Nordic Education Centre for Dog Trainers Code of Ethics.
Feelings and emotions:
We wholeheartedly accept and acknowledge that dogs are unique individuals, each with their own distinct experiences and personalities. We recognise that dogs possess a wide spectrum of emotions, just as humans, and can experience feelings such as happiness, sadness, frustration, stress, physical discomfort and pain, and social pain, among others.
As responsible and compassionate caregivers, we prioritise understanding and respecting the emotional complexity of dogs to ensure their well-being and happiness are at the forefront of our care practices.
Force-free and fear-free:
We firmly advocate for the exclusive use of force-free and fear-free methods in our dog training practices. We distinctly reject any approach that involves force, intimidation, fear/scaring, or the application of verbal and/or physical punishment to dogs.
We strictly refrain from employing any tools or devices that can inflict discomfort, pain, or fear upon dogs. This includes, but is not limited to, shock collars/e-collars, prong collars, retriever leashes, choke chains, spray or noise collars, and so-called no-pull harnesses.
Because we prioritise the well-being and comfort of our canine companions, we advocate the use of a well fitted harness that provides a secure fit without hindering their natural freedom of movement or cause discomfort. This should be used with a leash that is a minimum of 3-metres in length to allow dogs a degree of freedom to explore their surroundings while maintaining safety.
We adhere exclusively to positive reinforcement techniques. This entails providing dogs with the freedom of choice, allowing them the opportunity to sniff and explore their surroundings, and rewarding them with the incentives that are valued and appreciated by each individual dog.
By offering dogs the freedom to make choices and explore their environment, we promote a sense of autonomy and engagement. Additionally, we understand that rewards should be tailored to suit the preferences and motivations of each dog, ensuring that they find the incentives genuinely rewarding.
Communication and Understanding:
A key aspect of our approach is to teach as many humans as possible to recognise a dog’s calming signals, and to learn how to use them in all interactions with dogs. We are proud to collaborate very closely with Turid Rugaas, the renowned expert who pioneered the study of calming signals in dogs. By staying up to date with the latest research and insights from Turid, we ensure that this essential aspect of communication is integrated into all our teachings.
Our partnership with Turid Rugaas allows us to bring the most current knowledge and practices in recognising and responding to calming signals, benefitting both dogs and their human companions. We believe that understanding these signals is vital for promoting a calm and positive environment, allowing for better communication and a deeper understanding of dogs.
By incorporating Turid Rugaas’ expertise into our teaching, we aim to equip our students with the tools and knowledge they need to effectively communicate with and understand dogs. This commitment to continuous learning and collaboration underscores our dedication to providing the best possible training experience for both dogs and their caregivers.
We place strong emphasis on promoting a comprehensive understanding of stress and recognising its significance in the well-being of dogs. It is our priority to create a stress-free environment for both dogs and their caregivers, as we believe it is crucial for a good learning environment and the overall health and well-being of dogs.
Patience and Empathy:
Cultivating patience and empathy are vital aspects of our ethical approach to providing a conductive environment for dogs. We firmly believe in granting dogs the necessary time to learn and adjust to new experiences. As trainers, we strive to demonstrate understanding and support throughout the training process. It is of outmost importance to refrain from expressing frustration or anger both in training sessions and otherwise. By fostering an environment of patience, empathy, and positive reinforcement, we aim to create a harmonious and enriching learning journey for our canine companions.
Freedom of Choice:
We advocate for the importance of providing dogs with freedom of choice wherever it is possible to do so without compromising their safety. We firmly believe that offering dogs the opportunity to make choices is paramount to their well-being and contributes to fostering confident individuals with reduced fear and anxiety.
Our commitment to recognising and supporting the freedom of choice is an integral part of our ethical approach to dog care. We emphasise the value of empowering dogs to express their natural behaviours and preferences whilst, at the same time, ensuring their safety and overall happiness and well-being.
Dogs are individuals with unique personalities, temperaments, and learning styles. We recognise and respect these differences, tailoring training to suit each dog’s need, age, previous experiences, and specific behavioural challenges.
Enrichment and Well-being:
As ethical trainers we consider the overall well-being of the dog. We provide mental and physical stimulation, opportunities for socialisation, and a promote a comfortable and stress-free living environment. We ensure a holistic approach and address the important needs such as proper nutrition, exercise, and healthcare to ensure the dog’s overall welfare.
We acknowledge that dogs are sentient beings with complex emotions and needs. Our approach encompasses a comprehensive and interconnected view of the dog’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We treat the dog as a whole being, considering all aspects of their health, behaviour, and environment. This approach recognises that the dog’s physical health, emotional state, past experiences, and surroundings all play integral roles in their behaviour and learning process. We create training plans based on implementing positive, individualised and compassionate training methods.
We do not support confining dogs in crates with closed doors except under exceptional circumstances, such as during car transportation or vet visits.
We believe in the importance of staying updated on the latest scientific research and promote continuous learning for all our staff and students.