Frisco trainer seeks understanding between dogs & owners |

Frisco trainer seeks understanding between dogs & owners

CAITLIN ROWsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Caitlin RowDan Bellina works on a simple heel command with his dog, Merlin.

FRISCO – When Dan Bellina issues a command to his dog, Merlin, the black German shepherd gives a little whinny and obeys immediately with an excited bounce. Merlin’s ears point alertly as he stares intently at Bellina’s every movement, hopeful for hot dog pieces as he performs skills – everything from heel, sit, lay down, and retrieve – to more complex skills like attacking and protection.”Merlin loves to work,” said Bellina, a Frisco resident. And the local trainer loves his dog. His interest in deciphering canine behavior has led to a career in teaching pet owners about obedience training, and how to manage difficult pet behaviors.But, Bellina wasn’t always in tune with doggie habits. When he got his first dog over two decades ago, he didn’t know how to train it. So, he joined a club near his home in Canada and his passion for dog obedience was ignited.”I work for mutual understanding between dog and owner,” Bellina said, noting that he uses motivational training with lots of food and praise.And he learned from “the best” – Gottfried Dildei, a German dog trainer whose methods are recognized internationally.Bellina has worked with dogs and their owners since 1986, teaching obedience, tracking and protection, as well as working with behavioral issues and aggression. He not only helps local dogs and owners, but he travels the country giving obedience training seminars. He’s also trained dogs used in film and TV, including “Tales from the Crypt” and “Miami Vice,” and he competes in dog-obedience competitions both nationally and internationally.

Locally, Bellina has helped pets with behavioral issues and manners through his business, DB Dog Training and Pet Care – “I try to keep dogs out of the pound,” Bellina said.Dogs that come out of animal shelters often have behavioral idiosyncrasies, Bellina said, and he strives to help new owners deal with a pet’s emotional issues or even something as simple as house training. He also hopes to work with the League for Animals and People of Summit (LAPS), giving workshops on obedience training for dogs.When Diane DeSilva, Bellina’s significant other and business partner, adopted Denut, a lab/boxer mix from the Summit County Animal Shelter, in September, she said the pup needed time to adjust and learn new habits. And, within a half-year, Denut has been trained to be a therapy dog.DeSilva stressed the important role the animal shelter plays in helping out furry friends, but she also said that obedience training plays an important role in keeping dogs with families.Bellina said he wants to train dogs so their owners enjoy having a pet in the family -“So it’s not a burden,” he said. “Dogs have the same issues as people.”DeSilva agreed: “Happiness is the goal for both parties.”Besides giving canine training sessions, DeSilva runs the pet-care side of their business, such as dog walking, doggie day care, cat care and in-home pet sitting.”We can travel all over Summit and Eagle Counties,” DeSilva said.For more information about references and pricing, contact Bellina at (970) 389-3381 or DeSilva at (303) 618-6334.Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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