Founder + President
Troy has a lot of natural talents, but the one that is most true to his heart is with ‘mans best friend’. His training career started with two miniature pinschers that Troy raised from puppies. He has pursued his career with multiple schoolings, including The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers, Sit Means Sit in Las Vegas, he is a AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, and many years of hands on experience. With a natural heart for dogs, it wasn’t long until the pack grew with other rescued canines of all breeds, and he has always had the philosophy that a trained dog, is a happy dog, and a happy dog means a happy owner with a healthy lifestyle. Troy spent many years learning every training technique possible, working and mentoring with the top named trainers across the country, and seeing the relationship that each method and tool created between him and the dog. There is not always one single method that works for all dogs, but rather being able to use the best tool and or method that is suited for that specific dog in the specific circumstance always gives Troy the desired result.
Annika Stackhouse Smith
In 2010 a sick, stray dog showed up in my yard. Originally reluctant to take her in, Wiggles is my heart dog and I can’t imagine not having her in my life. I had no experience with pit bulls, leash pullers or reactivity but thankfully we found LARPBO. My original goal of being able to take my dog on a peaceful evening walk has been exceeded ten-fold. Here we have made great friends and learned so much about dogs and ourselves.
The LARPBO community has been so valuable that I wanted to share the experience with others. By volunteering at classes, events and behind the scenes I can help people enrich their relationships with their dogs. LARPBO has been a very rewarding experience in my life.
A Southern California native, Griffin Mekelburg has always had dogs in his life. He has worked confidently with aggressive and abused dogs, which has lead to his desire to train both humans and dogs with LARPBO.
With a strong desire to work with and help his community, Griffin hopes to help educate others about the realities of Pit Bulls and help others build lasting relationships with their own dogs. Griffin believes through a strong connection with your canine companion, anything may be accomplished. Griffin knows through patience, caring, and the LARPBO training methods, your loving partnership with your canine will be everlasting. Griffin’s Pit Bull, Dexter, has been awarded his AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.
Mariana started teaching her own family dogs tricks at the age of 11. Later, as a dog walker she learned how to read a dog’s body language, observed behaviors with humans as well as other animals all the while hoping to one day be a trainer herself. When she started working at a grooming salon she had to work with fearful dogs, aggressive dogs, jumping and lunging. Mariana enjoyed the challenge and was rewarded knowing that she could help to make others’ lives easier and more fulfilling by not only bathing their dogs, but helping to train them as well.
Currently, Mariana has two dogs. Dexter, a shelter rescue Pit Bull and Tika, a Miniature Pinscher Mix who was trained in Portuguese, Mariana’s native language. Tika, also a rescue was abused until she was five months old. With training, Mariana turned Tika and Dexter’s lives around. She is passionate about dispelling the myths surrounding Pit Bulls and using Dexter as a positive example for responsible ownership.
Languages Spoken: Portuguese, English and Spanish
Communications Director + Community Outreach Manager
Megan and her husband Jack joined LARPBO in April 2011 as a way to socialize, exercise, and train their 80-pound pit bull, Petey, and Megan joined the leadership team shortly thereafter. A long-time volunteer at shelters in New Orleans, New York, Austin, and Los Angeles, Megan saw LARPBO as a way to help people improve their relationships with their dogs and thereby keep pit bulls in homes and out of shelters. Since joining LARPBO, Petey has earned his AKC Canine Good Citizen title. When not spending time with her pit bull, Megan is the Senior Development Officer for the public radio program “Marketplace”.
Megan holds degrees from Wellesley College (BA, English Literature and Theatre Studies, summa cum laude); the University of New Orleans (MA, Arts Administration, magna cum laude), and a certificate in dramaturgy from Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater, where she served as a
Teaching Fellow and Teaching Assistant for undergraduate classes at Harvard University.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Social Media & Marketing Director + Volunteer Coordinator
In 2010, I walked into West LA Animal Shelter “just to look.” I scoured the kennels looking for any dog that wasn’t a pit mix or a tiny dog. Don’t get me wrong, I thought they were all cute, but who wants a ferocious dog or a yappy one, right? Well, apparently this pit/lab mix knew I was the one for her. She wouldn’t go to other lookie-loos unless I called for her. Needless to say, a few hours later, Makana — “gift” in Hawaiian — took me home and never left my side.
I came upon LARPBO on an internet search to help me train and better my dog. Like Makana, LARPBO has a weird sense of humor: together scheming other plans for me. Makana and LARPBO somehow wrangled into my consciousness to extract my true calling: to serve my dog, other dogs, and those dogs’ humans….. I am here to help in any capacity that I can. Aloha, e komo mai.
Social Medial Coordinator + Community Outreach Coordinator
Early 2013 the question of getting a dog came up and we spontaneously took a trip to our local shelter. My first comment was “we’re NOT getting a pit bull!” I grew up in Germany where they execute BS-laws and so all I knew about this breed is what most people know – a whole lotta stereotypes.
That’s when we came across Ms. Ani, a “lab-mix”. One reason we liked her so much was because she was very calm amongst all the loud dogs surrounding her, but once we brought her home, all that changed. She showed no leash manners, reactivity to dogs, cats, skateboards, etc. It was a tough time for me especially, being a first time dog owner. I was desperate, until one day a lady at the vet said there was this group who trains pit bulls for only $15/class. Well, we haven’t looked back since the first time we attended class. Ani has now earned her CGC and CGCA titles. She still has a long way to go, but training never stops! I highly value all that LARPBO has taught us and look forward to many more years as part of this amazing community.