Ethics, Bylaws & Complaints

Together, our Code of Ethics and Bylaws provide members with a framework of principles supporting professionalism, skills and values in dog training.  Members commit they will:

  • Employ and promote only humane techniques in the training of dogs.
  • Be forthcoming with a realistic estimate of costs and time required for the training.
  • More commitments and the details can be found in these links above.

Important Notes:

  • Any member is subject to termination of membership if they have been convicted under any federal or provincial laws governing the inhumane treatment of animals.
  • Non-members may not use any CAPDT Logo trademark without written permission from the CAPDT. 
  • Members must use the logo as reflected in our Logo Use Guidelines.

Handling Code of Ethics and Bylaw Violations

-The process for filing, investigating, and resolving complaints of unethical conduct or by-law violations is described in the Policy and Procedures for Handling Violations of the CAPDT Code of Ethics and By-Laws.

If you are aware of a CAPDT Member who is in direct violation of the STOP list outlined in our code of ethics, please submit your complaint here.

Any person may lay a complaint against a CAPDT member who they believe is not acting in accordance with our Code of Ethics and Bylaws at any time.  To begin the complaints process, please review the above copy of our policy and procedures for handling complaints. Please contact our Ombudsman with details of your concern here.

Limitations of the Association Regarding Complaints

While the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers is concerned about the quality of training and values in our profession and strives to improve both, it is not a regulatory body. While membership is voluntary and signifies an interest by those who join in continuing education and professional improvement for themselves and for the industry, professional dog trainers are not required to be members in order to practice, and members receive no accreditation from the Association. 

Complaints Against Non-Members

The Association can only address complaints concerning its own members. Members are individual trainers; clubs, businesses or organizations offering training may have some trainers who are members and some who are not.

Limitations of Actions

In any complaint against a member, the Association’s powers are limited to actions that pertain to membership in the Association. The Association may advise a member of a complaint and may communicate a requested action by the complainant (eg: refund, credit, suggested future conduct), but enforcement is limited to warnings, reprimands or suspension or revocation of membership. CAPDT is unable to force a member to provide satisfaction to a complainant except by avoidance of those listed consequences.

Limitations on Types of Complaints

The Association will address only complaints pertinent to its By-Laws and Code of Ethics. Concerns regarding employment practices should be directed to authorities governing employment practices, or to an employment lawyer. Conduct governed under the Code of Ethics phrase “Act within all local laws” can only be addressed by the Association in cases where a conviction has already occurred; it is not within the purview of the Association to determine guilt in questions of law.

Limitations of Investigation

The Association will investigate complaints by receiving firsthand testimony by mail, electronic transmission or interview from complainants or directly referred witnesses to the conduct precipitating the complaint. Second-hand information, hearsay or indirect evidence is not sufficient for a complaint to be upheld (eg: a photo of a dog wearing a banned collar on a member’s website is not sufficient evidence of current use of the tool by the trainer). The name of the complainant may be made known to the subject of the complaint only upon request, except where the complainant is a co-worker or employee of that person. The Association does not undertake to research and find interview subjects not provided by a complainant, and does not use “secret shopper” techniques to uncover contraventions of the Code of Ethics. In short, CAPDT does not engage in the policing of its members.


Members who have been advised a complaint has been received about them are also encouraged to review the above policy and procedures.