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Code of Conduct & Ethics

The NICE Code of Conduct and Ethics is central to the running of this membership. Welfare and ethical conduct towards not only the dogs but the dog guardians aided from any member of NICE will adhere to and follow this code. Any deviation from these guidelines by members of NICE will result in removal from the membership.



The guidance within this code is relevant not only to the members of Nice but also to anyone involved in the registration process, inclusive of assessment for both practical and written applications to join the membership.

This code of conduct sets out standards and values which canine professionals in the membership are expected to follow.


Ethical Principles and Core Values

The core values and ethical principles included in the NICE Membership include:

  • Dedication to Continued Professional Development and staying up to date with dog related scientific advances.

  • Commitment of kindness and genuine respect to dogs, guardians, and fellow canine professionals.

  • Honesty and Integrity.

  • Obedience to the law including animal welfare laws and standards.

  • Professional competence and education within positive reinforcement, science-based dog training.

  • Respect for animal rights and animal welfare.

  • Respect for others, canine and human.

  • Responsibility and Accountability.

  • Trustworthiness.


Professional Member Responsibilities

The following professional responsibilities are to be adhered to by the founder of this organisation and all members, including members involved in assessment of applications to join the membership.


Dog Training and Behaviour - Practice Responsibilities

  • Animal welfare is first and foremost in any dog training activity carried out by the NICE and every member of the NICE membership.

  • No member will train a dog using force, fear, or punitive, correction-based methods to train a dog. Dog training methods will be welfare based, ethical, science-based and positive reinforcement driven.

  • No member will use or endorse the use of any equipment that causes physical, emotional or psychological discomfort to a dog under their guidance, or as advice to people training dogs under their guidance.

  • Check, prong, electric, or anti bark collars, including citronella (this list is non-exhaustive) will not be used by members of this organisation nor endorsed for them to be used elsewhere.

  • Anti-pull harnesses (of any type) that cause physical, emotional and psychological discomfort will not be used or advised to be used by the NICE or used/endorsed by anyone on the membership.

  • Methods based on the idea of dominance or non-benevolent leadership are not endorsed by the NICE and will not be used by anyone on the register.

  • The creator of this register, anyone involved on the assessment team and anyone who joins the register will treat dogs with respect and incorporate canine welfare and science led methods into all their practical work with dogs.

  • All professionals on this register will be aware of their own professional limitations and be prepared to refer a dog showing behaviour concerns beyond their skillset to a different qualified professional, who has been proven to operate equally positive and non-punitive methods and maintain high canine welfare standards at all times.

  • No equipment will be recommended, provided or sold to clients which would not directly benefit the animal in their care.


Animal Welfare Standards

NICE works with its instructors, assessors, examiners, verifiers, quality assurers and learners to ensure that live animals are properly looked after where they are involved with NICE training, qualifications, and or assessment activities.

This requires more than simply protecting them from cruelty. We need to meet their needs for food, water and living space, protect them from disease, and create a healthy and stress-free environment for them.

This guidance applies to learners and NICE instructors, assessors, examiners, verifiers and quality assurers. Anyone who has care of an animal must provide for its needs. These needs include:

  • The need for a suitable environment (including appropriate accommodation or shelter and a comfortable resting area)

  • A suitable diet, which should be adequate to maintain full health and vigour

  • The ability to exhibit normal behaviour, this could be met by providing sufficient space, appropriate facilities as well as the company of the animal's own kind

  • The need to be protected from suffering, injury and disease. Animals should be protected from fear and distress by providing conditions which avoid mental suffering. Problems should be diagnosed quickly, and appropriate treatment should be provided for sick or injured animals. Where necessary this treatment should be by a veterinary surgeon.


NICE ensures that where live animals form part of any training, qualification or assessment activities then the following principles will apply:

  • Ensure instructors/assessors are appropriately trained and have skills in delivering provision with live animals

  • Risk assessments are carried out

  • Ensure the welfare of the animal is prioritised creating a good quality environment and appropriate food for the animals

  • The actions of the training or assessment should not have any adverse effects on the behaviour of the animal

  • There should be no cruel or abusive practices

  • No animal will ever be forced or encouraged to do something against its will

  • In cases where learners will be working hands-on with the animal(s), full supervision, guidance and training must be given. The learner must have demonstrated that they are capable of performing necessary tasks with care and competence before commencing training or assessment with animals

  • Unauthorised or improper interaction with animals will not be tolerated

  • Ensure learners, instructors, assessors, examiners, verifiers and quality assurers are fully aware of NICE policy and principles

  • All supporting materials reflect the policy principles


Relevant Animal Welfare Legislation

The Animal Welfare Act (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (which applies in England and Wales), the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 2011 contain provisions to safeguard the welfare of animals. A person with responsibility for an animal may commit an offence if an act, or failure to act, causes an animal to suffer unnecessarily. If a person does not provide for an animal’s welfare needs, they can be banned from owning animals, fined and/or sent to prison.


Dog Guardian/ Client Responsibilities

  • The professional dog trainer on this register will be transparent about costs, methods and timescale of dog training activities to successful completion with their human clients. Clients will be treated fairly and with respect.

  • Client contact will remain confidential and not be discussed outside the client and dog trainer professional relationship without written consent of the dog’s guardian and without good reason. Written consent can include a signed consent form written by the trainer or an email sent by the client to the trainer.

  • Photographs and videos of dogs in training who are not owned by the trainer on this register without specific consent from the dog’s guardian. Specific consent can be spoken consent, but the trainer must make a written record of the spoken consent.

  • All consultations and professional work with dogs will be carried out within the law.

  • Client concerns and complaints will be dealt with swiftly, fairly and records kept within the guidelines of GDPR.

  • Members of this register will be transparent about their qualifications, affiliations and experience and achievements. Statements made to clients will be clarified as to whether they are the opinion of the group or the individual member.

  • Transparency will be shown about the needs of any dog and the client will be made aware as clearly as possible how long the training practice might take for each individual case. The forecast must be clear, realistic and ethical.

  • No prejudice will be shown towards groups or individuals by any member of the NICE.

  • Appropriate self-care and action will be taken if health affects the ability to complete the professional duty at any time.

  • Recommendations must be ethical and if there will be an affiliation payment included in the recommendation the practitioner must make that clear to the client at the time of recommendation.

  • Fees and payments required for the service of working with a client and their dog must be transparent and consistent.

  • There must be transparent and ethical terms and conditions applied to the service provided by the practitioner.

  • Members of this code will respect other organisations and not make claims of superiority or disparage colleagues/members of other organisations.

  • Individuals will not act without informed consent unless required by law to protect an animal, their client or a third party from the risk of harm.


Decision Making Responsibility in The Role of NICE Professional Dog Trainer

When making a decision in a professional-capacity, members must ask themselves of the decision:

  • Is it kind?

  • Does it comply with the NICE code?

  • Does it reflect NICE values and ethics?

  • Does it respect the rights of the dog?

  • Does it comply with animal welfare?

Conflicts of Interest

Members of NICE must not put the welfare of any dog beneath their professional interests.

No dog should be forced into situations or forced to learn more quickly by using any punitive method in order to satisfy the requirements or request for quicker behaviour change from dog guardians. The Professional member will instead carry out personal and professional development on their own communication skills to ensure they can explain the reasons why behaviour change should be at the dog’s pace and managed carefully with positive, kind methods.


Record Keeping

All members of the CCPR are required to maintain excellent confidential client records. All documents, databases, voice messages, mobile device messages, computer documents, files and photos are records. Members are required to:

  • Maintain these records and protect their integrity for as long as required

  • Maintain official record keeping systems to retain and file records required for business, legal, financial, research or archival purposes

  • Dispose of your records according to GDPR legal guidelines

  • Review the NICE GDPR guidance which accompanies this code.


Continuation of Professional Development

CPD is a formal requirement for members at all levels.

  • All NICE members shall develop their professional knowledge, skills and competence on a continuing basis and shall give all reasonable assistance to further the education, training and continuing professional development of others.

  • All members shall have full regard for the welfare of dogs that they are working with and this code of conduct.

  • All members will gain 40 hours of CPD within every 12-month period and evidence submitted to be managed on the NICE CPD member register in six monthly intervals.

  • All CPD will adhere to the NICE Code of Conduct and Ethics.



Code of Conduct Acknowledgement

By signing the NICE membership code of conduct, all members and founders acknowledge that:

  • We have read the entire code of conduct and understand your responsibilities related to it.

  • We have had the opportunity to ask questions to clarify any unclear aspects of the code.

  • We agree to abide by its principles.

  • We agree to report to the company any violations of the code.

  • We agree to cooperate in any investigations of violations of the code.

  • We acknowledge that removal from the register may occur if a member violates this code of conduct.

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