Happy birthday lolabuland.com!
Happy 3rd birthday to lolabuland.com!!! 🙂
My first post here dates exactly 3 years ago! Since then, there have been 157 posts and unbelievable 68,051 comments! We have 2440 registered members, 8 different training DVDs and offer 7 different on line classes, from Puppy Class to Graduates Only, all commented personally. I'm proud to say I know almost all my students by name and am still in contact with many of them, from first Puppy Class in March 2011 on.
On this occasion, let me thank my wonderful students for being such a cool group to work with and to help this website, classes and DVDs to grow and get better&better. And my boyfriend for his 2nd job of being a technical support of this site. Thank you all!
And, here is one of the first posts I posted on this website again: How it all began...
I don't remember how it all began... My parents report that I was very quick learning to speak. Of course, as I had something important to say: I want a dog! My parents were shocked. Third child and first strange wish like that: why on earth would one want to go into trouble of owning a dog??? None in my widest possible family never had a dog, it was not all that common at that time (huh, I'm getting old!), dogs were mostly guardians of farms and lived in very bad conditions. But I REALLY wanted that dog! I learned to read very quickly too as my parents got bored of reading me the only book about dogs that was translated to slovenian at that time: a dog breeds encyclopaedia... On one of the first pages, there was a Samoyed puppy picture and I decided I absolutely need a Samoyed. I became a passionate reader, reading everything that mentioned a dog at any point, dreaming about moving to Alaska and working with sleddogs.
Meantime, I was inventing 1001st way to get your parents get you a dog. No luck. My first pet were fish that I caught in a river nearby. I also got some frog eggs and raised some lovely little frogs that eventually started to jump out of their terrarium so my mother made me take them back and got me a parrot instead. I also had a hamster, turtle... I took good care of them, but none of those animals ever took my mind off having a dog. My parents also tried with signing me in sports, musical and culture activities, but nothing really got my attention. It was all just a very, very long training in patience and persistence in following the Dream.
It's not even my cake, but I have a wish anyway: a dog!
My wish to have a dog and all the creative ways I was coming up with to make my parents see I absolutely need one is what I most remember from my childhood. I have no idea where the wish came from, it was just there from as long as I can remember. The same way with agility: I read about it in 1989, just a short presentation of the sport and knew immediately that's my Thing. I realized that's even easier as moving to Alaska to do sleddog thing - if only I had a dog!
I got Aiken when I was 11. He was a Samoyed, but thought he is a Husky, I never met another Samoyed with that much will to run and that passionate about hunting. I wish I knew more about dog training then, he could be great if only I knew how to redirect all that drive into something more useful as chasing birds and cats and mice and rabbits for hours. He was very passionate and unstoppable about it, I always had to rescue him from holes he jumped in while chasing cats or gardens he jumped in but couldn't get out etc., life with him was sure full of adventures.
I know he should be kept on leash, but leash never fit into my picture about having a dog. But I sure did want to go into dog school with him, but my parents were not ready to pay for my dog's education. So, in order to make some money, I started to publish a magazine. Dog magazine, of course. I put together a magazine with stories and articles on different topics every month, for about 5 years (!), copied it and sent it to 50 or so addresses of my subscribers! I sent some samples to some dog products companies too with a request for sponsorships and actually got a sponsor! I didn't get rich, but I did gather enough money for dog school!
We were like 20 in a class, 40+ year old men with German Shepherds and Rottweilers and me, a little girl with a Samoyed who hated long stays (yes, the story of my life, all my dogs hate long stays, I wonder why 🙂 ). Instructor thought the problem is I'm not strong enough to correct him and hanged him on a choke collar himself. Bzzz.... Wrong move. Didn't fit into my picture of owning a dog either!
I decided for a different approach, my own version of clicker training, passed an exam with flying colours and by that got a green light for agility classes! Yes! My parents were (again) not excited about driving me there twice a week, so I often went by bus. Had to change two buses and did quite some walking to get there, but hey, I could do agility! - Well, not in so many words... Aiken thought it's lots of fun for first two lessons too, but then had somewhat different plans. It was very, very frustrating, but I don't give up just as easily. If I can spend 10 years asking for a dog, I can spend few years, getting a message to my dream dog that we go chase mice to the next field if only he can do some jumps first. It made a great difference when he realized it's actually all about running. He thought it's about obstacles first and those got boring after two lessons (yes, of course we did all the obstacles on a first lesson already, it was year 1992 afterall!), that's why I always emphasis that the dog should know it's about running. As soon as Aiken realized it, he actually started to love the sport and never left me in a ring alone anymore. What a victory! My sweetest and most important win ever!
Yeah, that's how it all started. It was a tough start, but hey, it only makes everything else look easy. Like getting Lo without ever seeing a PyrShep before, learning French to get La, raising autistic Bu etc. You have to love those tough starts!
I love your online classes and I am so happy that I finally found a class I can take that trains in the way I want. It’s been a struggle on the dogschools here all these years to proof that you don’t need to correct a dog to make him learn things. You don’t even have to correct him to change behaviours you don’t want! I’m not really welcome at the dogschool close by anymore because I don’t agree with them and I’m not afraid anymore to speak my mind :).
Anyway, thanks so much for showing it is possible to train your dog in a way thats fun for both dogs and trainers! I love the classes here and I’m sure I’m gonna join many more!
Such an amazing story! I related to it in so many ways! Although, my parents DID have dogs, I never had my own until after I left home and the first one was a siberian husky! Like your Aiken, my dog would chase everything and ran after elk in the wilderness for two hours one time while we were hiking in South Dakota. 🙁 She eventually came back with her tongue hanging to the ground. I remember reading every single dog story I could get my hands on. Your story is wonderful and your life is a testament to your dedication and tenacity! I am SO happy you share it with all of us and especially for me and my Little Spur! There are so many dogs in the world living happier and healthier lives because of you and that is an amazing thing! You have been helping me and my Spur even before your on line classes started! I am SO very thankful for everything you do! I don’t know how you keep up with so many students, but your dedication is incredible!! Congratulations on your three year anniversary!! 😀
XOXO Amy and Little Spur…….and, of course, Rock Star Roscoe!
Thank you all for all your nice words! It’s easy to stay motivated and work hard with such a high reinforcement rate! 🙂
Congratulations -- you worked hard enough! Your puppy and foundations courses made a spectacular difference to my dog and her work
Happy Birthday to your beautiful project! i enjoy every class, just regrets that they did’nt exist when Doucette was a puppy. I like third photo “I know what i want” 🙂 I remember too the first lesson in LolabuLand in summer 2010, i can say : i was there! Long life to Lolabuland, the place where dogs and humans are happy!
I’m so excited to be a part of LoLaBuLand comunity
Your DVDs Silvia really changed my way of training both: my dogs and my horses… The sentence you say in one of the DVDs: “treat your dog as a champion before he jumps his very first obstacle” really helped me switch from “WHY? why he still does NOT do….” to “WOW! he’s done so much already!”… and this really helped all my animal grow as a sport/family dogs/horses BUT I feel that this also helped me grow as a person!
I love how you dispel the urban myths and legends in each of your DVDs and comments !!! You say: let your dogs bark, don’t focus on obstacles but on running, use a lot of shaping (where so MANY instructors I know and knew over the years told me that shaping is so wrong, that it only causes problems creating overactive dogs).
I love how you mix the knowledge from human psychology and coaching in dogs’ training.
I love the way you treat people taking part in the classes… love how you treat us, like your dogs really 😉 with kindness, openess, spontaneus joy. How you are able to get the very best of us by focusing on our strong sides and talents!
Thanks for all of that!
Thanks Anja 🙂
Happy 3rd Birthday lolabu land! what a great story -- wow 2440 students is BIG number for you to handle by your self ! I think you and your dogs are simply the best in agility, and the most amazing teacher I know! I love your classes so much and I feel so lucky that I have been able to learn from you, and BIG Thank you to your boyfriend who has create this wonderful website to connect the world and produced all your great videos!! 🙂
Love the story… I grew up with no dog, wishing for a dog every shooting star and birthday cake, my parents just weren’t interested -- I had fish, rabbits, hamsters but just not, and then didn’t get my dog until I was 18. Still didn’t have their approval but did it anyways, and then was given the option to rehome my dog or move out. I became very independent because of my dog!
Congratulations on all your success with lolabuland, it is such a valuable thing to me. You are truly gifted in how you make 2440 students feel like the class is designed just for them!
Wow, your parents were even more strict about dogs as mine! Mine did eventually give up and had to live with 3 at one point 🙂 They were fine with them once they started to believe I actually will take care of the dogs all on my own!
I don’t think all those from 2440 actually took a class, I don’t have that info -- but 2440 people have user name and account on this site.
Happy 3rd year LoLaBu Land 🙂
It’s so nice to read this story again. Aiken was the reason I looked you up when searching for puppy school for Ruby. I figured if you could train a samoyed, you would know how to train a whippet. And I was right! Definitely the best puppy class I could choose.
Thank you for telling me I could train Ruby in agility if I wanted to. I don’t think I would have the courage otherwise. You never said I had a wrong breed or that I shouldn’t reward with frisbees or that anything is impossible for him. I still get a little excited every time I get on a the highway toward Bič even though I haven’t been to LoLaBu Land in more than a year. Now that’s strong classical conditioning 🙂
I’m really happy I get to do Agility Foundations again with Java (and hopefully Ruby will get to play some as well). Here’s to many more years and many more happy dogs in LoLaBu Land!
🙂 There are sure no wrong breeds!