ASCT was formed in 1995. The beginnings were as follows: Capt. Joe Wright,
Rick Deddens and Chris Aycock 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 decided that the practice and philosophy should be available to the entire United States. Joe suggested that ABLEC be
expanded. But the by-laws of ABLEC prevented such activity. So, Rick suggested that the philosophy be spread across the nation
with a new organization. ABLEC only had sixty-three members and would not likely grow to even be recognized as a major force
in the canine world.
Chris suggested the name - American Society of Canine Trainers. 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 with not one exception.
was formed but needed leadership. The president would control the overall function of the organization and the principal training
command. Joe Wright, Rick Deddens, and Chris Aycock 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.
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. 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.
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 to Chris. During
this same period, Chris contemplated retiring his presidential position. But
His drive for canine advancement and love
for training 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, Chris established the ASCT National 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. The certification board
backed Chris’ theory that the Website be used not for membership gain but rather for solidity of canine education and
member assistance. This would assure that website visitors who wanted to certify - be required to still meet the strict ASCT
standards and not be able to simply - apply and join online.
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 K9 Technical Expert / CERTIFICATION DIRECTOR - Attorney Michael West III - Preogram director
/ Senior Master Instructor Ronnie Ashie