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.
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
- Amanda Fortman, Class assistant
- Shannon Frame, Class assistant
- Kim Karbocus, Class assistant and substitute class instructor
- Allison Scagel, Behavior intern and class assistant
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 18 years. She currently conducts private lessons for basic training and a wide variety of behavior problems in dogs.
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). She gave two talks as an invited speaker at the 2017 APDT conference in Richmond, VA. In addition, Dr. Spaulding is a member of the APDT the Education Committee. As a member of this group, she 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 recently accepted a position on the Fear Free Advisory Group for Fear Free which is advocating for eliminating fear, anxiety and stress for pets at vet clinics around the country.
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.
Behavior Intern and Class Assistant
Allison Scagel has been an intern with Smart Dog since January 2016. She accompanies Dr. Spaulding to her behavior clients, both observing and directly working with the dogs. Allison also serves as an assistant trainer for various classes. Throughout her time with Smart Dog, Allison has learned important skills including reading canine body language, honing training techniques, and implementing behavior modification for reactive and aggressive dogs. Allison also worked at the Humane Society of Rome for two years as their dog handler. There, she worked with dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds, and temperaments to help them adjust to shelter life and find forever homes. In addition, she implemented the Canine Life and Social Skills Training Program for Shelter Dogs to increase enrichment for the dogs and help teach them skills they would need in their new homes. Allison graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in wildlife and conservation biology, with minors in both animal behavior and psychology. She is currently working toward becoming a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and will begin a PhD program in the fall of 2018, where she will study dog behavior. Her ultimate goal is to become a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist.