Testimonials for Laura Monaco Torelli



 If you decide to purchase a dog, you MUST hire Animal Behavior Training Concepts. You may not appreciate the necessity now, but you will as soon as the course begins. The Puppy Start Right class is literally the best $219 we have ever spent. Laura and Kiki are incredibly talented with animals, not to mention awesome people in general. I could not speak highly enough about our experience.
Anthony & Chantele with Darwin

Laura Monaco Torelli was the ultimate teacher, listener, and supporter for me and my dog, Charlie. Charlie is my first dog, and I had so much to learn when I picked him up as a puppy. Laura and her team were extraordinarily gentle, patient, and responsive. Their classes were fun, and they made training methods so easy to understand and implement. Laura is truly an expert, and she is gifted in how she is able to share knowledge and teach. I appreciated Laura's concern for the overall health of our pups, emphasizing training techniques that keep them safe and healthy—at the vet, at the park, etc. You will learn much more than just dog 'tricks' at her sessions, and you will develop an even deeper love and understanding for animals. With Laura, that is contagious! I am so happy that we found her. I love working with Charlie using my clicker and positive reinforcement. The efficacy of the method is truly remarkable. Training sessions are fun for me and Charlie, and it has increased our bond. Thanks again Laura and Animal Behavior Training Concepts! 
Courtney with Charlie

To say that Laura is a gifted trainer is simply an understatement. Our beautiful girl was the victim of several difficult interactions with dogs in our neighborhood who were aggressive. This brought about a very strong fear response from our otherwise perfect puppy toward other dogs as well as a strong sense of “what do I do now” from her family.

Given this was our first dog we had no idea what to do. But Laura knew exactly what was required for our family and our dog. She is so much more than a trainer. She creates a warm, inviting, safe and incredibly positive atmosphere. She sees each dog team as an individual owner and their beloved companion, a unit committed to learning and growing together in tune to each other.

She is patient and nurturing to both human and pet. She has worked tirelessly with us to get beyond our fears, to stay calm, understand dog “signals,” and work with our girl to help her get to a place where fear and confusion are no longer a consuming part of who she is.

Since working with Laura, we see the true and complete momentum toward a solution that we can understand, administer on our own away from a trainer and simply "do."  Not only were we able to meet privately, Laura also answered any and all questions we had on our journey via email and phone.

You will not be disappointed but only amazed and overjoyed at her depth of experience, support, knowledge, heart to find a gentle solution and dedication to each team!
Tina & Family with MeiLi

Kiki and Laura: As you guys know, Russell is really shy around strangers and doesn't really let people touch him or approach him without a few grumbles escaping his throat.

He recently got a paw infection (probably from the recent ice and salt on the ground), and we had to take him to the vet today. I was incredibly anxious and nervous about it because our first visit to the vet was traumatic. We switched over to a new clinic, which is right across the street from our building, and Calvin and I were still feeling really nervous about the visit.

I just wanted to share that this interaction gave me SO much confidence that we could work through Russell's stranger shyness, and we couldn't have done it without learning about how to problem solve around new situations using the tools we learned in your training classes!
Helen & Calvin with Russell

Hi Laura: Thank you for such a great class yesterday.  I've said this to you before, but I just think it bears repeating: You are such an excellent instructor/trainer. It is really impressive how you artfully and skillfully keep ALL of us--dogs and humans--engaged in such a constructive and safe way... all the while having a good time and learning new things ... and you are tracking, processing, and delivering so much on so many levels. Both Shannon and I felt the training concepts sunk in even deeper yesterday ... and Isabella just had so much fun. She was so happy all the way home in the car, she just lay there so relaxed with a big smile (tongue hanging slightly out, calm face, twinkle in her eye)!
Shawn and Shannon with Isabella

Without Laura and her crew we would have a very different dog. They not only helped relax our Pomeranian puppy, The Doctor, but they helped us to be more relaxed around him. Thanks to these classes we now hear people say, "If I had a dog like yours, I would get one," and "That is one well trained dog." We loved our dog before, but now we love him 10 times more. We can even see him smiling. Thanks!
Zoran & Elizabeth with The Doctor

I've always been known as the dog expert in my family so when a new puppy came into my sister-in-law's life I recommended ABTC because of Laura's experience as a marine animal trainer and her connection to Karen Pryor academy. Though I hadn't met her my hopes and expectations were high. I'm astounded to say that she and her staff have exceeded them. They create not only a positive environment for the dogs but also for their human students. They see each training unit as unique and provide a supportive environment with more flexibility than seems possible. They have nurtured my 7 yo niece's love of animals and built her confidence with them while teaching an exuberant little puppy. I could write a book about how great the whole team is. I've enjoyed learning from them so much that I've decided to bring one of my own dogs as well. Thank you Laura and staff.
Patricia with Joe

When our puppy pug got off her leash and decided it would be a better idea to run around the block for half an hour than come to me when I called her, we decided it was time to get her in a training program. Our friend recommended ABTC and we could not be more pleased. After watching videos of Laura clicker training giraffes, and meeting Laura in person, I knew that not only would our pug, Sookie, learn a great deal, us humans would learn so much too. Sookie loved the classes and a few weeks in, to our great delight, Sookie came to us like a little wrinkle-faced pro. If it weren’t for the fact that we just moved out of state, we would have continued with the program. Laura and her staff are extremely positive and supportive, the class sizes are perfect for working with your pup’s needs individually, and Laura was always happy to answer any of our questions via e-mail. We loved their positive-reinforcement approach and their tips on how to read your dog’s body language. I highly recommend ABTC!
Shannon & Evan with Sookie

Five stars isn't enough for ABTC. They were exactly what my wife and I needed for our new bulldog, Zeus. Being a new dog owner, my wife and i had a lot of questions. Laura, Indya, and Sara were amazing throughout the course and exemplified patience, caring, and understanding. I highly recommend ABTC, as Laura's team was extremely knowledgeable and took the time to help with our specific concerns/questions. We'll be back for the next course. Thank you!
Ted & Jackie with Zeus

Bella and I are so happy to have found Laura and her staff--I only wish we would have found you sooner! Bella is becoming a little less of a wild puppy (13 months now) and learning positive behaviors for which she is rewarded. Thank you for your patience and wonderful training techniques. Bella can't wait to get out of the car each week when we arrive for class!
Maureen with Bella

Laura Monaco Torelli and her amazing team are unlike any training team in Chicago, or in the country for that matter. Laura's relationship with veterinary behaviorists and veterinarians, in conjunction with her vast experience and knowledge, provide an incredible foundation for all dogs and their families to succeed in a happy, stress-free environment together--even during that crazy time of puppyhood! A few months ago, our dog Paddington was randomly attacked by a dog in our neighborhood, and I called Laura right away. Not only did she offer tremendous support in those scary moments, but she continued to check up on Paddington and I for many weeks to come, making special arrangements for us to come to class and gradually socialize Paddy back in with other pups. Thanks to Laura, Paddy is 110% back to his normal happy self and can't wait to go back for the next round of training!
Rhoda & Kevin with Paddington

Laura and her team make training and working with our dogs Miko and Chachi fun. We really like the small class sizes. It helps us focus on the lesson and helps our dog Miko learn about focus and managing distractions in a calm environment. Laura is a wealth of knowledge and the books, tools and resources she has recommended have helped both Shannon and I with both of our dogs.  
Leslie & Shannon with Miko & Chachi

Laura is a great listener, and communicates in a clear positive manner. I continue to learn from her every time we meet. She is able to draw on her knowledge of animal behavior, and positive reinforcement training to help me find ways to work with my dog, Luna. Her enthusiasm is wonderful and Luna and I both look forward to our time with Laura. Thanks for all of your help and for making training so much fun!
Susan with Luna

Laura is the best gift to dogs and their owners. I've learned so much, with her as a trainer, and those things have made Max a better dog and me a better dog owner. I appreciate Laura taking the time and patience to work with me outside of regular class time by answering by questions via phone and e-mail. Even though I recently moved to NYC, she's still there for me and Max and I've taken everything I learned from her, with me. Max can defintely teach these New York dogs a thing or two :-)
Cheney with Max  

Laura: I just wanted to pop in and thank you, in all sincerity, for the extensive kindness and compassion you have shown to Paddington. We drive home after every training and exhaust ourselves bragging about the noticeable progress he has made with each session. He has become more confident in his routines, more laid back around other dogs/people, and playful with new things around the house. Thank you for recognizing that some pups needs a little extra something, and then going the mile in providing that for them. You've been a powerful pillar of support for our family, and it's something we will forever treasure. This kid is unrecognizable compared to the meek nugget that once cowered in corners. We are spilling with pride, and owe a great deal of that accomplishment to your teachings. Sarah and Amy with Paddington 

As a person who never owned a dog before, learning clicker training and positive reinforcement methods from Laura has proved invaluable for me. My maltese mix Zuzu is so happy to come to classes. We have also learned behaviors in just one session. A while back Zuzu was having trouble climbing stairs and Laura came over for a private session. Just from that one session, Zuzu has no problems with stairs anymore. Laura makes training fun and enjoyable. And she is always just a phone call or e-mail away if there are any issues that come up between training sessions. Her compassion and individual attention to each of the teams that are part of the sessions is unique.  
Liz with Zuzu

Laura Monaco Torelli is an exceptional dog trainer with whom we have had the pleasure to work. She has had a tremendous impact on the health of our dogs through the education she provides. We enlisted Laura’s help when we brought home a painfully shy puppy. She took the time to get a feeling for our particular situation and helped us learn to work together with our pup. With Laura’s help and patience, Abby is now a playful, well-mannered member of our family. Laura’s positive approach to training and her ability to identify the needs of each family are two reasons her training methods are so effective. No matter the situation, Laura exhibits very high levels of professionalism, compassion and skill in her training. She truly cares about helping people and their dogs better understand each other. We highly recommend her for any type of training needs. 
Aaron & Melissa with Abby & Simon 

Laura has the magic touch with dogs and people! We have worked with her in group settings and on an individual basis with our dog Lucy. Our particular focus was Lucy’s fear of city noises and congestion. In both situations she has been extraordinary in helping us to understand Lucy’s behaviors. We focused on rewarding Lucy for calm responses and overcoming her fears. Lucy now manages quite comfortably in the city which was formerly a very frightening place for her. We recommend Laura to everyone, and Lucy adores her. 
Bill and Barbara with Lucy 

I wholeheartedly recommend Laura Monaco Torelli of Animal Behavior Training Concepts to anyone looking for a dog trainer. The first course I took with Laura was so valuable that I have since taken two more group classes with several private lessons. Laura is great to work with because she is so passionate about what she does and also because she is such a good teacher. She is professional, organized and also knows how to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time. She has an incredibly positive attitude that creates a great energy in her classes and lessons. One of my favorite parts of Laura’s classes is simply watching her work with each dog individually and seeing how quickly she gets results. I have also appreciated how much helpful advice she has had about how to deal with specific problems that have arisen for me and others in the class. I hired Laura for some private lessons with my 6 year old daughter. I have a 9 month old “spirited” large breed dog that can be a little overwhelming. Laura is as good with children as she is with animals! My daughter is so proud of what she has learned from Laura and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Anne with Callie I really enjoyed Laura’s knowledge, personality and the attention she provided each dog in class. It was also very nice to have the additional training staff to help--they were terrific! What an excellent class.
Cathy with Zooey

Laura Monaco Torelli has infectious enthusiasm and truly cares about all the dogs in class. Her passion for training translates in everything she does. We look forward to taking our dog through all of Laura’s training classes.  
Scott and Moira with Charly 

After adopting Katie from the Anti-Cruelty we started with Laura. Not knowing Katie’s history, Laura’s gentle and positive approach was perfect. She helped us bond and taught me that training can be a fun daily activity that we both look forward to. Katie has made great strides. With our hard work coupled with Laura’s positive guidance, she will only get better. Thanks Laura! 
Cathy with Katie 

As first time dog owners, my wife and I are very fortunate to have met Laura Monaco Torelli. She is an extremely dedicated and knowledgeable trainer. Our German shepherd, Buehrle, responded immediately after just two sessions in a group setting. Laura’s patience and experience provided a solid foundation for Buehrle. He is a well-behaved, fun-loving part of our family. We have Laura and her professional staff to thank for this. We strongly recommend Laura’s services to any present of future dog owner.
Francine and Steve with Buehrle 

A good, experienced trainer is so important in investing time and money for training your dog. Laura exceeded these expectations. My dog completely changed over the course of the group class when we learned with Laura.
Amy with Bailey 

Laura is absolutely the best! Ollie started with her as a tiny puppy and she helped us with the common mistakes that require retraining. Laura gave the moral support we needed and offered wonderful tips for housetraining--it was painless. She truly has a special gift for animals. Laura was also great with my 7 year old twins and they are now “best friends” with Oliver.
Beth with Oliver 

Dear Laura: Margie and I cannot find the words to thank you for introducing us to one of our closest and most cherished friends. When the Windy City Animal Shelter needed a family to foster Jasmine, a young shepherd-chow mix, we were happy to help. She demonstrated aggressive behavior toward other dogs and was initially fearful of people. The aggression toward other dogs was heartbreaking because she needed the kind of home we can provide, but live in a neighborhood with many other dogs. Before meeting you it was impossible to take her for walks without fear that she would trigger and attack another animal. Subsequently Hobbes, our son’s dog, became ill and needed to recover at our home after his surgery. The exercises you demonstrated at our home with our two dogs were very effective. Your training of Jasmine and US has brought us to a point where we now have two beautiful, gentle and well behaved dogs in our home, and one of them is Jasmine. He and Hobbes follow each other everywhere, play and sleep side by side, getting along fabulously. Your understanding of what makes animals tick and how to bring about behavior changes is beyond remarkable. You are as good a people trainer as an animal trainer. Without you in our lives we would never have had the patience or courage to take this long journey with Jasmine. With heartfelt gratitude, we are now adopting Jasmine. She has her forever home here.
Jim & Margie with Jasmine & Hobbes 

Working with ABTC and Laura has been the best decision we ever made with regards to our puppy, Ruthie. Guests cannot believe she is still a pup when they see how well behaved and attentive she is. She has come so far and it is all due to a good dog and hard work with an excellent and supportive trainer. Laura was amazing, extremely knowledgeable and always positive. The best thing about Puppy Foundation Class and Laura is the reassurance that all the things you think are wrong with your puppy are all completely normal…and fixable! We look forward to working with ABTC in the future.
Kristen & Patrick with Ruthie

I only wish I had begun training when Bella was much younger. Not having had a dog in 30+ years, I realize now how much easier training would have been. Nevertheless, what Laura was able to help teach Bella is wonderful. She makes it look effortless. It’s up to me to practice, practice, practice what Laura taught us. I highly recommend Laura and ABTC with no hesitation. 
Jackie with Bella






I've enjoyed enormously working with Laura on several projects. I'm impressed by her excellent training skills and her broad background with many species. I'm thrilled with her inventiveness, and her commitment to her clients and their learning experience. It's an honor to welcome her to our faculty.
Karen Pryor
CEO, Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior

Laura is, in a word, amazing. I’ve worked with plenty of skilled animal trainers, but Laura stands out because of her unrelenting commitment to her profession and to her clients. Unfailingly kind, always creative, with years of experience training a wide variety of species, Laura embodies everything I look for in a great trainer. I recommend her without hesitation.
Kathy Sdao, MA, ACAAB (Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist)
Owner of Bright Spot Dog Training

I have referred many of my clients to Laura Monaco Torelli for both help with implementation of behavior modification plans we have initiated and for primary training. Her professionalism and attention to the needs of the pet and the pet owner have made her a valued resource for me and my patients. We have needed someone like Laura in the Chicago area for many years. Her emphasis on positive reinforcement based training and understanding of learning theory offset many of the archaic training methods that focus on abuse of the pet. I would highly recommend her for anyone looking to strengthen the bond between themselves and their animal companion.
John J. Ciribassi, DVM
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

Laura is an incredible trainer and communicates beautifully with her clients: both human and animals alike! I would highly recommend Laura for any type of behavioral issue.
Emma Parsons
Author of Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog and coauthor of TACT: A Training Program for Dogs That Are Fearful or Reactive Toward People

Laura is a dedicated, tireless educator of fellow dog professionals, and she puts as much passion, compassion, and good cheer into her teachings as she does wisdom and excellent advice. Should you have a chance to learn from Laura— whether by watching her speak, reading her blog, or working with her in person— take it.                                                             Veronica Boutelle & Gina Phairas,              www.dogtec.org

Niabi Zoo is very lucky to have Laura's expert guidance for our behavioral husbandry program. She is such an asset to our training team because of her positive and knowledgeable training methods, caring and dedicated nature, and her overall ability to teach. Laura is highly regarded as an animal behavior expert and keeps up with the ever changing knowledge base of the field. I highly recommend Laura!                Colleen Stalf
Head Keeper, Niabi Zoological Society


Seminar Attendees

University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Behavior Club and Non-Traditional Species Club Animal Training Seminar

We had the privilege of having Laura speak to the Behavior Club and Non-Traditional Species Club at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in October of 2013. She had spoken to our club on equine training the previous year, so we knew we would be in for a great presentation from a very talented trainer. This time, Laura spoke on a topic especially near and dear to her heart, exotic animal training.

Laura discussed the importance of relationships in animal training between veterinarians, zookeepers/trainers, and the animals. She emphasized the importance of giving animals the power of choice and honoring those choices. Laura broke down training to its basics, explaining that knowing your animal and its motivations, building a relationship with that animal, and understanding that small approximations will help you reach your goal faster are all key elements to training any animal, from a dog to a dolphin. She also explained the benefits of training exotic animals, such as recognizing medical problems early, being able to administer medical care more expediently, and providing mental stimulation. No one who has seen Laura in action can deny that she is a very charismatic and engaging speaker. She even gave away clickers and animal training books to our attendees, who received their prizes with great enthusiasm. She also generously donated three books to our behavior club library that will educate and enlighten students for years to come.

Laura is an incredibly professional, knowledgeable, and friendly speaker. After her talk, there was a line of students eager to ask her questions. Laura even offered to assist a student with the training program for the resident birds of prey from the Wildlife Medical Clinic. Both clubs’ members had a very positive response to Laura’s talk and came away with a better understanding of training animals of any species. Laura was a pleasure to work with, and we hope she will return to speak to us next year.

Jessica Byerly, President, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Behavior Club


Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Behavior Club Animal Training Seminar

Laura came to visit us at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine on the island of St. Kitts in the fall of 2013. We were excited for her visit and to hear her insight on animal training and behavior and were pleasantly surprised that she exceeded our expectations. Laura worked with the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (ABC) and the Ross Zoo, Exotics, and Wildlife (ZEW) clubs on campus to deliver fantastic and engaging talks on zoo animal behavior, clicker training, and her role as a partner with a veterinary behaviorist.

The recent movement towards positive reinforcement in the vet clinic is a concept that many students are interested in learning more about. For that reason we opened up the talks on this subject to anyone on campus regardless of club affiliation, and we received great feedback! Officers of both clubs received compliments for bringing Laura down as a speaker.  She did a great job relating to students of all levels of behavior knowledge and helped many to see the animal’s perspective in a new light. Even the most confident and experienced trainers in the club took away new information and tools to add to their training techniques. Members of the ZEW club got a glimpse at the vital role that trainers and keepers play in the medical management of the wild animals in captivity, and the close relationship that vets share with keepers.

Laura was very professional, knowledgeable, relatable, and kind-hearted. She went out of her way to make herself available to the students for additional questions, and to problem shoot specific training issues. I highly recommend Laura as a speaker, trainer, and educator. She is one of the most talented, genuine, and modest trainers I have ever met.
Amanda Falcone, Ross University Animal Behavior Club President


TAGteach and Clicker Training: The Dynamic Duo

Hi Laura, Theresa and Karen: Both Sara and I can't thank you enough for the fantastic and well presented seminar.

I have been applying what I have learned with my senior clients with great results and another one of my assistants commented on how I was talking less and getting more practice in during classes. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We would love to have all of you back again!
Kathie Hayes, Narnia Pet Behavior and Training

Karen Pryor Academy Students

Laura brings so much more to her students than just delivering curriculum and checking off boxes. She approaches each of us individually, acknowledging our strengths while helping us move through the discomfort of entering new elements. With grace, wisdom, and lots of patience, Laura’s guidance shapes us into confident handlers and trainers. I can’t thank Laura enough for all the words of encouragement; the hours of discussion, and the inspiration keep at it. Our six months together as a team when by far too fast. The KPA program is known for high-standards, working to deliver compassionate methodologies with a goal of life long relationships. Laura emulates these values in everything she does.  Charlene Nelson, KPA CTP

Having the opportunity to attend the Karen Pryor Academy in my area was truly wonderful; having Laura Monaco Torelli as my Instructor went well beyond any and all of my expectations.  Laura is an incredible person, instructor, and support system.  KPA is challenging -- add that to an active home life (with children and dogs) and being self-employed and it got very difficult at times.  But Laura was a great listener and offered reinforcing and appropriate support during those tough times.  KPA and Laura were the pinnacle of my education.  I am honored and privileged to have Laura as my KPA Instructor and Mentor.                        Laurie Schlossnagle, KPA CTP

Hi Laura: I wanted to THANK YOU for the last 6 months. I have truly learned so much about clicker training from you. I had no idea how much I could learn in 6 months and 4 workshops. It was awesome! I feel so much more confident in my ability to train. It really has been an honor to have you as a teacher. You have so much knowledge and so many great ideas on ways to train. I loved going to the workshops and couldn't wait to learn more. I would always go home so excited and motivated after each workshop! Just ask my husband, I would talk his ear off when I would get home. So again, thank you so much for being an amazing, fun, motivating teacher!                                           Erica Kendzora, KPA CTP

When I began my KPA journey in the Dog Trainer Professional program, I never imagined that my Faculty Instructor would be as kind, supportive and genuine as Laura! The program was an intensive six-month period of exercises, quizzes, and writing assignments, traveling to workshops and training sessions with my dog, Beckley.  Throughout those six months, Laura was there to promptly answer any questions that I had and always offered helpful suggestions. My dog had a health issue spring up the morning of our first workshop and Laura was just as concerned for Beckley as I. She did everything she could to ensure he was evaluated and cleared by the medical team that first day. The environment that Laura fostered for learning was warm, inviting and centered around the comfort of her students- both 2 and 4-legged. Upon graduation, Laura called me personally to offer congratulations and best wishes in my future endeavors, which meant so much to me. I have no doubt that Laura could handle any behavior concern to come her way and every dog owner will walk away with a better relationship with their pet and a strong foundation in the training skills necessary to maintain a wonderful bond throughout their pets’ lives. I am incredibly grateful that I was fortunate enough to learn from one of the very best clicker trainers in the country and will continue to draw from the knowledge I gained from Laura for years to come.                                            Alyssa Wright, KPA CTP

Laura: I am so glad to have been part of this. You are a wonderful teacher. That's a broad statement so I'll break it down a bit. You should be hearing the sound of clicks and self-reinforcing with your favorite treat as you read the following:

  • Poise You project an air of calm, control, and confidence and encouraged us to do the same. I really appreciate your advice to "take a deep breath." 
  • Professionalism My mom used to say. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." You've reminded me that it works for complicated, political, work environments, just as well as it does for 7 year old kids! Your help and advice with my specific questions was always spot on.
  • Positive attitude You really put positive reinforcement and focus on what we want into every interaction. That kept us on task and created a warm and forgiving environment conducive to learning. 
  • Superb mechanics I am in awe of your training skills and experience. The love and respect you have for all animals is obvious. Your focus on training as a reciprocal team effort between two species is wonderful. 
  • Clear and concise communication skills and TAG teaching I had many "a-ha" moments as you coached my sessions. I love your ability to give perfectly timed direction that result in an instant improvement in a training session. That is so cool! The learning happens not through verbal explanation but rather by experiencing success. What a gift and skill!
  • Sensitive and responsive to students (and dogs) Your awareness of and ability to juggle the needs of all of us (dogs and humans) is fantastic.

There's more but I'm sure you get the general idea. Thank you for showing us what excellence looks like!                    Tim Reed, MS, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA


Animal Behavior Training Concepts was voted Best Dog Training in Chicago by the readers of Chicagoland Tails for 2009 and 2010.