- SDCs provide professional services to clients without discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or national origin.
- SDCs respect the boundaries of their expertise. SDCs consult with healthcare providers (e.g., doctors, therapists, and rehabilitation professionals) when appropriate, for example, in the selection of service dog tasks.
- SDCs respect clients’ privacy. They do not share confidential information without clients’ expressed written consent.
- SDCs use dog training methods that emphasize rewarding desired behaviors and management to prevent unwanted behavior. They do not use or recommend aversive training tools or techniques, including, but not limited to, electronic (shock) collars, choke chains, and prong collars.
- SDCs consider and provide for the behavioral, emotional, and physical needs of dogs in their work. They consider dogs’ welfare in all aspects of training and in selecting service dog tasks that are appropriate for the dog.
- SDCs educate clients on indications of stress in dogs and the importance of daily environmental enrichment, play, quiet rest, and unstructured downtime for service dogs.
- SDCs respect the boundaries of their expertise. SDCs consult with and refer to veterinarians, veterinary behaviorists, and other qualified experts when appropriate.
- SDCs respect the rights of business owners and the public. SDCs consider the needs of the public and business owners in selecting and preparing service dogs and their handlers for public-access work.
- SDCs exhibit professional conduct in their work. SDCs respect client confidentiality at all times. SDCs are cordial to colleagues in all forms of communication, including social media.
- SDCs remain knowledgeable of and abide by laws that relate to their work. This includes federal and state laws pertaining to service dogs and service dogs in training.
- SDCs take reasonable measures for the safety of clients, dogs, and the public.
- SDCs avoid making claims about service dogs’ abilities, benefits, and training that are not been supported nor substantiated by scientific research.
- SDCs show integrity in their business practices. They provide clients with accurate information on fees and do not guarantee training outcomes.
Service dog training and evaluation
- SDCs recognize that most pet dogs are not suited for public-access work. Some dogs who are not appropriate for public-access work may be trained to perform tasks to help people with disabilities in their homes. SDCs recognize that for some people with disabilities an “at home only” service dog may provide invaluable support.
- SDCs recognize that service dogs performing public-access work must be behaviorally and physically sound. SDCs carefully evaluate dogs selected for this rigorous work and refer to meaningful standards, including those delineated in the SDC program.
- SDCs recognize that service dogs must not exhibit aggressive, threatening, nor other potentially unsafe behavior. SDCs will not train a dog for service work if they are aware that the dog has also been trained for protection work.
- SDCs acknowledge that service dogs must be adequately and appropriately trained and they carefully prepare dogs for this work. SDCs recognize that the initial service dog training process typically takes approximately 24 months. Thereafter, regular and frequent maintenance training is required for the duration of the dog’s career.
- While SDCs may offer some education, consultation and training services online or remotely, SDCs recognize the limitations of this type of work. When working with service dog teams or teams in training, SDCs provide the vast majority of their training services in person. All evaluations/assessments and public access training are conducted in person.