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Fearful and Aggressive to Friendly:

Programming for Mutually Enjoyable Relationship Using Constructional Aggression Treatment and Constructional Affection

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Do you need help with an animal who is too rambunctious, engaging in fearful or aggressive behavior, or struggling with separation anxiety? Do you want to learn how we can take Constructional Approach to solve these behavioral issues and achieve your meaningful goals?



Class Description

You will learn about the Constructional Approach and how to make Constructional Training Programs during this group class. In addition, we will cover procedures that can help animals change from behaving fearfully or aggressively to becoming the friendly companions we know they can be. 


The topics covered during this course will include conducting and interpreting behavior assessments, setting specific goals, designing individualized training programs, and collecting data. During the course, you will have the option to receive feedback that can be used to revise the program if needed. Through this course, you will learn how to identify the function of the behavior(s) and design, implement, and evaluate a training program to meet your goals. This class is ideal for anyone new to training or advanced trainers. 


Assessing what the learner is after and establishing many behaviors to obtain what the learner is after is a critical part of this approach. Rather than deciding the function of behavior by the topography of behavior, we conduct a series of assessment trials to ask what the animal is after. And then, we brainstorm, design, implement, and revise the program to meet our training goals. During this group class, we will explore the critical steps in designing Constructional programs and provide a step-by-step process to learn and apply Constructional Aggression Treatment and Constructional Affection with real cases. 


Constructional Aggression Treatment, also known as CAT, is a shaping program that turns fearful and aggressive behaviors maintained by obtaining distance into friendly behaviors. Constructional Affection is a shaping program that teaches animals how to ask for and receive affection from humans. We will dive deep into these programs and the decision-making required while implementing these programs to achieve meaningful goals.


If you live with or work with animals whose disturbing behaviors are maintained by obtaining distance or interaction, this is the class for you! 

Here are two videos of us working with shelter dogs using Constructional Affection:

■ Learning Objectives 

  • Describe five elements of the Constructional Approach

  • Set constructional goals

  • Given various scenarios, describe how to conduct a behavior assessment and identify the function of the behavior

  • Identify behavior measures and data collection system

  • Describe eight steps of the CAT program

  • Given CAT scenarios, describe what a decoy (dog or human) should do based on the behaviors of the training animal

  • Describe Interaction Guidelines and Affection Loop

  • Given Constructional Affection scenarios, describe what a human should do based on the behaviors of the training animal

■ Group Class: Weekly Agenda

This group class consists of 12 weeks, and we will meet every Saturday from 3:00pm to 5:00pm eastern time for the group class. Below is our schedule and what we will cover in each group class. All the group classes are recorded and available until 8/31/23.

  • ​Week 1(February 25th) - The Constructional Approach and Degrees of Freedom

  • ​Week 2 (March 4th) - How do we know how we are doing?: Behavior definitions, Measures, and Data Collection

  **We will have a break on the week of March 6th**

  • Week 3 (March 18th) - How do we know how we are doing?: Graphing and Visual Analysis

  • Week 4 (March 25th) - Where do we want to go?: Setting Constructional Goals

  • Week 5 (April 1st) - Where are we now?: Functional Analysis and Behavior Assessment

  • Week 6 (April 8th) - How are we going to get there?: Constructional Aggression Treatment

  • Week 7 (April 15th) - How are we going to get there?: Decision-making in Constructional Aggression Treatment 

  • Week 8 (April 22th) - How are we going to get there?: Constructional Affection and Interaction Guidelines

  • Week 9 (April 29th) - How are we going to get there?: Constructional Affection and Affection Loop

  • Week 10 (Mau 6th) - How are we going to get there?: Decision-making in Constructional Affection 

  • Week 11 (May 13th) - What is going to maintain the behavior?: Function-based Training/Program

  • Week 12 (May 20th) - Review programs, get feedback, and Q&A

■ Open House Dates

In addition to the group class every week, the students are invited for CAAWT Open House. CAAWT Open House is one of the programs in the CAAWT Membership, where we meet on zoom for two hours. Attendees can join and ask any questions, bring up discussion points, and share assessment and training videos to get feedback. Open House will be recorded and will be available for one month.

  • 3/1 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT

​ **Daylight saving time changes on 3/12 in the United States**

  • 3/15 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT

  • 3/29 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT

  • 4/12 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT

  • 4/26 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT

  • 5/3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT

  • 5/17 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm EDT


■ Meet Instructors

Sean Will

Sean Will, MS

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Maasa Nishimuta, MS


■ Prerequisite

None. This group class is appropriate for those new to the Constructional Approach and animal training as well as experienced trainers.

■ Registration fee

  • CAAWT Premium Member: $300 (plus transaction fee)

  • CAAWT Basic Member: $495 (plus transaction fee)

  • Non-member: $600 (plus transaction fee)

To learn more about CAAWT Membership, visit this page

  • Payment plan: Payment can be broken into three. If you are interested, contact us to register.

■ What is included in the registration?

  • Attend group classes live (dates are listed above)

  • Access class materials (PDF) 

  • Access the recording of the group classes after each class

    • All the group class recordings are available until ​8/31/2023

  • Attend Open Houses (dates are listed above)

    • Share your assessment video and training video and get feedback​ from Sean and Maasa. This is a great place to talk aloud and brainstorm how to improve the next sessions!

  • Ongoing support 

    • Get feedback on your assessment, design and implementation of the program

    • To get individualized feedback, sharing videos is necessary. You can share the videos during the group class or Open House

■ Place

The group class will be held via Zoom. You can join group classes wherever if you have secure internet. We will send you the Zoom meeting link and the detailed information via email before the first group class. If you are not used to Zoom, Maasa can do a practice session before the group class so that you are ready to learn! If you want to do the practice session, please contact us.

■ Register!

Registration for this group class is closed. 

■ Profit goes to fund free training!

Constructional Approach to Animal Welfare and Training is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All the profits from this group class will fund the free programs that CAAWT offers for individuals and facilities that oversee the care of animals. As you learn with us, you are helping the dogs and their humans in need ♡

We are looking forward to exploring constructional programs with you!

■ Contact us

If you have any questions regarding the group class, please feel free to contact us! 

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