Laura began her professional animal training career in 1991, with the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. As a senior lead trainer, she trained beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, river otters, and penguins. In 2000, Laura moved from marine to terrestrial animals, working for the San Diego Zoo as a lead keeper. She then moved back to the midwest to work for Brookfield Zoo as a supervisory lead keeper. Within the zoological community Laura has trained a wide variety of species, including primates, large cats, reticulated giraffes, birds of prey, horses, parrots, macaws, tree kangaroos, red pandas, and dogs. Laura's experiences have provided numerous opportunities to teach animals to cooperate in their daily care.
Laura's belief is that 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 environment for each client class. Laura's personal philosophy and unique skills keep her clients coming back for more training.
The APVMA (American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association) invited Laura to speak at their 2009 symposium, hosted by the University of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine in Champaign-Urbana, and at the 2010 symposium hosted by Purdue University. She presented papers and provided interactive hands-on labs for students to learn about positive reinforcement, marker-based training. Laura has presented at numerous professional training conferences for the International Marine Animal Trainer's Association Annual and Regional Meetings, The Animal Behavior Management Alliance, Interdisciplinary Forum for Applied Animal Behavior, and Western Illinois University's Zoo & Aquaria Graduate School Program students.
Laura's continued collaborations include a partnership with Illinois Veterinary Behaviorist Dr. John Ciribassi and Animal Behavior Partners. She is also staff at Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants.
Laura serves as a Karen Pryor Academy faculty member and was invited to join the ClickerExpo faculty in 2013. She holds a TAGteach Level 2 Certification and is an Operation Socialization Certified Trainer (OSCT). Laura continues to volunteer for the Shedd Aquarium as a SCUBA diver for the Wild Reef exhibit and also volunteers as a Doggone Safe "Be A Tree" presenter. She completed the Purdue University Animal Behavior Clinic's DOGS Course successfully.
In addition to contributing to radio talk shows with WGN's Steve Dale's Pet World & Susan Frank's Wild About Pets, Laura has been featured on WGN Midday News and NBC 5 Chicago News, and with the Chicago Tribune and Quad-Cities Online Dispatch-Argus. She has written numerous training articles for Karen Pryor Clicker Training. Tails Pet Media Group has invited Laura to provide "Ask The Trainer" Tips. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has also featured her training videos in their readership blog and newsletters.
Laura and her husband share their lives with spirited, energetic, and entertaining Rhodesian ridgebacks and lively cats.