June 18, 2011 the first LARPBO class was held at South Weddington Park. About 10 dogs attended that first Canine Good Citizen class. Two years later, we still have members from that first class that attend as well as some of them being members of our “Leadership Team” helping the group grow.
With a true love for the dogs and a dream of creating a community for pit bull owners, founder and trainer Troy Smith started the next step of his adventure. Holding classes at a park made sense, it’s Southern California so we have the weather for it, and it gave the dogs the chance to learn in a real world environment with real world distractions (hello squirrels) and this made the time spent training invaluable.
Since that time the classes have moved to the Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys park and average 25 dogs a class. Sherman Oaks continued to grow and had what is believed to be a top count of 40 dogs at one class. In addition almost 40 dogs have received their Canine Good Citizen certification.
In 2012 Sadot Aldaco joined Troy and helped begin expanding LARPBO by starting classes in Long Beach. Those classes are now averaging 15 dogs per class.
With Sherman Oaks and Long Beach settled in and running well, it was time to expand again. After a lot of work and effort LARPBO received permission from the city of Crescenta Valley to start holding classes there every week. That class officially opened in 2013.
While LARPBO originally started with only pit bulls, many people who heard about the classes and the top notch training being offered (at really reasonable prices) were approaching Troy who realized that as pit bull owners who are constantly fighting discrimination it would be wrong for us to do so. Classes were opened to all dogs! Since then we’ve had many breeds ranging from Shepherds, to Rottweilers, to various terriers and even a Shitzu or two! We’ve dealt with dogs who just needed basic training to dogs with all kinds of issues whether dog reactivity, human aggression, fear issues or an inability to focus (big thanks to the soccer players at the Sherman Oaks park for the great distractions they pose). We’ve been visited by neighborhood people passing by thinking we were getting ready for a dog show, to firemen and police impressed with the “amazingly well behaved pit bulls” they see.
Classes include things that often seem really basic. A move called “railroad tracks” can take up a large portion of a class but are used to teach a dog how to walk perfectly on and off leash and do a lot to help them learn to focus. These exercises form a very strong foundation for training to build on and do a remarkable job of helping to create a bond of communication between dog and owner.
Troy and his team have worked hard to keep classes interesting, having “drills” at the end of class that are usually some sort of competition to crown the “top dog of the day”.
In 2012 we also added 2 classes, every other week, for swimming and dock diving and now have our own dock diving team that will be attending it’s first “official” event in July 2013.
We only recently really started tracking our classes and membership but since March 16, 2013 (3 short months) we’ve had 29 classes, servicing 126 dogs from 115 humans and awarded 18 CGC certificates.
From one class of 10 people to three classes a week welcoming up to 60 dogs a week LARPBO has nowhere to go but up! We are adding trainers and if you’re interested in learning to be a LARPBO trainer feel free to contact us. Everyone at LARPBO is looking forward to seeing the program continue to grow and expand.
We continue to let our dogs speak for themselves and continue to work to educate dogs, owners and the general public and after 2 years we think we’ve had a pretty successful run so far and look forward to seeing what comes next. And it all started with one little class at a park.