Canine Ethology Online Training Bundle

  • Overview

  • Required

  • Schedule

  • CEUs & Pricing

  • About Your Instructor

Course Begins: January 11, 2023

Duration: 8 weeks instruction (9 week duration)

Instructor: Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB

Course type: Instructed Course

Introducing our new Canine Ethology Online Training Bundle! Combining Dr. Kristina Spaulding’s Fundamentals of Ethology and What Is a Dog? The Ethology of Our Best Friend courses, this package will provide an in-depth view of ethology and how it pertains to the canine species.



  • Auditors do not attend online meetings
  • Meetings are not recorded
  • Meetings are 1 hour in duration
  • There are 8 meetings in total for the two courses
  • Meetings take place on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern
  • First meeting January 18th
  • There is a break/no meeting on February 15th




Think outside the Skinner box! Ethology is the scientific and objective study of how animals behave in the real world. This course will teach you the core concepts of ethology — how animals see their world, and why they behave the way they do.


You’ll learn how the environment, individual personality, and genetics all interact. This course is great for anyone new to ethology, working or interested in sheltering, zoos, training, and behavior, and everyone interested in getting the most out of their relationship with a companion animal, personal or professional.


Ethology is the study of animal behavior and its evolution, and is a key factor in having true expertise in the understanding of animals.


  • How do animals see and interact with their world?
  • What does this mean in terms of how they behave?
  • How will this change and enhance your understanding of behavior?
  • How can this understanding dramatically improve your ability to work with, and help animals?
An understanding of ethology, and the exploration of these questions will forever change how you think about the animals we live and work with.




Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior under natural conditions. In short, it’s the study of how animals behave in the real world. 


This course takes a deep dive into our understanding of dogs as a species, and therefore how we live with them and train them, how they learn, and how we can best solve behavioral issues if they arise. 


To address these questions we will consider:

  • The interplay between canine domestication, evolution, and behavior
  • Development in dogs: birth through adulthood
  • The perceptual world of the dog and how it impacts behavior
  • How dogs approach and solve problems in their environment
  • The role of genetics in behavior
  • The behavior of free-ranging dogs 


You will come away from this course with an even deeper appreciation and wonder for these amazing animals we live with. You’ll never look at dogs—or dog training—quite the same way again.

Recommended Textbooks


Course Requirements

Auditors must review all course materials. This will be verified in the Learning Management System.


Full Students must review all course materials, attend the eight online class meetings, and complete quizzes and discussion questions.

Students who miss more than one meeting or homework assignment per course will not receive credit for that course.

Full Students should expect to spend an average of 2 hours per week on course material and viewing, depending on individual speed of learning and the week’s materials.

Week 1 -

▪What is ethology?
▪Evolution and natural selection
▪What about behavior?
▪Gene by environment interactions
▪Tinbergen’s four questions
▪Proximate versus ultimate questions

Week 2 -

▪Motivational states
  ▪What are they?
  ▪Characteristics of motivational states
  ▪The organization of behavior
  ▪Prioritization and choice
▪Emotion and stress

Week 3 -

▪Social cognition
▪Social behavior

Week 4 -

▪Play and welfare
  ▪What is it?
  ▪Why does it matter?
  ▪Personality traits
▪Human-animal relationships
▪Course wrap up

Week 5 -


Week 6 -

▪What is ethology?
▪What is the natural environment of the domestic dog?
▪Free-ranging dog behavior
▪Domestication and its impact on behavior
▪Summary of wild canid behavior and why it is important for understanding domestic dog behavior

Week 7 -

▪Social organization of canids
▪Establishment and maintenance of group stability
▪Dominance hierarchies in dogs
▪Perception and how it influences behavior
▪Integration of multiple modes of perception
▪Perceptual capability of dogs

Week 8 -

▪Sensitive periods
▪Developmental timeline
▪Cognitive development

Week 9 -

▪Problem-solving skills and their function
▪Navigation in dogs
▪Genetics and behavior
▪Genetic studies

Full Student:


Member Cost: $459

Non- Member Cost: $539*



Member Cost: $279*

Non- Member Cost: $329**

* IAABC Members - click HERE to get your IAABC Member discount code from your account
** Non-Member Auditor Coupon Code: AUDITOR

Instructor: Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB

Dr. Kristina Spaulding has been in the dog training and behavior profession since 1999. She earned her undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While in college, she worked for the Dane County Humane Society and volunteered as an assistant trainer at Dog’s Best Friend, then owned by Dr. Patricia McConnell. She runs Science Matters Academy of Animal Behavior LLC. She completed her PhD in biopsychology—the study of the biological basis of behavior—in 2016. In 2017, Dr. Spaulding became a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. She is particularly interested in stress, neurobiology, cognition, emotion, and wellbeing and how to apply these concepts to the prevention and early intervention of behavior problems in dogs.


Dr. Spaulding has a passion for teaching and offers a variety of online courses and webinars on the science of behavior. During graduate school she taught undergraduate courses for several years. She was trained in innovative and effective teaching skills through the Institute for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Leadership and the University at Albany. In 2012, Dr. Spaulding received the Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student Award through the local chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. In 2019, Dr. Spaulding received the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s (APDT’s) Member of the Year Award. 


In addition to teaching other professionals, she regularly presents on canine behavior science at conferences and other events. She also continues to work with private training clients where she specializes in fear, reactivity, and hyperactivity/impulsivity. She currently serves on the IAABC Foundation Board and the Fear Free Advisory group.