Transparency Statement on our Philosophy, Methodology, Practices and Equipment
The ISCP philosophy, ethos and methodology is to both “do good” and “do no harm” in our teachings and our interactions with people and animals. We are strongly opposed to the use of shock collars, prong collars and choke chains and choke collars because these cause fear and pain and engender loss of the vital trust that is essential for compassionate canine-human relationships. These tools and methods must not be used in any way or for any purpose on dogs.
Our members must understand that each dog’s wellbeing is dependent on several factors, including psychological, emotional and mental states, physical health and wellbeing, and environmental factors, and is not simply a matter of respondent or operant procedures and factors. All aspects of wellbeing should be assessed, understood and worked with holistically.
ISCP members combine scientific principles with an ethical, empathic approach that utilizes only reward-based, force-free, positive reinforcement methods and operant and respondent conditioning that are empirically based and have a proven track record. Behavioural and training assessments and the chosen methods are tailored to each individual dog’s needs and are discussed clearly and in detail with the dog’s caregivers. ISCP members recognize that dogs are sentient sensitive beings, and choose to not use any assessment or training approach that causes fear, pain, anxiety or coercion in dogs.
Definition of force
Definitions can be subject to interpretation. The ISCP definition of force in the context of working with dogs governs both training equipment and human behaviour. There must be no use of equipment such as choke chains and choke collars, shock collars, no-pull harnesses that restrict movement, and any ‘aid’ which causes discomfort or distress to dogs. Actions such as yanking on a leash or collar and using physical force to coerce a dog, and any intentional act that causes anxiety, pain and distress are prohibited.
ISCP members are committed to using training equipment that does not elicit fear, pain or discomfort. This includes many humane harnesses, non-choking collars, and humane leashes (not to include chain leashes). These must be used in the manner for which they were designed and intended, and must not be used in any way that could cause psychological, emotional or physical damage or distress.
Why ISCP members refuse to use equipment that works through pain, force, fear or by eliciting a startle or alarm reaction
From enrolment onwards, ISCP students and graduates are taught the importance of understanding the science of dog behaviour and how this is constantly being expanded on and updated through new research studies. Scientific studies have increasingly confirmed that the use of force, and of methods that cause pain, emotional and physical distress, fear and alarm, and a startle reflex are in opposition to engendering dogs’ wellbeing, and have a strong negative impact on the ability of dogs to learn and to develop trust in their caregivers and handlers.
The ISCP ethos is to help caregivers and their dogs to build mutual relationships that are built on understanding, compassion, and mutual trust. Dogs are sentient beings with a rich emotional life, and ISCP members honour and respect this. It is essential that we protect and safeguard dogs’ (and other animals) psychological, emotional and behavioural wellbeing at all times. ISCP members bear in mind that dogs are fully dependent on us to meet all their needs.
Qualifications and the importance of professional medical advice
ISCP members must not lay claim, directly or indirectly, to qualifications, competencies or affiliations they do not possess.
Medical knowledge must not be alluded to unless the ISCP member is a qualified veterinary professional, and caregivers must be referred to their veterinarian regarding any possible medical issues or suspicion of possible medical issues.
ISCP members must act legally, ethically and morally in all personal and business standings. They must always obey the law of the land.
In marketing and business practice, ISCP members should adhere to accurate statements in clear and transparent language, and to ensure that this is understood.
ISCP members must take a polite, respectful approach in all communications with each other, other professionals, clients and the outside world.
Regarding industry practices and trends, ISCP members must discuss, agree or disagree, or recommend practices based on best practice and current scientific literature, not on hearsay.
Code of ethics
All ISCP members are held accountable to the ISCP Code of Ethics. The complaints procedure can be found on the ISCP Terms & Conditions page, and the ISCP conducts a thorough investigation of complaints.
ISCP members working professionally with dogs must have the relevant insurance, including Public Liability Insurance. ISCP members working for a practice or company not owned by them must ensure that they are covered by that body’s insurance.
The ISCP carries all legally required insurances for the ISCP company.
Everyone will be held accountable to the same code of ethics. If we receive a complaint about one of our students or tutors, the process is the same. Our complaints procedure is shown on our website here.