The Thinking Animal: Cognition and its Role in Behavior

  • Overview

  • CEUs & Pricing

  • About Your Instructor

Course Begins: January 6, 2025

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 7:00 pm Eastern (first meeting January 13th)
  • Meetings are 1 hour in duration
  • There are 4 meetings for this course


What’s going on in an animal’s head (even when they’ve decided it’s a great idea to stick their head in a wasp’s nest) is a complex, fascinating, and vital part of understanding their behavior!

This 4-week course will introduce some key questions in animal cognition, including:


  • How do animals understand time?
  • Do animals have good short- and long-term memories?
  • Can animals comprehend numbers, logic and other abstract concepts?
  • How can we use animal cognition to make more effective and enjoyable behavior interventions for animals and humans?


Your instructor, Dr. Kristina Spaulding, CAAB, will guide you and your fellow students through exercises and discussions designed to engage and excite you about this ever-growing field of research!
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 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.