The academic CCFT program provides students with the essential qualifications and tools to become an university-credentialed Canine Fitness Trainer. Students will be taught through a blended learning environment that includes e-learning and onsite lab days. It allows you to study at your own pace with maximum flexibility.
The program provides essential concepts of canine body mechanics, anatomy, functional movement, behavior, nutrition with an overview of regulatory issues and precautions for anyone who desires to coach, train or better understand the fundamentals of canine fitness and conditioning.
Students will advance their knowledge and skills with onsite lab days focused on conducting canine fitness assessments, understanding injury prevention and care, program design and implementation. An emphasis is placed on creating programs for dogs in all life stages from puppies, pets and senior dogs to working and sporting dogs. Each exercise program is comprised of the five key aspects of the Total Health Puzzle (mental, balance, strength, cardiorespiratory and flexibility) to ensure whole body conditioning is accomplished.
Graduates can be assured that the high standards for admission as well as the quality of our curriculum position the CCFT as the premiere canine fitness program globally.
As a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer, you will be able to provide guidance, expert instruction and immediate feedback to the dog-handler-team you work with. Our program enables you to fully embrace your role as a Canine Fitness Trainer and a valuable member of the Canine Health team, contributing to the overall health and well-being of dogs from puppies to seniors.
- Blended learning concept:
The combination of online theoretical knowledge with an interactive onsite live animal lab ensures maximum flexibility and learning outcome.
- Consideration of learning types:
The learning content is set up in a way that all learning types (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, communicative, media-oriented and mix-types) benefit.
- Small group work:
Hands-on learning in small working groups under the supervision of industry experts.
- Commitment to presenting a comprehensive curriculum:
The curriculum draws from ongoing research, best practice examples and practical experience, taking into account clinical and animal welfare aspects.
- Individualized feedback and assistance:
Instructors are committed to interactive collaboration with students during and after completing the program.
- Worldwide accredited speakers:
The instructor team includes active university instructors, expert clinicians and researchers as well as active competitors in different dog sport disciplines and performance dog trainers.
- State of the art equipment:
Practice the exercises with durable and trusted fitness equipment specifically designed for canine conditioning.
- Business development:
Learn tools to build a successful business in the field of dog conditioning.
- Worldwide recognized designation:
Upon successful completion of the program and examination, participants receive the title Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT).
The program consists of 4 modules to be completed in order: CCFT I e-learning and CCFT II onsite lab days followed by CCFT III case reports and finally the CCFT IV exam. The language of instruction is English.
CCFT I: Online Lecture Series (approximately 25 hours)
The CCFT I module will provide the student with evidence-based theoretical knowledge and up-to-date research information giving an overview of the regulatory issues involved in this field of practice; canine anatomy and physiology, behavior, nutrition and an overview of pharmacology and pharmacologic precautions. An emphasis is included on canine fitness assessment, basic concepts of canine strength and conditioning, prevention, recognition and care of athletic injuries. Canine sports and working dogs and the requirements of their various sports and activities are also covered.
After the completion of this program, participants will be able to understand the following:
- Regulatory Issues for the Canine Fitness Trainer
- Canine Anatomy/Physiology
- Overview of Canine Behavior
- Principles of Canine Nutrition
- Review of Structural and Mechanical Kinesiology
- The Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries
- Canine Strength and Conditioning
- Understanding Pharmacology Precautions
- Assessment of Physical Fitness
- An Overview of Canine Sports and Working Dogs
CCFT II: Live Lab Series (3 day hands-on Live Lab)
In CCFT II the theoretical knowledge gained in CCFT I is put into practice. While providing some refresher material in short lectures, the focus is on hands-on exercises with the dogs under expert supervision. Interaction in small groups between students with different abilities and specialties maximizes the learning potential. The lab days involve guiding students through a standardized canine fitness assessment, correct exercise form and program design with live dogs (with emphasis on life stages and all aspects of the canine health puzzle). Hands-on experience with basic exercise physiology, behavioral aspects, palpation of bony prominences, outcome measurements (e.g., Gulick circumferential measurements), gait training, strengthening exercises, balance and proprioceptive exercises and business development prepare the student for a successful and fulfilling career.
Canine Exercise Anatomy (ASSESSMENT)
- Fitness Assessments – History, Evaluation, Behavior Cues, Equipment Tests and Cardio Evaluations
- Gait Evaluations
- Fitness Palpation
Correct Canine Fitness Exercise Form (FOUNDATION)
- Correlation of Form & Function
- Fitness Palpation
- When & Why to Refer to Professionals
Canine Behavior Techniques for Exercise (BEHAVIOR)
- Positive Reinforcement Encouraging Behavioral Transition
- Client & Canine Interactions
- Proper Technique, Position & Creative Encouragement
Develop Specific Canine Exercise Programs (PROGRAM DESIGN)
- Canine Life Stages & Special Canine Populations
- Target Specific Body Areas, Muscle Groups & Injury Prevention
- Exercise Progressions & Variables
Canine Equipment Guidelines (EQUIPMENT)
- Proper Use & Safety
- Equipment Use & Choice
- Canine Specific Equipment vs. Human Equipment
Canine Fitness Business Development (BUSINESS)
- Marketing Tools & Programs
- Best Practices for Canine Fitness Programs
CCFT III: Case Studies
After the lab days, you will create 3 case studies, using the template provided. The case studies are designed to guide you take you through the entire process of acquiring a history, completing a fitness evaluation, doing a fitness assessment, designing a fitness program and filming a video (showing the dog doing an exercise). The case studies provide you with essential practice for working with a variety of dogs in the future. Extensive feedback is provided when your case studies are graded.
You have 3 months to complete and submit your case studies. Early submission is allowed. Case study grades will be returned in 6 weeks after the class due date. Cases submitted early may or may not be graded before the due date. The grading on case studies is pass/fail. You must earn a score of 80% or higher to successfully pass the case study.
CCFT IV: Exam
Prerequisite for taking the CCFT exam is the successful completion of modules CCFT I – III.
The online exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions, evaluating the understanding of the canine fundamentals as well as design and goals of the canine fitness program.
A passing score of 80% is required.
Attendees who pass all CCFT parts successfully, will receive the CCFT credential from the University of Tennessee.
The program is open to the following:
- Certified Dog Trainers
- Dog Behaviorists
- Veterinary Technicians / Nurses
- Physical Therapists
- Physical Therapist Assistants
Dog Handling Experience:
Documentation of work experience or proof of degree is required.
- Minimum 3 years of dog handling experience (i.e. business license, trainer certifications, performance sport credentials, contracted work, etc.).
- The work experience can be completed e.g., in an animal healthcare facility; documented dog handling experience with a proven track record, and/or 2-year Associates degree (minimum) is required.
- Other qualifications may be considered, but are not guaranteed to meet this requirement.
Knowledge of Basic Training Concepts:
- Understand and be able to apply positive reinforcement training concepts (i.e. luring, shaping)
- Students must agree to not diagnose injury, prescribe medication or treat injured animals
- Program is only for conditioning, training and exercise.
- Successful completion of online courses, hands-on workshops and participation, as well as completion of case studies and the online exam is required prior to receiving certification.
- The title of CCFT cannot be used by students enrolled in the program.
Use of CCFT credentials without successful completion of online coursework, hands-on workshop and participation, as well as completion of case studies and online exam will result in permanent exclusion from the program and future opportunities.
The tuition for the academic CCFT program is € 2.775,- (taxes, where applicable). Installments are possible.
Tuition includes access to the online learning platform (e-learning and course material; 3-years access, can be extended), onsite lab days (breakfast and lunch provided during the lab days), evaluation of the case studies, the final exam and the CCFT certificate.
Travel and accommodation expenses are NOT included.
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