Laura Monaco Torelli
LAURA MONACO TORELLI (KPA CTP/Faculty, CPDT-KA, TAGteach Level 2) is the owner and founder of Animal Behavior Training Concepts.
She and her training team collaborate with clients and veterinary professionals to provide high-quality care for the dogs and other animals in their clients’ lives. Their motto, “Explore the Joy of Learning Together,” guides how they share the benefits of positive reinforcement training in group classes, individual sessions, and seminars.
Laura believes training should be fun, exciting, and educational for both people and their animal companions. Her unique professional background, which encompasses animal training, public and outreach programs, and educational seminars, allows her to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment for each group and individual client.
Laura began her professional animal training career in 1991 at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and in 2000 moved from marine to terrestrial animals, working for the San Diego Zoo as a lead keeper and then Brookfield Zoo as a supervisory lead keeper. In the zoo and aquarium community, she has trained a wide variety of species, including beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Alaskan sea otters, harbor seals, river otters, penguins, primates, large cats, reticulated giraffes, birds of prey, horses, parrots, macaws, tree kangaroos, red pandas, and dogs. These experiences have provided numerous opportunities to teach animals to cooperate in their daily husbandry care—a priority she has brought with her to the companion animal realm. Laura founded Animal Behavior Training Concepts in 2004 to help pet owners enhance their relationship with their animals through the same principles of positive reinforcement and continuing education that she cherished in the exotic animal training world.
Laura has presented at the professional training conferences for the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association, the Animal Behavior Management Alliance, and the Interdisciplinary Forum for Applied Animal Behavior, as well as for ClickerExpo, the Chicago Veterinary Behavior Symposium, and Western Illinois University's Zoo & Aquarium Studies graduate program. She is faculty for the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior.
In 2011, Laura established a partnership with veterinary behaviorist John Ciribassi, Animal Behavior Partners, to direct clients and veterinarians to the appropriate type of help for behavior problems. She also served as a staff trainer at Dr. Ciribassi’s practice, Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants, for five years.
She particularly enjoys sharing her experience with future veterinarians. The American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA) invited her to speak at its 2009 symposium, hosted by the University of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine in Champaign-Urbana, and at the 2010 symposium, at Purdue University. She has also presented on exotic and domestic animal husbandry for the behavior clubs at Ross University, Purdue University, and University of Illinois veterinary schools.
Laura has been featured on television and radio, including WCIU's You & Me This Morning, WGN's Steve Dale's Pet World, WGN Midday News, and NBC 5 Chicago News, as well as in the Chicago Tribune and Quad-Cities Online Dispatch-Argus. She has written numerous training articles for Karen Pryor Clicker Training and coauthored an article for Clean Run with Dr. Karen London. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and the University of Illinois veterinary school have featured her work in their blogs and newsletters.
Laura and her husband share their lives with Santino, a Rhodesian ridgeback, and Nocella, a senior cat.