DogSmith Dog Trainers & Behavior Analysts are guided by The DogSmith’s mission, vision and values and a set of professional ethics. Professional ethics covers the moral issues that can arise from the specialist knowledge that a professional body has. The industry’s ethics govern how this knowledge is used when providing a service. The dimensions of ethics collectively represent “the positive, ethical ideas and values of the profession” to the benefit of the client, the professional and the industry(Welfel p 4 2009).
The public benefits from professional ethics as they recognize and respect the client’s autonomy and dignity. Ethics detail that individuals will be treated with respect and that the professional will do no harm through their professional conduct. Professionals will not only practice nonmaleficence but also beneficence and the professional will seek informed consent from their clients, be fair, confidential and loyal.
Professional ethics are also important to the individual professional because the individual professional benefits from the trust earned by being part of a professional body that is governed by a set of professional ethics. The individual professional also has access to a valid and reliable body of scientific knowledge so they can continue their education and collaboration with other like minded professionals (O'Heare 2009).
Professional ethics are important to the profession itself because they bring credibility to the profession. Professional ethics govern that professionals will adhere to a code of conduct, will act competently and will only consult within the range of their competency. When necessary, professionals will refer clients to another professional.
The DogSmith Professional Ethics are as follows.
1. A DogSmith will always hold the dog’s welfare as our top priority. The dog is the vulnerable component in the consultation process as they cannot offer informed consent
2. The role of a DogSmith is one that is beneficial to the dog and never to its detriment. We seek to do no harm.
3. A DogSmith will not condone or endorse any treatment by a dog’s owner that is physically or mentally cruel. We will opt out of a consulting agreement rather than attempt to manage an unethical course of action.
4. A DogSmith will only consult with clients who offer cases that we have the professional competence to deal with.
5. A DogSmith will only use procedures, protocols and training tools that are empirically based and have a proven track record.
6. A DogSmith trainer considers communications with their clients privileged. We will only break that confidentiality if a dog is being abused and the client cannot be dissuaded from changing their current approach. We will act according to local and state laws in terms of reporting animal cruelty.
7. A DogSmith recognizes that the owner is responsible for their dog and the owner has the right to make decisions about the professional treatment of their dog.
8. A DogSmith will apply the following ethical principles to each situation we encounter:
- Respect for the freedom and dignity of others
- Do no harm
- Do good
- Act fairly
- Be faithful to promises made
O’Heare, J (2009) AABP A Guide to the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals’ professional practice guidelines
Welfel, E.R, (2009) Ethics in Counseling and Psychotherapy. Fourth Edition. Brookes Cole USA.
Tudge, N.J (2007) DogSmith Professional Ethics. www.DogSmith.com