History and Guiding Principles of the Trainer Endorsement Programme

At a meeting of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers New Zealand (APDTNZ) Incorporated in September 2011 the committee requested that a sub-committee be formed to research, review and make recommendations on a certification or endorsement system for dog trainers in New Zealand who are members of the APDTNZ.

As there are no formal qualifications required for dog trainers in New Zealand, the programme would recognise and endorse those APDTNZ members who, as dog trainers, have a level of knowledge, experience and academic qualifications, or accreditation that is of a high calibre and is in line with the Association’s Code of Ethics promoting dog friendly training techniques.

The subsequent programme and associated processes are as a result of the hard work the SubCommittee put in since its formation in 2011 and through to their final recommendation submitted in July 2013. The Association’s Committee wish to recognise the time, effort and valuable contributions made by the Sub-Committee, consisting of Jan Voss (Chair); Vida Clyne, Karen de Wit, John Lane, Karen McCarthy and Kelly O’Neill, and thank them for their ongoing support.
The hope is that over time endorsement will become a benchmark for dog-friendly, qualified and experienced trainers so the public, as well as other dog trainers, can confidently seek them out.

The following is a sample of the recommendations made by the Sub-Committee:

  • Trainers have to be full members to become an Endorsed Trainer therefore have already agreed to abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics.
  • In addition Endorsed Trainer will need to abide by a Code of Practice.
  • Endorsed Trainers will be listed on a separate page on the website (the Members list which has list of members and location will be separate from this).
  • Endorsed Trainers have the right to use the APDTNZ endorsed trainer logo.
  • The endorsement application process is largely self-validating so it is transparent, removing opportunities for any bias in the approval decision process.
  • Once accepted endorsement is maintained every 3 years via continuing education and activity points to encourage trainers to further their own knowledge across the fields of dog training, education and behaviour.
  • Any industry related course, regardless of whether it is in-line with the Code of Ethics, may be counted towards continuing education*.

* While methods, tools or approaches may not be in line with the association’s Code of Ethics philosophy, attendance at other courses validates methods or seeks to understand them, and an Endorsed Trainer, already a Full Member should be acknowledged as having the ethics and experience to recognise what to use or not use in accordance with APDTNZ policies