ASCT was formed in 1995, when three friends, Capt. Joe Wright, Rick Deddens
and Chris Aycock decided to step away from the politically minded, trial based arrogance that was surrounding them in the
K9 theatre. All three were members of various, popular, certification associations. Joe and Rick had been
members of nearly every canine organization available, at some point in their careers. All three were master trainers within
their respective organizations. And all three had a successful business for canine training. Furthermore, all three had reservations
and different philosophies about the organizations they were a part of.
ABLEC (Association for the Betterment
of Law Enforcement Canines) was a fledgling organization on the east coast. ABLEC had a philosophy of fair practice and no
politics. Rick Deddens joined ABLEC and was impressed. He contacted both Joe and Chris about the organization. All three became
members of ABLEC.
ABLEC was designed to serve only the east coast United States. Therefore, Joe wanted that the
practice and philosophy should be available to the entire United States. He suggested that ABLEC be expanded. But the by-laws
of ABLEC prevented expansion. Rick suggested that the philosophy be spread across the nation with a new organization considering
that ABLEC only had sixty-three members and would not likely grow to make considerable change options in the K9 certification
theatre. And that call for change was what the three men wanted.
Chris suggested the name - American Society of
Canine Trainers - something he had contemplating while operating Visha K9 specialists in NC. The three agreed on the title
and produced ASCT. ABLEC members eagerly joined the new organization and thus ABLEC disbanded as an organization but still
lived through the philosophy of ASCT. All ABLEC members transfered to ASCT without exception.
ASCT was formed
but needed leadership. The president would control the overall function of the organization and the principal training command.
In other organizations, the men discovered that the election processes of a democratic election of leaders was a mere farce,
undertoned by politics and undermined methods. Instead, the guys wanted ASCT to be ran like a university: a board selected
the president and the board members were authorities in their respected fields. After seeking assistance from professionals
in the collegiate arena, the friends had to decide upon a president. But none of them wanted to assume the overall responsibility.
Hesitantly, Rick agreed to head the organization but only for one year. The plan was that after that first year, a qualified
member would be hired to head the organization.
ASCT needed financial backing. But ASCT would compromise its’
philosophy if it sought investors because investors would have a financial gain mentality and may subject ASCT to forced,
stockholder changes. Chris Aycock was the only financial source available and volunteered to be the single investor, with
assistance from his beloved sister-in-law Tanya Aycock, wife of his recently deceased oldest brother. Finacially, ASCT took
a beating in the early years. Chris continued to pour funding into the organization for many years.Financially, ASCT
was in the red every year but the change of the K9 world was indeed taking shape and that kept the men confident and elated.
1997, ASCT had two hundred and fifteen members. Two months prior to the change of organizational presidency, Rick Deddens
became very ill and could not continue his canine position or training. Chris immediately took over as president for a temporary
basis. Rick Deddens passed away on February 4, 1997 from stomach cancer. He died almost five weeks after being diagnosed.
Joe Wright approached Chris with the suggestion that Chris maintain the organization because Chris was the most dedicated
and active trainer of the two and was the financial life-line. The two remaining founders interviewed three candidates for
the president’s position but none of the qualified candidates seemed to have the exact motivation that ASCT needed and
wanted. Chris agreed to head the organization, without salary. Earning income only from his training and classes for police
In 1998, Chris hired attorney Mike West to oversee the organizations legal basis. That same year, the membership
grew to three hundred and seventeen. In 2000, Chris hired organizational/foundation attorney Victory Haden to oversee the
ASCT liability reduction program for members. He placed Mike West in a position of organizational operations auditor. Also,
during 2000, Chris hired CPA William Overman as the organizational accountant and to oversee the payment audit of members.
In 2001, Joe Wright retired from law enforcement to be with his ailing wife. He would remain a Senior Master
Instructor but would no longer be an active part of the ASCT certification board. Chris was saddened by the loss of both Rick
and Joe. Their companionship was a solid part of ASCT and they were like brothers. During this same period, Chris contemplated
retiring his presidential position but his drive for canine advancement and love for training, along with massive encouragement
from Joe and certified member, kept him in place.
By 2002, the organization was at a solid five hundred members.
In 2003, the member numbers grew to over seven hundred. But the certification board recognized that fast growing numbers of
members also meant there could be some insincere individuals to create weakness in the overall structure of ASCT. Thus, the
entire organization took a hard-pressed evaluation, to determine the solidity of the original philosophy. ASCT removed a few
persons from certification, due to those individuals not meeting standards, and held on to five hundred and sixty four members.
All remaining members were declared excellent, able, and a benefit to K9 development and education.
responding to outcry from members, Chris established the ASCT K9 Website and again financed the entire operation with his
own funds. The Website was approved by the certification board for K9 assisting information and to help trainers and members.
2008, the certification board sent Chris Aycock and Ron Ashie (senior master instructors) to Sweden to assist with the organizational
structure of a swedish and danish structure for police K9. In 2009, ASCT formed it's own accredited collegiate program for
K9 Operations. The following year, that program was modified to include biological structures and was renamed Canidology (zoology
- canid species specialization), involving far more than just training but also science and administration.
ASCT was approached by fourteen colleges, U.S., U.K., and Canadian, both online and campus universities regaridng the assumption
of the well designed ASCT Canidology program. After consideration and discussions, ASCT reach agreement with London-Hanover
University (U.K.) to begin the accreditation process and change over. In 2014, the change will occur. The program
will be open to all collegiate students, enrolled in LHU. ASCT members will be able to have their education costs supplemented
by generous ASCT scholarships and very low interest, financial, student loans.
As of 2014, the American Society
of Canine Trainers certifies: 1229 United States, 118 Denmark, 134 Sweden, 47 Argentina, 28 Chile: K9 teams, individuals,
trainers, and instructors. We certify over 202 public trainers and 312 therapy and service dogs.
The current ASCT
certification board consists of four members: President / CEO / Senior Master Instructor Chris Aycock - Organization
Legal Auditor / K9 Liability Representative Attorney, Victory S. Haden - Organization CERTIFICATION DIRECTOR - Attorney,
Michael West III - Program director / Senior Master Instructor Ronnie Ashie
In 2015, ASCT added Alexandra Lund (Gothenburg
Sweden) as legal administrator and International Certification Director. Ms. Lund will discharge duties for Mr. Aycock regarding
international training and educational opportunities. She will discharge duties regarding Mr. Haden for certification
auditing for international program liability.