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I'm from Finland, just outside of Helsinki.  I spent the better part of six years searching for people of like mindedness in canine. I attended so many so called "world expert" classes all through the Netherlands, Germany, and France.  I learned things but mostly always learned that if I was not a part of the "club" I was not welcomed or treated differently.  I was just about ready to quit canine work when I noticed a class sponsored by ASCT in Sweden.  I decided to attend and see what these Americans had to offer.  My plan was to stay for one day only.  I stayed for six days.  

I have never experienced anything like the professional, educated, and highly interactive approach to canine knowledge like I experienced then and have recently 2016 experienced here in Finland when another ASCT conference was held.  Small, interactive, personal, and astoundedly productive and true to the word they use much: inclusion.  I will attand a trainer program in the United States this coming year for ASCT and could not be more excited and for me that means a lot.

 

Alexi Bothe Rathkee K9 

 

 

My reason for writing this is both selfish and very sincere.  I joined ASCT because I love being K9 and want to learn to be better.  But what I came away with was a Bachelor's degree in canine behavioral science and a Master's Degree in Public Administration.  I had never been to college and I didn't have the funds for full tuition.  My entire education cost me a fraction of what I would have paid without the schoarships of ASCT.  My appreciation for the help is a gigantic THANK YOU!

Ben (Buster) Pulman Buffalo, NY PD. 

The hospitality of ASCT is second to none. If you have a question about K9 they make themselves available to you. The knowledge that the staff have armed themselves with is amazing. For handlers wanting to become trainers, the classes and instructions we receive from the staff are ideal. We are taught what to do and why we do it, and not do it becasue I said so. The staff at ASCT tries to teach us what the dog is thinking and that, in my opinion, is what separates ASCT from the rest. 

Will Rivers, SC

I have been involved with working dogs for 15 years. I have certified through several different bodies. I have to say that the experience with ASCT has been the most comprehensible and educational of those experiences.  The education that is passed on to the handlers, through the certification process and continuing education, allows the handler to understand why the animals perform in the manner in which they do. It's not just a "the dog does this becasue he's a dog and that's what they do" cookie cutter certification process. It has been my privalege to be associated with ASCT for over 6 years now and I look forward to being a continuing part of the organization, even after my K9 has fully retired.  

Sgt. Douglas Byrd

In 2006 my agency switched to ASCT.  I felt at the time and still feel that we have good K9 units. After changing over, we realized that having the science, along with the practical experience and guidance of ASCT, vastly imporved our performance. Our capture rate, as well as, our narcotic finds has continued to improve. We now have half of the unit recognized as court experts, covering narcotics and tracking. Now, being the unit commander and agency trainer (ASCT Master Trainer), I have experienced working a dog with the knowledge provided by ASCT. I realize now, even more, the great advantage of that knowledge for the administrative/liability side.

David W. CLark, DIvision Commander, K9 Unit. 

I had a trainer about 5 years ago tell me he couldn't say anything good about ASCT.  He was our agency trainer and was speaking to several of our local agencies. In particular, he was mentioning ASCT Senior Master Instructor Ronald Ashie, who was training nearby agencies. Our unit was attending a legal class and as the somewhat known K9, legal expert got up to speak I took the liberty of asking him right there what he thought of Mr. Ashie and ASCT.  His response was a little awkward from being put on the spot but he looked around the room and said, "I have heard more negative than positive about the organization."  I asked what he thought about Mr. Ashie. He said, "I don't know the guy. Never met him." And that was that. But on break, I clearly heard him tell our agency trainer that Mr. Ashie was not credible in his eyes. I thought...didn't you just say you never met him?  That kept my opinion level.

Last year, our agency trainer retired and I took over. We needed certification immediately and an ASCT class was being held nearby so I called ASCT and inquired about the possibility of certifying in that class.  I will admit that I was hesitant, after all I had heard from our trainer and the legal K9 expert.  But we needed someting immediately and I didn't have much choice so I gave it a try.

From the moment I stepped into the classroom, I realized why my trainer and the legal guy had slammed ASCT and Mr. Ashie, in particular: They were threatended by Mr. Ashie and ASCT. The level of knowledge and the education was incredible. As soon as I or my guys asked a question, it was answered directly. And SMI Ashie was beyond impressive. His experience, education, and willingness to help each individual was impressive.

The most inspiring thing to me though was that when I asked Mr. Ashie what he thought of our former trainer, who clearly didn't like him.  He responded with a confident smile and just said "you guys were well trained... right?" And that was it.  It simply amazed me that he didn't slam my trainer.  I became pissed that my former trainer had prevented us from working with an organization and an individual which taught our unit more about everything K9 than we had ever learned before - in a few days.

I left that class frustrated becasue I could have learned so much but was held back by my trainer. Now. I don't waste anytime.  I attend every ASCT class I can and I also am taking online classes through the organization. I think it's inspiring that ASCT certified members get half of their college classes paid for by the organization. When people ask me about ASCT, I tell the truth - Incredible organization, made up of people who actually care. 

Jason Ellsworth Lt. K9 Operations, Candor-Niagra Falls

 

I am a certified Master K-9 Trainer with the Hampton Police Division, Virginia. I am forwarding this letter as a recommedation for the American Society of Canine Trainers (ASCT) and particularly Senior Master Instructor Chris Aycock.  Our police division currently has 11 operating K9 teams ranging from patrol, explosives detection, and search and rescue. I personally have over 25 years of K9 knowledge from the operational to the training side ot it. We have been associated and certified with ASCT for 14 years. Prior to that we certified with a state certification organization for 20 + years. After considerable research into certification standards, accountability, knowledge, and support, we have found that ASCT is an outstanding fit for our police division (Approx 280 sworn).

The things that make ASCT one of the finest certification organizations in the world are:

1. Accountability.  As a trainer with my police division, I have a real comfort in knowing I have 100% support from ASCT.  The standards are strict but reasonable and by having these standards in place I know that if I run into any issues I am only a phone call or email away from a resolution.

2. Civic mindedness. In today's world one of our major concerns is that we are adaptable and flexible with our citizens. A canine unit is going to be one of your highest liabilities within the police division.  ASCT educates it's certified trainers and handlers in the importance of displaying a civic minded attitude in order to reduce the level of financial risk to the agency.

3. Training: As we all know, training is paramount to the success of any group or organization. As a trainer, it is my job to problem solve a lot of issues. ASCT has outstanding training regimens and problem solving techniques already in place. This did not come easy and did not come from books.  This knowledge has been researched, tried and proofed by some of the greatest minds in the business over the years. ASCT operates divisions of research and education. This means that they are involved in research projects constantly. The research team and certification board extends research programs, which are developed through universities, independant scientists, professionals of specified fields, etc. The organization places emphasis on proofing research. The research has been a primary reason so many handlers and agencies have truly enjoyed being certified with ASCT. In my experience, I have seen K9 units across our country go through changes. Most times, these changes are dictated through events that arise in our communities.  When these changes take place it is often a difficult process. I have found ASCT to be very helpful in working a lot of these issues out.

4. Court room preparation: In preparing a K9 handler for operational readiness, ASCT puts emphasis on the officers ability to present a solid case in court. This is taught in the basic handling schools and expanded, as the handler gains experience. We have the peace of mind of knowing that if needed, there are K9 experts on staff with ASCT that can be brought into court to testify.

5. Cost of products.  As a trainer, one of my jobs is to conduct cost assessments on the purchase of police K9's. I have always found that some costs are more and others are lower.  However, I have yet to come across any trainers like those underwritten by ASCT, where the complete package is there upon contract.  The contracts always seem to be uniform for larger and smaller agencies.

Personally, I have known Senior Master Instructor Chris Aycock for a lot of years.  When I am asked to describe SMI Aycock, two words come to mind: dedication and professionalism. SMI Aycock is dedicated to keeping ASCT the very best in the business.  He is dedicated to sharing the knowledge that he has gained, over the years.  And he is dedicated to all who are certified with ASCT, without exception.

ASCT has always placed the profesionalism of the organization above reproach.  ASCT is the embodiment of professioanlism and the many who certify worlwide with the organization display that everyday.

Respectfully Submitted, ASCT Master Trainer, Tom Hendrickson (handler of the great and wonderous Diesel) 

 

I am greatly appreciative of the level of assistance and care I have received from ASCT, as an organization. I can honestly aclaim that I have never asked for anything that has not been: answered with expertise, issued in a non-condemning fashion, helpful. I have been certified for 7 years and I would leave K9 is I could not be a part of ASCT. Sometimes people say that kind of thing but I really mean it.

Robert Housing, K9 Park: Patrol Explosives

  

I like a lot of things about ASCT but something I always appreciate the most is that the organization doesn't seem to worry about trying to grow in numbers. You either want to be a part of ASCT or you don't.  It never seems to change the way they operate. Instead, they push to grow in education and purpose.  To me, that is the most important thing.  I feel that I am rewarded for my potential and hard work.  I have confidence that I will ba capable of growing as much as I am willing to and ASCT will support me all along the way.

Sgt. Chris Close: Federal Protective Services

Dear ASCT:

I do not know what I enjoy more; the knowledge you give about how a dog's nose works, hands on training where if someone has a problem with their dog certified instructors have been-there-done-that and can fix it right on the spot (99 percent of the time), or the stories of other K9's from all over working the field.

I enjoy the way you guys present information, teach, and treat your students and members. You have the attitude that you are no better then the folks you are teaching: watch your dog, is he talking to you, can you see it/hear it?

Thank You

K9 Dino, Scott E. Hasselback 

I have been around the block in the K9 industry.  I have certified with almost every organization. Seriously. I have worked dogs for almost 30 years. I mean really around the block.  What I have always dicovered it that the level of competition and ego with trainers was off the chart and so rediculous that it turned me off.  Soon, I would drift away to seek another path.

When I landed upon ASCT, I really expected the same old thing. But what I got was much different. I found assistance and ginuine people who were not just off the chart great teachers but they also cared...really cared. I showed me that there is a true difference. I have been with ASCT for 9 years now and I attend a class every year here in KS. I have retured from law enforcement now and the ASCT classes feed my passion for learning.

Matt Hume, Go West Service Dogs, Inc., Dodge City, KS

I trained with the ASCT staff in Stockholm.  I was hesitant to attend a certification evaluation event conducted by Americans becasue I had previously made a trip to the United States and attended a trainers course in North Carolina with a trainer (non affiliated with ASCT).  My experience was a horrible waste of money and I left dissapointed.  However, I did attend the ASCT Stockholm certification event and was blown away at the professionalism, friendliness, and incredible education I received from the instructors Ron Ashie and Chris Aycock.  I left the 2 day certification feeling more enpowered and quite highly educated.  It changed my entire view of the American canine programs and certainly made me recognize that not all trainers are the same. Our own trainers have embraced our new found development and we are now better than I have seen in many years.  ASCT are not just K9.  ASCT are also ambassadors for the United States.

Petra Lahai: Sare Police Division Sweden 

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