When it comes to interior decorating Lola Osbourne makes her mark with a few choice accessories of her own. From reupholstering a few armchairs and couches with teeth marks and scratches, to adding unpleasant yellow spots on carpets and a new ghastly odor to her humble abode, the infamous “terrible 2-year-old” bulldog had to be stopped.
“I met [the Osbournes] and they said Lola is the most stupid dog ever,” says Tamar Geller, a professional dog trainer and owner of The Loved Dog Company. “And I looked at her and said ‘she is so not stupid’. There are many people who say their dog is stupid but they’re not. They are brilliant. It’s just no one understands what they are saying.”
According to Tamar, with all the “craziness” in the household and no clear-cut guidelines to follow, Lola was the leader of the seven-dog pack, doing whatever she pleased wherever she pleased. But the Osbournes had enough of Lola’s lucrative decorations, some of which end up under their feet and has became the object of some of Ozzy’s funniest quotes.
The Osbournes wanted Lola to have manners, to be polite, to have patience and to play nicely with the other dogs. “I started working with her and literally within 5 minutes the dog was sitting down,” Tamar says. “It was amazing to see how she was like a sponge. She wanted to learn.”
But what is it that Tamar does that makes a world-renowned rambunctious bulldog learn to sit in just 5 minutes? It’s not choke chains or abusive language, surprisingly it’s only a game.
Tamar Geller’s interest in working with animals began after finishing her service as an Israeli Intelligence Officer in the Air Force for the Special Forces. Geller retreated into the quiet deserts of Israel, and after a short time, she began to tag along with a man who was doing research on wolves.
“I was interested in wildlife but not as a career. It’s kind of like a little magic moment where you know opportunity presents itself and either you take it and it changes your life or not,” she says. “It was really not premeditated at all. I never thought this is what I would do. I thought I would be a shrink and now I’m a shrink for dogs,” she adds with a laugh from her doggie daycare in Los Angeles.
After a couple months of studying wolves Geller combined her research with her knowledge of child psychology, and tried what she learned on her dogs and her friends’ dogs. Eventually she moved to the United States in 1988 with a new technique of dog training.
“Everything [the wolves] were doing was done through a game. And that’s what I did. I took everything that I wanted to teach a dog and came up with a game way to do it,” she says. “It’s not about correcting a dog, it’s about how can I make it fun for her? And that’s what I showed [The Osbournes]; how to have fun in an ‘edutaining’ way.”
Although Geller only spent two sessions working on manners and establishing a walking schedule for Lola to follow, Lola won Tamar’s heart and topped the charts as her favorite celebrity dog in training.
“She was fantastic! She is like a tomboy,” she says. “It’s the personality you fall in love with when you see them making that effort.”
Lola was just as charming in her goodbye and sent Tamar off with a surprise; “Obviously we didn’t start on the house breaking but she peed on the rug as I was leaving, which was really funny.”
In her days since the Osbournes, the single 38 year-old proud owner of a rescued Doberman mix named Clyde, continues her quest to make life great for her clients’ dogs and the dogs that live in her cage-free kennel at The Loved Dog Co. Her 6,000 sq., ft. indoor doggie daycare is complete with couches, tunnels, beds and slides; the dogs are free to socialize, and are not stuck at home bored. Tamar says, “It’s a place where they can come and hang out.”
After 15 years as a dog trainer and 6 years of running The Loved Dog, Tamar says she’s not tired. And when asked what is the highlight of her career she openly admits that she is grateful for her many celebrity clients and for all the media coverage and support, but her pride and joy resides in the faces of the dogs. “I go to the center everyday and everyday we are helping build dogs’ self-esteem. But it can bring tears to your eyes,” she says. “When you see dogs that have been abused, that they have their ears cut with scissors, or that their face is caved in because someone has punched him, and you see him smiling and coming to give you a kiss, it is by far the highlight of everything.”