Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly

The Constructional Approach

(It's more than aggression rehab.)


Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly: Using Constructional Aggression Treatment to Rehabilitate Aggressive and Reactive Dogs (2018). Fox Chapel Publishing.

Learn how to harness the power of reward-based reinforcement to build safe, friendly behavior in your aggressive or reactive dog. The Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) technique as described in Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly has proven successful for pet owners and trainers around the world, offering a humane alternative to harsh training methods and giving hope to families. Author Kellie Snider has more than 10 years of experience managing behavior programs in non-profit and municipal animal shelters as well as previously in private practice, and shares her expertise in detailed chapters on the science, principles, and process behind CAT. Snider explains CAT through detailed steps as well as anecdotes of her work with human and canine clients. Also highlighted are the importance of consistency in training, recognizing your dog's individual chain of aggressive behaviors, and implementing management techniques and safety precautions with your dog and the people and other animals in his life.




A common question then and now about Constructional Aggression Treatment is, “Why not add a marker/clicker and treats to let him know when he’s doing the right thing?” Great question.

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I didn't get a new blog piece written for today so I'm giving you a little sample of the Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly book. Please comment and join the mailing list!

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Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly is based on the Constructional Approach, a behavior change technology outlined by Dr. Israel Goldiamond in the 1970s.

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“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your [animals]. It’s that simple.” Sir Richard Branson, paraphrased.

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Ever since I started working in animal shelters I wanted to come up with an operant chamber attachment for kennels. In this research they did!

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Announcing Behavior Unlimited, a new educational opportunity for animal professionals and pet owners!

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Kellie Snider, MS is the author of Turning Fierce Dogs Friendly: Using Constructional Aggression Treatment to Rehabilitate Aggressive and Reactive Dogspublished in 2018 by Fox Chapel Publishing. It is available in paperback and e-book versions. This book is based on Kellie's 2007 Master of Science thesis, A Constructional Canine Aggression Treatment: Using a Negative Reinforcement Shaping Procedure with Dogs  in Home and Community Settings conducted under the direction of Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz at the University of North Texas. (But don't worry! The procedure is not negative in the sense of being punishing! It is negative in the sense that we systematically take away (subtract) the things that make the dog aggressive.)

Kellie worked in animal welfare, both in the non-profit sheltering world and in municipal sheltering for 10 years. Her primary focus was on identifying and enhancing shelter animal behavior in collaboration with other departments and programs in the organizations. The shelter environment is extremely stressful even for those animals that had it much worse before arriving in the shelter. A behavior-oriented management focus is essential to shelter animals' wellbeing and potential for successful adoption. Kellie spent a number of years designing and performing behavior assessments, and along with others in her field, recognized that these assessments weren't giving us a realistic picture of the potential of shelter animals. From there her focus switched to environmental enhancements including environmental enrichment, staff training in behavior, playgroups, training, and social interactions with people to help them keep their sanity while working toward health and looking for a loving home.

Kellie was a freelance writer for about 14 years, writing a humor column for Water Gardening Magazine for 12 years, and for numerous magazines and newspapers. Her novel, Final Portrait, was published in 2000. She has also worked as a freelance artist and won several awards. At one time her work hung in the New Orleans World Trade Center.

Kellie is currently developing an educational program for people involved in animal care and training. Behavior Unlimited will provide training and CEU opportunities for professionals as well as opportunities for pet owners to learn more about their animals' behavior. She will also conduct seminars in the coming year.

Before this, Kellie was a drafter and technical illustrator for Avondale Shipyards in Avondale, Louisiana, Shell Oil in New Orleans, and NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Kellie is happily married to Richard Snider, has two amazing adult sons, Jesse Snider and Micah Snider, and five pets, Pan (16 year old Min Pin & JRT mix), Aero (10 year old Afghan, Aussie, and Border collie mix), Kevin (10 year old flame point DSH), The Badger (5 year old medium hair classic brown tabby), and Leon (2 year old medium hair mackerel blue tabby).
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  • Irving, Texas, United States