Learning to Train Dogs: What Bellie Can Do

I wrote about the general context of what I’m doing and Why I Want to BFRB A Psychiatric Service Dog Trainer. But what has that actually entailed so far?

At the time of this writing, Bellie (officially Annabelle), my first foster dog, has been adopted by my brother-in-law, his long-time girlfriend, her nine year old daughter, and their large fenced in yard. We’ve worked so hard together! I’m so proud of her.

Because of her dog aggression, Bellie the pocket pit (amazing as she is, that love bug!!) isn’t totally service dog material. I wouldn’t feel right about claiming public access rights, and we never attempted the Canine Good Citizen test.

She is wearing a service dog vest in a lot of these photos. That’s because she’s the official mascot, and the model for the logo! What was originally just an idea to foster dogs to gain general dog training experience has become a reality. And it all started with Bellie.

Unfortunately, due to my hospitalizations and recovery that I talk about in my first post, I have a lot of guilt about not being able to continue Bellie’s training as intensely as I’d like (she still attacks the vacuum cleaner *sigh*). And yet I do have to give myself credit for what I was able to accomplish since she came into my life in August 2018.

Here are a handful of commands I’ve taught Bellie. Some were introduced initially to help curb her dog-dog aggression (largely out of fear it seems). Others were more out of personal necessity to help me navigate emotional distress. And others were just because I wanted to give this smart girl something new to learn!


Haley: Bellie, watch me!
Bellie: Yes’m.


Haley: Wait, Bellie!


Kiss me, Bellie, one more time!


Haley: Paws up (on me), Bellie Boo!
Generalizing paws up — ON THE GAZEBO!
Haley: Paws up and rock on!
Bellie: Betcha five treats there’s a squirrel in there.


Haley: Run, Bellie, run!!!
Haley and Bellie: We suppose this counts, too. #boring


Haley: Bellie, pressure.
Bellie: Coming deary, because…
…hell yeah I’ll lay on your lap for treats!

And there you have it! Stay tuned for my next update, which will be after the official launch of BFRB Dogs on the interwebs, logo and all!

Please also consider supporting this project financially with GoFundMe.

UPDATED: February 17, 2019

<3 Haley

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