NICOLE LAROCCO-SKEEHAN, CPDT-KA
Nicole has a long background in animal welfare and dog training. Her training career began in college where she taught equestrian and horseback riding. After graduating from Robert Morris University, she worked at a boarding kennel as head trainer and obedience instructor and earned her CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer) title.
In 2005, Nicole transitioned to shelter work with Animal Friends, a no-kill animal shelter in Pittsburgh, before serving as Director of Animal Behavior at the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia. At the SPCA, she built a program to enrich the lives of the animals and to educate the public about the benefits of keeping shelter animals as pets. She also became a specialist in the retraining and rehabilitation of fighting pit bulls. Nicole then served as the Director of Behavior for New Leash on Life-USA, a prison-based dog training program where she worked with the inmates and their dogs. Nicole’s career in animal rescue has been documented on television shows such as Animal Cops: Philadelphia, Animal Planet’s Dogfighting Exposed, National Geographic's What Breed Am I?, and on numerous local television and radio programs.
Nicole currently owns and operates Philly Unleashed (www.phillyunleashed.com), a dog training studio that provides group and private lessons and behavior modification to the Philadelphia metro area. She continues to work in the field of animal rescue by contracting with shelters to build behavior programming. She also instructs the shelter behavior residency for the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine
Nicole is a sought-after speaker both locally and nationally, and has authored several dog training DVD’s, published through Tawzer. Her new book, The Teaching Dog, is currently available through Dogwise Publishing.
In her spare time, Nicole loves to travel and has successfully meshed vacation with animal behavior work, rehabilitating wild parrots in Belize and baby elephants in Kenya. Nicole resides in the Philadelphia area with her husband, son, and a menagerie that includes: an Australian Cattle Dog, a Border Collie mix, two donkeys, four goats, and a flock of chickens.