Toward a New Understanding of

Constructional Aggression Treatment (C.A.T.)

Early behavior analysts broke behavior down into a treacherous matrix of four judgements plus extinction. They taught us that negatives and positives, punishers and reinforcers all fit into tidy categories of wholesome goodness and hellacious badness. When the Constructional Aggression Treatment was first presented as Kellie Snider’s MS thesis research in 2006 it was met with both excitement and concern. It was exciting because nearly anything that might improve our ability to help dogs with aggression is exciting. It was concerning because of that dastardly term, negative reinforcement, which is hurriedly herded into the hellacious badness category. Also, the research procedure back then was clunky, and some dogs went over threshold. We found out what we needed to know, but our audience worried. The good news you should know is that many dogs were helped in the course of the research and more than 60 species have been helped since. In this presentation Kellie performs a brief postmortem on the early dissemination of CAT and redefines the procedure with a more robust explanation of the essential relationship between function and construction, even going so far as to explain how CAT should not be distilled down into a negative reinforcement trope. She will discuss the addition of the term “alert” to supplement “threshold”, and will answer questions at the end of the talk. She hopes that you’ll leave this presentation feeling very cozy in the wholesome goodness category, or, perhaps even better, with a whole lot more questions.

Toward a New Understanding of C.A.T.

What's included?

  • CEUs!

    1.5 CEUs for CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA

  • Q&A Time with Kellie

    A recording of 30 minutes of bonus Q&A time with Kellie is included!

  • Recordings available!

    Access to the recording is available for one year from the date of purchase!

Your Speaker!

Kellie Snider M.S.

Kellie Sisson Snider was introduced to clicker training when she had an aggressive cockatoo in the late 1990s. She was advised to read Karen Pryor’s “Don’t Shoot The Dog” book while being coached via email about how to work with her bird by Doug Cook and Linda Morrow. Through these she got hooked on behavior. When she had read everything she could understand on behavior analysis as a self-taught learner in the 1990s and early 2000s, she was advised by Marian Bailey to study under Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz at the University of North Texas. Kellie earned her B.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis and her M.S. in Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Her thesis was the Constructional Aggression Treatment, which became an influential technology in aggressive dog work. Kellie and Dr. Rosales-Ruiz lectured on and demonstrated the procedure across the US and internationally. Their DVD on CAT became a bestseller for Tawzer Dog Videos. Kellie focused her animal behavior work on understanding and treating canine aggression, and on environmental adjustments for emotional behaviors. She worked in a private practice with aggressive dogs for about 6 years, and for 13 years in shelter animal behavior as a manager and director. Her book, Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly: Constructional Aggression Treatment for Rehabilitating Aggressive and Reactive Dogs, was published in 2018 by Companion House Publishing. She currently works as an artist, writer, and consultant, and lives in Pittsburgh, PA.