Guest: Laura Monaco Torelli

Laura Monaco Torelli is the founder of Animal Behavior Training Concepts in Chicago, Illinois. She began her career in 1991 at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, where she trained with beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, river otters, and penguins. After nearly a decade at the Shedd, she moved on to the San Diego Zoo and then Brookfield Zoo as a lead supervisory trainer. During her time in the zoo community, Laura worked with a wide variety of animals, including primates, large cats, birds of prey, horses, parrots, tree kangaroos, giraffes, red pandas, foxes, and dogs. She is currently part of an exotic animal rescue and rehabilitation training team for the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Laura is a faculty member and instructor of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA), and serves as a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Susan G. Friedman’s Living & Learning with Animals online course. She has appeared on various broadcast media, including FOX 32, WGN, NBC 5 news, WGN Radio, and WCIU’s You & Me This Morning. Laura also contributed her training videos for the Fear Free Professional Trainer Certification and Karen Pryor Academy Better Vet Visits online courses.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Clever splits for shaping husbandry behaviors.
  • The importance of checking for human readiness.
  • Reinforcement strategies for husbandry.
  • What even is husbandry.
  • How important mechanics are.
  • Good training techniques for increasing criteria no matter what behavior you are training.
  • Setting your dog up to volunteer for eye drops.

Links mentioned:


This podcast is supported by: Zero to CD

Zero to CD is an online group mentorship program designed to provide support, structure, and accountability for people who are new to competition obedience and looking to earn their Novice level title AND to make competition obedience accessible to all dogs and handlers through force-free, positive reinforcement-based methods.

Learn About Zero to CD!