University of Tennessee

Certified Canine
Fitness Trainer CCFT


The CCFT program provides students with the essential qualifications and tools to become an effective university-credentialed Canine Fitness Trainer.  Students will be taught through a blended learning environment that includes online coursework and live labs to minimize time in the classroom and maximize time with their hands-on dogs.

The CCFT provides essential concepts of canine body mechanics, anatomy, functional movement, behavior, nutrition, and an overview of regulatory issues and precautions for those desiring to coach, train or better understand the fundamentals of canine fitness and conditioning.

Students will advance their understanding and skills with hands-on labs focused on conducting canine fitness assessments, understanding injury prevention and care, program design and implementation. An emphasis is included on movement identification and correction as well as the opportunity to explore specialty life stage requirements for working dogs and sporting dogs, puppies, seniors and pet dogs.

Students must complete both the online and the hands-on lab courses to receive the CCFT credential. Successful completion requirements include passing grades for both the online exam, lab exam and 3 case studies. Attendees who pass all requirements will receive a certificate from the University of Tennessee.



The program consists of 4 modules to be completed in order: 

  • CCFT I: Online Lecture Series (25 hours)
  • CCFT II: Live Lab Series (3-day hands-on Live Lab)
  • CCFT III: Case Studies
  • CCFT IV: Online Exam

Make your life your art... Find your art; find your thing you love.
~ Gerard Way

Why CCFT Program

The Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) Program is for those interested in understanding proper canine exercise form, technique, behavior, and program design for optimum performance and injury prevention using science-based, force-free training methods and canine-specific conditioning equipment.

As a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer, you will have the opportunity to provide guidance, expert instruction and immediate feedback to the dogs you work with and their handlers. As well, to understand your role as a Canine Fitness Trainer and a valued member of the Canine Health team that supports proactive foundations to the health and well-being of dogs in any life stage – from puppy to senior.

Our program offers the following advantages: 

  • The University of Tennessee Certificate Program in Canine Fitness is the only program for Canine Fitness to win the distinguished Outstanding Non-Credit Program Award by the Association for Continuing Higher Education.
  • Successful Canine Conditioning programs that rely upon in-depth communication between the dog and handler.
  • Commitment to presenting a comprehensive curriculum that provides a solid foundation upon which to develop a results-driven fitness program that utilizes a standardized fitness assessment on which to build and improve the practice of canine fitness and conditioning.
  • Upon successful completion of the program and examination, participants receive the designation of Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT).


Participants must complete all online lectures prior to attending live lab sessions.


The program is open to the following:

  • Veterinarians
  • Veterinary Technicians / Nurses
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
  • Dog Behaviorists
  • Certified Dog Trainers
  • Performance Dog Trainers who have titled dogs in either: agility, obedience, rally obedience, IPO/protection sports, tracking, and/or field work at a level of open or above.

Dog Handling Experience:

  • Minimum 3 years of dog handling experience must be provided (i.e. business license, trainer certifications, performance sport credentials, contracted work, etc.).
  • Other proofs may be considered, but are not guaranteed to meet this requirement.

Basic Training Concepts

  • Understand and be able to apply positive reinforcement training concepts (i.e. luring, shaping)

Please contact us with questions regarding eligibility:

  • Email:
  • Phone: +1 (801) 337-7887 (North America) 
  • Phone: +49 06073 / 725 983 (Europe, Asia, South America)


  • Documented work experience in an animal healthcare facility, documented dog handling experience with proven track record, and/or 2-year Associates degree (minimum).
  • Documentation of work experience or proof of degree is required.
  • Require statement and signature that will not allow students to diagnose or prescribe.
  • Program is only for conditioning, training, and exercise.
  • Successful completion of online courses, text, hands-on workshops and participation, as well as completion of case studies 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, text, hands-on workshop and participation, as well as completion of case studies will result in permanent exclusion from the program and future opportunities.