Laura Nativo is a dog trainer, pet lifestyle expert, celebrity dog mom, and a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. As a television personality and influential speaker for petcentric causes, she’s harnessed her multiple skills and put them all to work on behalf of the human-animal bond. Laura is currently the resident pet expert “family member” co-host of the Emmy-nominated lifestyle show, Home & Family, on Hallmark Channel. Laura has dedicated her life to dog training, wellness, happiness and furthering the human animal bond.
Laura grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey, where she demonstrated a special connection to animals early in life, when a pony vomited on her at the petting zoo… and she wanted to take him home. Soon after, thanks to her television debut on the popular children’s show, Romper Room, Laura fell in love with the magic of filmmaking. After losing her mom at the age of 6 to breast cancer, Laura found comfort with the dogs of friends and family, eager for the day when she might have a dog of her own to love. When asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, Laura would respond with either “a farmer” or “an actress,” never imagining how her love of animals and performance might one day converge into her life mission – using entertainment as a platform to educate and empower pet parents.
Laura moved to Los Angeles at 17 to pursue a career in show business, where she found success as an actress and producer. In 2002, She welcomed Preston Casanova, a little white Pomeranian puppy into her busy, on-the-go life. Determined to avoid the yappy purse dog cliché, she worked with Preston on every skill she – or he – could think of. Laura and Preston became inseparable. Since that day, she has gone from an adoring dog mom with good, natural instincts to a creative and educated animal trainer.
Laura’s professional life officially went to the dogs in 2008, after she appeared in the CBS reality show Greatest American Dog with Preston. Laura invested herself wholeheartedly into the world of dog training, as a sponge mentored by several of her respected dog training friends. Laura went on to host and produce Preston’s Planet L!VE, a weekly interactive show for dog lovers on TheStream.tv. Laura hosted and produced “The Adventures of Laura & Preston,” a web series for Natura Pet Products, traveling the country to work with other amazing dogs and their humans. She co-hosted two season of Dog Park Superstars an action-packed competition show where dogs and their owners compete in hilarious games of skill, teamwork and obedience. Laura joined MSN.com’s community of lifestyle experts, hosting a series of 2 Minute Tips for pet lovers. Laura hosted and produced the official behind-the-scenes videos for the AKC Eukanuba National Championships. A tech geek at heart, Laura helped launch Petsami.com, the first and only network for pets, by pets, as Creative Director. She has been a regular guest on the Marie Osmond Show and appeared on countless television shows for her expertise in dog training, choice of quality products, and lifestyle advice for pet parents.
In the last 7 years, Laura has become a highly sought after dog behaviorist in Los Angeles, often referred by veterinarians for puppy training, obedience, behavior modification, studio trick training, therapy dog preparation, and selecting the right dog. Laura creates lasting results through her fun, stress-free, common-sense approach to dog training. She does not whisper, instead she has an arsenal of positive techniques including clicker training (and perhaps a bit of cheerleading) to help bridge the communication gap between dogs and their humans without force, intimidation or punishment. She is influenced by Dr. Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell, Terry Ryan, Karen Pryor, Sophia Yin and other renowned positive trainers. Play, patience, and mutual respect are the elements that inspire a dog to want to work, learn how to think creatively, and to make good decisions. Of course, her human clients appreciate the same things! Her natural ability to help dogs to reach their full potential has led to Laura being nicknamed “The Fairy Dogmother.” She actively volunteers at local shelters and loves helping homeless pets develop better manners to improve their chances of finding a forever family. Always eager to advance her expertise, Laura regularly attends educational opportunities including the APDT Conference, Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpo and Terry Ryan’s Chicken Camp and Coaching Workshop. She has taught several dog training workshops around the country, often to raise money for local animal rescue groups. Known for her trick training expertise, Laura and her dogs have participated in agility, flyball, frisbee, splash dog, rally obedience and even search and rescue. All four of Laura’s dogs volunteer as therapy and education dogs. Laura has even served as an expert witness in court proceedings.
Laura has built upon her foundation of fifteen minutes of fame to become a much needed voice for dogs and ally for pet parents. Often called upon to endorse pet products, she is mindful to use and promote products that meet the highest standards of safety, nutrition and innovation. Laura serves on the Artists Foundation of the American Holistic Board of Veterinary Medicine and is an ambassador for their 1 In A Million Campaign. She is on the Communications Committee for the World Pet Association and MC’d their 2013 SuperZoo Best New Products Showcase. Passionate to make the world a more pet-friendly place, Laura is working with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and members of Congress on the PETS ON TRAINS ACT, a proposed initiative to allow well-behaved pets on trains. She hopes this may open the discussion with lawmakers in support of more public-access for well-behaved pets on public transportation including trains, buses, and airplanes. Laura has been featured in countless publications including: Life & Dog, Animal Wellness, American Dog Magazine, Dog Fancy, Washington Post, NY Times, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly and online pet blogs.
In her time off-screen, Laura is passionate about promoting the importance of the human-animal connection, and volunteering with incredible charities around the country. Laura is the founder of The Pawtastics, a non-profit volunteer organization comprised of celebrity dogs, studio dogs and other exceptionally trained canines and their humans who entertain those in need of therapy with musical theatre style entertaining performances. Laura is grateful to be able to use her media contacts for good, often volunteering as the MC and host for events benefitting pet rescue all around the country. In December 2009, Laura and Preston were honored to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Christmas Eve, as ambassadors for Helen Woodward Animal Center and the Iams Home for the Holidays Campaign. Laura and Preston have been honored at the Westminster Dog Show for their philanthropic endeavors with “Pet Star” Golden Paw Award.
Laura lives in Los Angeles, CA with her four dogs – Preston Casanova (12), Penelope Supafly (6), Winston Churchill (5), Delilah Jane Sassafras (1) and a seemingly endless supply of muddy laundry. Laura’s dogs sleep in the bed, eat human grade food, kiss her on the mouth, and she doesn’t care if you judge her for it. In her “free time” she most enjoys paddleboarding, snowboarding, camping, hiking, and adventuring with her dogs and friends. Laura loves to travel, and maintains that “home is where my dogs are”… as she updates this biography, that would be on an airplane.