Smart Dog opened in 2001. The business quickly grew to become one of the most well-respected dog training and behavior resources in the area. The owner, Dr. Kristina Spaulding has a Ph.D. biopsychology and is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. She has 19 years of experience in the dog training and dog behavior fields. She applies her experience and academic training to each individual dog to develop humane, effective and innovative dog training and treatment methods. For more on Kristina’s background, click here. A number of dog trainers and interns work under Kristina’s supervision and all staff are expected to pursue continuing education and are held to a high standard of knowledge on the theory and application of dog training and dog behavior.
Smart Dog currently offers both private dog training and behavior modification and group classes. In private training (day training), Kristina will train your dog in your home while you work, relax or take care of other business. Once a week, she will teach your family how to maintain the newly established behaviors. Day training is faster and more effective than doing the training on your own and is ideal for busy professionals and families. However, some people prefer to be more actively involved in training their own dog or don’t require the kind of intensive work done in day training. Our dog training classes and coaching give you the skills you need to teach your dog to be well-behaved in a variety of real world scenarios and are ideal for dogs of all ages.
All methods apply the most up-to-date science on dog behavior and training. We use humane, gentle, and effective techniques and do not use physical corrections, choke chains, pinch collars, electronic stimulation collars (aka e-collars or shock collars) or methods designed to intimidate or cause fear in the dog.
Please read below for more information on Kristina and the Smart Dog team.
- Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB – Co-owner, Behavior Consultant
- Brendan Dubia, CDW – Co-owner, Class instructor
- Lynne Wright, Class assistant
- Lydsey Aird, Behavior intern
- Lynn Sarrow, Behavior intern
- Breanna Miller, Behavior intern
Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB
Co-owner, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Behavior consultant, Class instructor
Dr. Spaulding has a PhD in biopsychology – the study of the biological basis of behavior – and is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist through the Animal Behavior Society. In addition to her academic background, she has been in the dog training and behavior profession for 20 years. She currently conducts private lessons for basic training and a wide variety of behavior problems in dogs and teaches other professionals in the field about the science of dog training and behavior.
Dr. Spaulding teaches online classes on Learning Theory for trainers and behaviorist consultants through the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. She regularly presents on the science of animal behavior at training and behavior conferences. In addition, Dr. Spaulding is a member of the APDT Education Committee. As a member of this group, she helps the APDT develop and evaluate their educational resources. In 2019, Dr. Spaulding received the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s (APDT’s) Member of the Year Award. She is also a member of the Fear Free Advisory Group and an authorized Speaker for Fear Free which advocates for minimizing fear, anxiety and stress for pets around the country. She chairs two task forces for Meeting of the Minds, a coalition of top dog professionals across the country charged with improving quality of life for our dogs. Dr. Spaulding also conducts staff training on dog behavior for local veterinary clinics and animal shelters.
Before opening Smart Dog, Dr. Spaulding earned her B.S. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In college, she volunteered for a year at the local humane society. She was then hired by the same shelter. During her time at the animal shelter, she and a coworker established a training program for shelter dogs and their volunteer walkers to make the dogs more adoptable. She also served as an assistant trainer at Dog’s Best Friend which was owned at that time by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell. In 2000, Dr. Spaulding moved to Minnesota where she worked as a dog trainer at a local dog training school before moving to her permanent home in upstate New York.
Brendan Dubia, CDW
Co-owner, Class instructor
Brendan Dubia, Certified Dog Walker (CDW), started as a class assistant in 2015. He also regularly assists Dr. Spaulding when working with behavior clients, particularly dog aggressive or stranger aggressive dogs. Brendan is a graduate of dogTEC’s Dog Walking Academy. At the three day academy, attendees learn important skills related to dog walking and training including learning theory, reading body language and safety protocols. In addition, Brendan is certified in dog first aid through the American Red Cross. In order to become a CDW, attendees must be certified in first aid, agree to a code of ethics, pledge to only use humane training methods, and pass a practical and written exam. Click on the icon below for more information. Although we no longer offer dog walking services, many of the skills and information learned for dog walking – such as how dogs learn and reading body language – aid him when teaching classes.
Brendan currently teaches Foundations, Puppy Kindergarten and supervises Puppy Play hour. He is working toward becoming a Certified Pet Dog Trainer.