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 with an emphasis in animal behavior and 18 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. A number of dog trainers and interns work under Kristina’s supervision and all staff are expected to pursue continuing education and 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 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 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.
Please read below for more information on Kristina and the Smart Dog staff.
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. In addition to her academic background, she has been in the dog training and behavior profession for 18 years.
In graduate school, she ran several studies investigating how dogs navigate and perceive their social environment. She also took numerous graduate level courses in behavior including Hormones and Behavior, Behavioral Neuroscience and Behavioral Genetics. Dr. Spaulding continues her education by attending annual academic and dog behavior conferences.
Dr. Spaulding regularly conducts staff trainings on dog behavior for local veterinary clinics and other dog-related businesses. She also teaches online classes on Learning Theory for other trainers and behaviorists through the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). In addition, in December 2014, Dr. Spaulding accepted an invitation to become a member of the APDT’s Education Advisory Group. In 2016, this group was dissolved and replaced by the Education Committee, which she was also asked to join. As a member of this group, Dr. Spaulding advises the APDT on their education plan, including their annual conference, online courses, and publications as well as resources and guidelines for trainers and behaviorists.
She also offers regular online talks on recent dog behavior and training research and plans on offering additional online educational opportunities in dog training and behavior later in 2017.
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 also attended 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.