The Power of Choice: How It Can Decrease Stress in Dogs

    • Do you work with dogs who have big behavior issues and are stressed to the max?
    • Do you want to learn more about how giving dogs choices can help decrease their stress and improve behavior?
    • Do you want to add more to your toolbox for assessing and modifying behavior in stressed dogs?

    Join Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CDBC, KPA CTP, VSPDT, CBATI, VSDTA Faculty, DWA Faculty and Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB for two days of interactive learning with working spots for 6 dogs on the second day. They will present about the power of giving dogs choices and how it can decrease their stress and modify behavior in a positive manner. This workshop will aid in honing your assessment skills and training/behavior plan development to work successfully with dogs who are stressed out and have behavior issues. This workshop is open to all trainers, behavior consultants, veterinarians, shelter staff, or anyone interested in learning more about the power of choice and how it can help decrease stress and improve behavior.


    September 12th and 13th, 2020


    Online seminar (using Zoom)


    9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Daily Time, both days


    CCPDT: 11 CEUs for Trainers and 8 CEUs for Behavior Consultants

    (CPDT-KA: 11.00, CBCC-KA: 8.00, CPDT-KSA Knowledge: 2.00, CBCC-KSA Knowledge: 8.00, CPDT-KSA Skills: 9.00, CBCC-KSA Skills: 0.00)

    IAABC: 19 CEUs

    RACE: 16 CE


    • Early Bird Discounts until July 12, 2020
      • Individual – $250
      • Group Rate for 4 or more registering and paying at the same time – $225
      • Working Spot – $275 (There are 6 total working spots.) Working spots must be preapproved. Please email for more information.
    • Registration after July 12, 2020
      • Individual – $275
      • Group Rate for 4 or more registering and paying at the same time – $250
      • Working Spot – $299 (There are 6 total working spots.) Working spots must be preapproved. Please email for more information.

    In this workshop the following topics will be covered:

    • Why is chronic stress bad?
      • Effects on health, learning, and emotions
    • Research on stress
    • How can we reduce stress?
    • Research on reducing stress
    • Control (or the lack thereof)
      • Adding choice to daily life
    • Improving coping mechanisms
    • Enrichment
    • Permission from animal learner
      • Training
      • Petting
      • Husbandry
      • Walks
      • “Room of one’s own”
    • Why don’t we already do this?
      • Human need for control
      • Lack of understanding/cultural fog
      • Delayed reinforcement (for human)
    • Teaching animals to make better (by human standards) choices
      • The matching law and why it matters
      • Foundation skills for a choice-rich life
      • Setting up the environment for success

    How the seminar will be structured:

    – The first day will feature lectures and interactive portions helping attendees better understand the concepts presented.  Working teams will have the opportunity to work with their dogs.

    – The second day will also feature lectures and interactive portions helping attendees better understand the concepts presented.  Working teams will have even more opportunities to work with their dogs.

    NOTE: There are only 6 working spots available, so make sure to secure your spot early

    Speaker Bios


    Irith Bloom is the owner of The Sophisticated Dog, a pet training company based in Los Angeles. She has been training animals since the 1980s and has worked with everything from chickens and rabbits to dogs and horses—not to mention humans. A biologist by training, Irith is fascinated by the science of learning and is a sought-after presenter at conferences and seminars worldwide. Her writing has been published both online and in print.  Irith is a Director on the Board of Directors for the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and Chair Emeritus of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee.

    In addition to her CPDT-KSA and CBCC-KA certifications, Irith is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC); a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT); a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP); a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT); a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI); and certified in TAGteach, a positive-reinforcement method for teaching humans. She is on the faculty at Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior and DogBiz’s Dog Walking Academy.

    Irith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Southern CA, where she volunteers with National English Shepherd Rescue; the Los Angeles County 2020 Healthy Pets Healthy Families Coalition (a One Health initiative aimed at improving the health and well-being of people and their pets throughout Los Angeles County); and Wallis Annenberg PetSpace.


    Dr. Kristina Spaulding owns Smart Dog Training and Behavior LLC. 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 has been in the dog training and behavior profession for 20 years.

    In addition to working with behavior clients, Dr. Spaulding teaches a variety of online courses and webinars on the science of behavior. She conducts staff training on dog behavior for local veterinary clinics and animal shelters and regularly presents on the science of animal behavior at training and behavior conferences.

    In addition, Dr. Spaulding is a member of the APDT Education Committee. As a member of this group, she helps the APDT develop and evaluate their educational resources. In 2019, Dr. Spaulding received the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s (APDT’s) Member of the Year Award. She is also a member of the Fear Free Advisory Group and an authorized Speaker for Fear Free which advocates for minimizing fear, anxiety and stress for pets around the country. She chairs the Quality of Care task force for Meeting of the Minds, a coalition of top dog professionals across the country charged with improving quality of life for our dogs.

    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.


    Since the seminar is taking place online, even dogs who are anxious with new dogs, people, and situations can be part of a working team.  Working teams must have a working webcam so the presenters can watch them and provide feedback.


    Refunds up to 30 days before the event, August 13, 2020. After that date, no refunds will be given.


    • Since the event is taking place online, please be sure to arrange so that you can quickly get food or other refreshment during breaks.


    • Paper/pen to take notes

    For more information: or 585-905-8281

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