, the dog owning public is best protected as consumers of dog training and behavior modification services if questions of the dog’s motivation and side-effects of methods used to train are transparent. Competence and transparency are therefore critical to our work.

Attempts to obscure the method of motivating the dog, either through poor knowledge of animal learning or deliberate attempts to hide or re-brand techniques and tools is unacceptable. Misrepresenting to clients, other professionals or the public how training and behavior modification work is dishonest and unethical practice.

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