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.
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.
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.
In 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 K9.
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.
In 2004, responding to outcry from members, the president 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.
In 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.
In 2011, 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
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.