Fundamentals of Ethology

  • Overview

  • Required

  • Schedule

  • Prerequisites

  • CEUs & Pricing

  • About Your Instructor

Course Begins: February 19, 2024

Duration: 4 weeks

Instructor: Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB

Course type: Instructed Course


  • Auditors do not attend online meetings
  • Meetings are not recorded
  • Meetings take place on Mondays at 1:00 pm Eastern (first meeting February 26th)
  • Meetings are 1 hour in duration
  • There are 4 meetings for this course


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.

Recommended Text: The Ethology of Domestic Animals, An Introductory Text, 3rd ed. Edited by Per Jensen.


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


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

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

This is a 4-week instructor-led course. Each week includes a recorded lecture and a scheduled live discussion (Full Students only).

Students will have access to the course material for 1 year from the date of their most recent IAABC Foundation purchase.

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Full Student:


Cost: $300



Cost: $180

Cancellation Policy: We will refund 90% up to 30 days pre-event. A 50% refund will be available up to 15 days pre-event. After these deadlines, no refunds will be issued.

Instructor: Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB

Dr. Kristina Spaulding has been in the dog training and behavior profession since 1999. She 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. Kristina 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. In her private practice, she specializes in working with puppies and adolescents and dogs with reactivity, fear and hyperactivity and/or impulsivity issues. In addition to working with behavior clients, Kristina teaches a variety of online courses and webinars on the science of behavior. She also regularly presents on canine behavior science at conferences and other events.


In 2019, Kristina received the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s (APDT’s) Member of the Year Award. She serves on the APDT Education Committee, the IAABC Foundation Board, and the Fear Free Advisory group.


Before opening Smart Dog, Kristina earned her B.S. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In college, she worked for the local humane society for several years. She also served as an assistant trainer at Dog’s Best Friend which was owned at that time by Dr. Patricia McConnell.