Constructional Aggression Treatment DVD has been released!

August 22, 2007


Constructional Aggression Treatment:Shaping Away Canine Aggression 

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, PhD & Kellie Snider 

A 10.5 hour seminar on videotape withProduced by Tawzer Dog Videos 

Copyright, 2007 

Is available now! 

Current consensus in behavioral science labels aggression as a classical conditioning problem, and the treatment, accordingly, is desensitization and counter conditioning. But that might all change in the future. Research done at the University of North Texas suggests that classical treatments for aggression may have us all barking up the wrong tree. Kellie and Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz have devised a shaping-based, operant approach to treating aggression in clients’ homes that is producing stronger and much faster results than classical treatments.This seminar introduces the UNT research and Kellie and Jesus’ training procedure. Demo video and live demonstration is used to see their training in action. Other topics covered include cue poisoning, functional analyses of aggressive behaviors, and stimulus control.

Contains videos, demonstrations, powerpoint animations, lecture and Q&A.  


What’s in it for me?  

If you are interested in the emotional lives of animals, this DVD will be of interest to you.  This DVD is the culmination of several years of research by Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and his students on emotions in animals.  If you work with aggressive dogs this work may, as one DVD participant put it, “rock your world”. We will be talking about canine aggression in a completely different way from what you’ve learned at all the other aggression DVDs you have attended.  We explore the genetic, dominance and instinct-based theories of the nature of aggression and replace them with our research which reveals aggression as an operant… in other words we explain that aggression is learned behavior, and that by changing the consequences for the behavior using the Constructional Approach we can change the aggressive dog into a friendly dog.  We will present a training procedure that will provide trainers and pet owners to make significant differences in dogs’ behavior.


What will I take away from this DVD?  What will I be able to use? 

This DVD will provide you with the tools to replace the aggressive behaviors in dogs with peaceful, friendly behaviors.  Many people who have attended a weekend seminar have written to us that they have successfully used the procedure on their own and are now changing how they approach aggression issues.  Some are working with aggressive dogs for the first time because finally they have a tool they can use to make a significant change. In addition this work can be used with fearful animals, including feral cats and fearful hoofstock such as llamas and cattle.  Feral cats slated for euthanasia are being not only tamed but made into loving pets through the use of a version of this procedure. 


In addition, we have a Yahoo Group that is exclusively for the support of those who have attended a seminar or viewed the DVD and who are interested in actively using the procedure.  These people help us develop the procedure and provide us with data, and we, in return support them by providing additional information and helping them brainstorm their ideas.  We have learned much from these field testers and would love to have you join this body of trainers.  We are currently working on additional materials to answer frequently asked questions and to expand on points made in the DVD and seminars.  These will be made available to those who attend a weekend seminar or purchase a video to answer your questions.  We will do as much as we can to support you in your progress.  Beyond that, we will listen to your ideas and experiences and use them to develop the procedure.  We are delighted to credit all of the people working with us in the development of the procedure.


Why should I buy this DVD?

In addition to the points made above, if you have been to seminar after seminar hearing the same old things, this is a DVD you won’t want to miss. This is a completely new and proven effective approach to the treatment and understanding of aggression. Rather than relying exclusively upon generalized information from old published research or the work of other trainers we have examined the specifics of the lives of aggressive dogs and addressed them as the subject matter for our research.  The research was conducted in the dogs’ real lives, not in a laboratory.  Pet owners and dog trainers are now taking it and using it with their real dogs in their real worlds with real success


10 Responses to “Constructional Aggression Treatment DVD has been released!”

  1. Sheila Bailey Says:

    Is the DVD on Constructional Aggression Treatment compatable with U.K. video players?

  2. Yes! The seminar is on universal DVDs and people all over the world are playing it without problems. If you should run into a problem, there is a guarantee from Tawzer Dog Videos. Contact them (info will be in your DVD when you receive it) and they’ll make it right.

  3. Suzanne Fuqua Says:

    I have not attended the seminar but have viewed the DVD and would like to get on the Yahoo group, if possible. I’ve made one attempt to use the procedure on a moderately dog-reactive dog and was very encouraged by the success we had.

    I have another candidate but would like to read what other people are doing before I venture too far down the road. This is a pitbull terrier that is selectively dog aggressive. I don’t have all the information from the owner yet and don’t know if the procedure is a possibility.


  4. Hi there I went on the symposium run by UKRCB. I thought it was a fantastic weekend, I enjoyed the theory and the practical demonstration itis good when it goes well it is also good when you have a hiccup as this is what happens in the real world. I would love to join the yahoo group
    kindest regards from Christine

  5. Doug Poynter Says:

    I’ve been doing what you guys call constructional agrression therapy for about 8 years now…I’ve found it to be very successful and I’ve also developed some ways to speed up the process. I’m glad it’s available to everyone now, although I take issue with the idea that it was developed at the University of North Texas. I first used it 8 years ago with a pit bull that didn’t want to let anyone in the house…anyone who trains in protection work uses it in reverse. It’s been around for quite awhile…it’s just that now it has a name!

    • chase Says:

      i would like to know what you do to speed up the process? what do you mean by using the procedure in reverse?

      • Re: Speeding up the proess. You can only go as fast as the dog learns.

        Re: Using the procedure in reverse. Lots of folks are using the concepts from CAT to treat things like separation anxiety, so instead of using retreat as a reinforcer, they use approach as a reinforcer.

      • Doug Poynter Says:

        So I must say that I haven’t read your complete study. I’ve read key parts and scanned the rest, so what I do to speed up the process you may have indicated in your material…I also don’t want you to think that I disparage this…I think it’s great and I especially like the protocol you advocate measuring and recording distances and reactions etc..that documentation and procedure(s) is very valuable.

        The only dispute I had is the claim that this is new “stuff.”

        One of the standard training methods in protection work to build a dog’s confidence/protectiveness while maintaining and/or building drive is an exercise where the decoy, at a safe distance (here is where your protocol/model is extremely valuable) begins to act like a “suspicious character”, sneaky, moving slow, semi-antagonistic. What we want is the dog to have it’s suspicion raised… as soon as the dog growls, the decoy (bad guy) turns his or her head, looks away, submits. Then begins the act again, the dog will growl again, because he “won” that way before and this time the decoy may stay “bad” acting just a bit longer to increase the response from the dog…when we get a bark the decoy will then back off, if it’s full fledged barking and getting wound up then the decoy will run off, away from the dog…

        This has been a part of protection work for decades…I watched this happen for years before I said to myself, “I bet I can make a bad dog act good by doing the opposite.”

        Sometime around 1999-2000 I tried it on my “test subject”. A female pit bull who would go ballistic when someone came into the house, even with the owner there. So I had the owner hold the dog on a loose leash (for my protection!) while I entered the house. I instructed her not to react or talk or correct while the dog was barking, in fact not even look at. Or let the dog get to me.

        I entered the house and the dog predictably went ballistic. I stood my ground, actually standing sideways (less threatening) and waiting. No looking at the dog, no talking to the dog…as soon as the dog stopped barking and growling/grumbling completely, I walked back out of the house, away from the dog… a reversal of the protection process…then I waited a few minutes (the weakness of my plan: no documented protocol or model) and came back in.

        This time she barked but with much less intensity. She stopped quickly, BUT I didn’t walk out right away…I counted 1 second (not so long that she started barking again) and then walked out…she had to be quiet longer before she got the reward…each time I gradually increased the time I waited before I left..I never increased so much at one time that she started barking again. Once she was quiet 5 seconds then using a clicker I marked her silence and tossed her a food treat…I began to back out of the house and asked the owner to let the dog pull her way to me on the leash and each step she took (she was still quiet as she was hungry for the session per my instructions and wanted the food!) I clicked and tossed a food treat, making sure to toss them closer and closer to me as she got closer and closer, I backed out of the door and the final treat she got right in front of me as she came out of the door and she let me pet her as I gave her treats. The whole thing took 5-10 minutes.

        Finally I asked her owner to take her back into the house and after several minutes I entered again and the dog greeted me and was also subsequently fine with friends who entered the house; a huge change.

        That was 10 years ago and since then I’ve used it to help with dog aggression..I’m a cyclist and have “cured” a dog from chasing me using the method. I believe in it and I’m glad you developed the model and protocol…that is invaluable, but this is not a new principle.

        Once again as you emphasize the safety of all is of the utmost importance…leashes, doors, baby gates, etc are crucial!

        Doug Poynter

  6. Judi Heath Says:

    Isn’t this basically “approach and retreat” that the Natural Horsemanship people have been doing for years?

    • Yes, and certainly horse work influenced our research. However, CAT takes it a bit further and specifies what makes the procedure work. Plus… we did the research that supports that kind of training. Ideas are great, but ideas backed by research rock.

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