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Revisiting Reactive Rover

February 11

11:00 am PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Behavior, CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


We’re all familiar with the term “reactivity” as it applies to dog behavior. It’s the dog that loses her mind when she sees another dog – or person, or bicycle or horrible, evil skateboard – and barks, lunges, or otherwise becomes out of control at the end of her leash or behind some other kind of barrier. But what is going on inside the dog that is driving the reactivity? And what does reactivity really mean from a scientific perspective?

This talk will discuss how the term reactivity is conceptualized in science and what the research on this topic can teach us about working with reactive dogs. You’ll come away from the talk with a greater understanding of what drives reactive behavior in dogs, as well as how to address it.

Topics include:
• The definition of reactivity in the scientific literature
• The physiological responses underlying reactivity
• The relationship between reactivity and arousal
• Proactive vs. reactive responses
• Highly sensitive personality
• Emotional regulation and dysregulation
• How to apply these concepts to working with reactive dogs!

Presented By:

Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB

Dr. Kristina Spaulding (she/her) 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 opened Smart Dog Training and Behavior LLC in 2001. In 2016, she completed her PhD in biopsychology—the study of the biological basis of behavior. 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 through her website, 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.