Constructional Affection: Building Constructional Solutions

What Goes Into Them and How to Get Started

Taking a Constructional Approach (Goldiamond, 1974) provides many assets to training programs by minimizing the role of extinction, promoting errorless learning, requiring little or no fading for outcomes to maintain in the natural environment, and most importantly, expanding the degrees of freedom for our animals. However, this leaves the question of how to make a constructional program and where we start shaping from?

The critical components required of all constructional programs will be presented by applying Constructional Affection to several behavioral challenges with dogs. Identifying target goals, current relevant repertoires, shaping steps, and maintaining consequences will be discussed.

The seminar is suitable for veterinary professionals, animal trainers, animal behaviorists and anyone with an interest in the neuroscience of training and behavior.

About Sean:

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!