Lesson series

A Shift in Paradigm: What Modern-Day Dog Training Looks Like

Positive reinforcement isn't always positive. We don't want to leave the dog exposed to aversive situations longer than necessary. We want them to feel control over those aversive contexts as soon as possible to alleviate the stress the dog and their person feels. Animal welfare is the goal, and the way that we train is how to get there. In this webinar, you will learn how to analyze a behavior case and implement a plan based on the what the dog is after. And what the dog is after is what determines the function. When training, the type of approach selected can profoundly impact the training program produced. When taking a Constructional Approach, we don't require withholding reinforcement for errors or "problem behaviors," in fact, we reinforce everything! Programs that rely on punishment or extinction have no place since the focus is solely on building repertoires and never removing consequences for undesired behavior. This presentation will explore the five critical components of Constructional programs and their influence on modern training. We will explore these concepts through research cases studies. The seminar is suitable for veterinary professionals, animal trainers, animal behaviorists and anyone with an interest in the neuroscience of training and behavior.
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Meet the instructor

Sean Will

Sean Will studied under Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and earned a master's degree in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. While studying at UNT, he spearheaded the development of Constructional Affection and developed constructional shelter programs to increase efficiency in animal shelters. Sean has over 15 years of experience as a professional trainer and has provided consulting for individuals and organizations that oversee the care of animals. Currently, Sean is in Florida Tech's doctoral program researching problem-solving and animal training.
In 2020, Sean co-founded the Constructional Approach to Animal Welfare and Training (CAAWT). CAAWT is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of animals and the people who care for them by providing educational content on animal behavior, care, and ways to solve behavioral problems. CAAWT hosts an annual internal conference and quarterly webinars to disseminate information on the Constructional Approach and its many applications to animal welfare and training. Sean also co-hosts a monthly podcast by the same name that features fun guests and amazing stories of how the Constructional Approach has improved the lives of the animals they care for and the people around them!
Patrick Jones - Course author