Five Questions with a service dog puppy raiser
Hi everybody, “5 Question Friday” is a new feature I’m planning on That Mutt where I feature people who work with dogs in different ways.
Today we have Colby Morita, the blogger from the site Puppy In Training. Colby has been raising and training service dog puppies since October 2006.
I had five questions for Colby:
That Mutt: What’s the worst puppy raising advice you’ve heard?
Colby Morita: Back in the 90s, several of my college roommates brought home puppies. I’m not sure what they were thinking because raising and training a puppy should not be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, they did not do much to get their puppies acclimated to their new home.
Back then I knew nothing about raising a puppy, but I took it upon myself to get these two little pups, affectionately known as Stinky and Pepper, used to their new lives. I was able to teach them some basic obedience like “sit” and “down,” but potty training them was a beast!
Looking back, I know why potty training was so difficult. I was advised to rub our puppys’ noses in their accidents. Needless to say, this archaic method of training never worked for either Stinky or Pepper. This advice has sat with me for so long I even included it as advice to avoid when potty training your puppy.
TM: What’s something you do regularly that other people think is crazy?
Colby: Most people think raising a puppy for 18 months then giving him away is crazy.
In fact, anytime I try to recruit new puppy raisers the #1 reason they say they would not puppy raise is because they think giving the puppy back would be too difficult.
Yes, I admit it’s difficult to give a puppy back, but watching the puppy you raised give someone back their independence is life changing:
– Watching Dublin swiftly navigate through a crowd with his blind partner.
– Seeing Archer’s 4-year-old partner with a TBI who was considered non-verbal call him by name and give commands “sit,” “down,” and “stay.”
– Observing the bond between Apache and his partner suffering from PTSD.
Experiencing these moments and watching the puppy you raised change a person’s life is priceless.
TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?
Colby: I allow my personal dogs to sleep in the bed, but not until they have learned the rules of the house.
Basically, my personal dogs are not allowed on the bed until they are potty trained, crate trained and understand basic obedience.
Puppies In Training sleep in the crate beside my bed. I basically have two crates on both sides of my bed that act as my night stands. We actually tackled this question in detail on the blog.
TM: What’s one of your top puppy-raising tips?
Colby: Two of the most important things you need to practice when raising a puppy are patience and consistency.
Be patient. Puppies don’t get trained overnight. It can take weeks, months, years, to accomplish your training goals.
Guide Dog puppies aren’t fully trained until they are about 2 to 2 1/2 years old. Be consistent, stick to routines. Your puppy will learn new behaviors, good and bad, much quicker if you’re consistent and stick to routines.
TM: Is there anything you want to say to That Mutt’s readers?
Colby: In the near future we plan on starting our own Puppy In Training Puppy Raiser Program to help individuals with disabilities regain their independence.
If any That Mutt readers are interested in raising a service dog puppy, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send us a message through the contact form on the Puppy In Training blog.
Thank you, Colby!
If anyone has any questions about raising or training a service dog puppy, leave them in the comments!
For more from Puppy in Training:
If you would like to be featured in a future “5 Question Friday” interview, please email Lindsay@ThatMutt.com.