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5 Question Friday: Puppy in Training

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.

Colby and dogs Stetson, Linus, Archer and Raven

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!

Stetson and Adelle

For more from Puppy in Training:


Facebook: PuppyInTraining

Instagram: PuppyInTraining

YouTube: PuppyInTraining

If you would like to be featured in a future “5 Question Friday” interview, please email [email protected].

Related posts:

“5 Question Friday” with Kimberly, a raw dog food blogger

How to be a guide dog puppy raiser

Beth huntington

Monday 16th of October 2017

Can we be a puppy raiser if we have 2 dogs of our own?


Monday 16th of October 2017

Hi Beth! Yes, every program I've worked with allows puppy raisers to have multiple dogs in the household. When we started as puppy raisers we had 1 dog of our own, Linus and our puppy in training, Stetson. Stetson was career changed and came to live with us. So ever since Stetson was career changed we've had at least 2 dogs of our own at home.


Sunday 15th of October 2017

Colby, I too admire and thank you for all that you and all puppy raisers do to help people with disabilities. Keep up the good work.


Monday 16th of October 2017

Thanks Irene! Puppy raising has been one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life and I've always enjoyed working with the puppies (of course) and people.


Sunday 15th of October 2017

Thanks Colby. We have foster dogs who stay with us while recovering from an injury or illness and it is very difficult to let them go after just 6 or 8 weeks. I can't imagine how you must feel when you have to let one move on for his or her life's work. You have to be a wonderful person! If a reader is interested in raising a service animal but is on the fence about the committment, think about fostering to see if you have the patience, time and ability to love them enough to let them go.


Sunday 15th of October 2017

Hey Mike! I did exactly what you recommend. Before I started raising guide dog puppies I was a foster for a local rescue. I thought just as you did that experience as a foster would give me an idea of how difficult it would be to let go of the dogs. It is difficult letting go, but as I mentioned above watching the dog your raised since a puppy help a person regain their independence is priceless.


Saturday 14th of October 2017

Thanks Lindsay for letting me be a part of your "5 Question Friday"! I enjoyed answering the questions and sharing a little about myself. If anyone has any questions about puppy raising please let me know.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 15th of October 2017

Are guide dog puppies in training legally allowed pretty much anywhere? Or are there some businesses, employers, facilities, etc. that don't allow them?


Friday 13th of October 2017

We have a lot of admiration for the work you do, Colby.


Saturday 14th of October 2017

Thanks Jan! We love working with the puppies and the people.