Our Mission and Guiding Principles: Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
To access our formal documents for review and acceptance, please follow these links, or access them under the Mission sub-menu.
Our mission is to help improve the relationship and the quality of life people share with their pets by:
- Providing guidance to utilizing the least aversive methods possible to the animal when constructing and implementing training and managing for clients and their pets.
- Always demonstrating integrity, compassion and an uncompromising commitment to excellence in the care and support of clients and their pets.
- Continually expanding our knowledge and improving our skills to provide the most research-based pet training and pet care possible.
Guiding Principles: Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Interactions with humans
Be considerate and respectful
Members of the network should do the right thing - follow the law, act honorably, and treat members and the public with respect and courtesy. Each individual is on their own learning journey, and we will respect and support that journey.
We all depend on each other to produce the best work we can as a network. Your decisions will affect clients and colleagues, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions. We won't all agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for disrespectful behavior. We will all experience frustration from time to time, but we cannot allow that frustration to become personal attacks. An environment where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive or creative one. Whether online, in person, or via other communications, always treat each other with respect, even if you disagree with the processes or methods being used.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Threats of violence
- Discriminatory jokes and language
- Sharing sexually explicit or violent material via electronic devices or other means
- Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms
- Unwelcome sexual attention
- Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior
Responding to people should always be done with kindness and never in retaliation. This includes with members of the network, with those who are not members including other trainers, clients, and the general public.
Follow the law
Our network takes its responsibilities to comply with laws and regulations very seriously and each of us is expected to comply with applicable legal requirements and prohibitions. While it’s impossible for everyone to know all aspects of every applicable law, you should understand the major laws and regulations that apply to your work. Members should act with integrity, comply with local, state and federal laws, maintain a professional work environment and comply with network policies. They should treat customers, members, and themselves ethically at all times. We recognize that the pet’s owner is responsible for their pet and the owner has a right to make decisions about the professional treatment of their pet. A few specific laws are easy to violate unintentionally and so are worth pointing out here:
- Leash Laws - several counties in which network members provide services have specific laws requiring dogs to be on a physical leash at all times, whereas others don’t. Please be aware of the most current version of the law in the county which you are currently providing services in, even when traveling.
- Licensing and registration for the services we provide or products we sell - each state and county may have different flavors of the regulations required for the services and products our businesses provide, please ensure you have the applicable licenses and registrations required.
We welcome, support and provide services to people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to members of any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, social and economic class, educational level, color, immigration status, sex, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.
Avoid conflicts of interest
Our network’s reputation depends on the actions and integrity of its members. It is essential that they avoid relationships and activities that hurt, or appears to hurt, their ability to make objective and fair decisions. Examples include investing in or having significant financial interests in companies or organizations which go against our mission.
Substance abuse is not permitted
The manufacture, distribution, possession, sale, or purchase of controlled substances of abuse while representing the network in any manner is prohibited. Being under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol, or substances of abuse while representing the network is prohibited. Volunteering while under the influence of prescription drugs that impair performance is prohibited.
We will maintain communications with our clients as confidential and privileged. If we reach out within the network or externally for assistance with a case, we will provide their case study with generic information for assistance. We will follow the local, state and federal laws regarding reporting of abuse, which may override the requirement to maintain confidentiality.
While the Guiding Principles: Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct were written specifically for Synergy Marketing members, it is expected that any additional persons who volunteer on our behalf (family members, friends, etc.) will also abide by these while they are representing the network.
Interactions with animals
Follow humane practices
Members of the network will represent the network with scientifically accurate, ethically appropriate, and compassionately humane communication, methods and techniques. We will follow the Least Intrusive Effective Behavior Intervention (LIEBI6) model of best practices as established by James O’Heare (President of the Companion Animal Sciences Institute and Director of the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals). The animals we work with are a vulnerable component of our work, and cannot offer informed consent.
Always seek to do no harm and to provide a benefit, not a detriment, to the welfare of the animal. In accordance with the LIEBI6 model, we remind members specifically to not use aversive techniques when training any animal. The LIEBI6 model defines aversive as “stimulation that an organism will act to escape or avoid”. This will vary from animal to animal, however this always includes prong collars, electric collars or choke collars. The board will have discretion in deciding if a technique in question meets the definition of aversive according to the LIEBI6 model.
Provide services within our expertise
We will only provide services to clients with requirements for which we have the knowledge, skills and abilities to assist with, and we will ensure all communications are professional and based in fact. When discussing industry practices, trends or issues, members will limit discussion to knowledge within their expertise, ensuring informed exchanges of information. We will work within our network, and reach outside the network if appropriate, to help locate and partner with a professional with more knowledge, skills and abilities in a specific topic to attempt to provide the client with assistance. Examples may include referring medical or feeding advice to veterinarians, behavioral concerns to behavioral experts, or legal concerns to attorneys of law.
We provide services for all animals, regardless of breed, background, age, gender, or color. All dogs must have access to all offered services. We may provide services to animals separated by size or characteristics, for example, a toy play group, or a shy dog class.
We want to be supportive in everyone's learning path, however to protect our amazing network, if you are a Marketing Member and unable or unwilling to abide by Synergy’s Guiding Principles: Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, your actions may result in disciplinary action, including your Marketing membership being put on hold.