Follow us and learn how to train a perfect puppy*!

Puppy Raiser - Colby and Puppy In Training - Adelle
Puppy Raiser: Colby  |  Puppy In Training: Adelle

*Well, almost a perfect puppy…..when people see me out and about with my well-behaved service dog puppies they say: “I want a perfect puppy too!  tell me how you did it?”

My name is Colby, I created the Puppy In Training blog to tell our story about raising and training guide and service dog puppies and to help you train your puppy.  Whether you’re just thinking about picking up your first puppy or you’re a grizzled veteran of the dreaded puppy vampire teeth this blog will help you on your way to a well-behaved,  perfect practically perfect puppy (just like Mary Poppins: “Practically Perfect In Every Way”).

This page contains information to help you get up to speed quickly and start working on some of the basics of raising and training a puppy.

About You And Your Puppy

If you’ve reached our site then you are probably in some way, shape, or form associated with/in love with/frustrated with/enamored with a puppy (or future puppy).   I’m taking an wild educated guess as to who you are to help you find the information you need to make your puppy raising journey as pleasant as possible.

Puppy Raiser: You are a puppy raiser (or future puppy raiser) for one of the many guide or service dog schools around the globe.  If this is you then you might be most interested in our Puppy In Training TV series, a YouTube TV show that documents our journey with our third Guide Dog puppy in training, Dublin.  Check out Puppy In Training TV!

Pre-Puppy: You’re still in the decision making process:  Should you get a puppy?  What kind of puppy should you get?  Lets start you off with 5 tips you can use when bringing home a new puppy.

Post-Puppy: The bliss pain of puppyhood!  Thank god puppies are cute adorable creatures because after the initial bliss of bringing home your puppy you realize this is going to be no easy chore.  Potty training, crying, yelping, howling, barking, biting/nipping, jumping, digging, counter surfing these are all parts of the joys of raising and training a puppy.  Lets get started with some of the most common puppy problems:

Dog Lover: The majority of the site revolves around puppies and our journey raising and training guide dog puppies.  However, it’s been many years since we started writing to the blog.  Two of our puppies are well into adulthood.  Stetson is 7 and Linus is 9 years old.  We can’t leave our older puppies out of the mix!  So you might notice from time to time we will veer off and talk about Linus, Stetson, and dogs in general

Stetson is considering a career as a therapy dog and Linus wants to get certified as a K9 Nosework dog.  So, even if you’re puppy is no longer a puppy there is a spot here for all dog lovers.  Read more about K9 Nosework and/or Therapy Dogs.

Pet Product Advertiser: If you’re hoping to advertise one of your products on our site then congratulations you’ve done more than 95% of pet product advertisers.  We wrote this blog post specifically for you: A Post For Pet Product Advertisers.

Puppy In Training Is Everywhere

Well, not really…but we do keep an active presence on some of the most popular social media channels.

  • YouTube – up to this point with posted Puppy In Training TV videos and Product Review videos on our YouTube Channel.  Check it out and subscribe!
  • Facebook – we have an active page on Facebook with over 70K “likes”.  If you love cute puppy pictures this is where we post most of our favorite puppy pics from our various outings and events.
  • Twitter – tweet!?  what’s a tweet!?
  • Google+ – come hangout on G+

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For?

Okay U2…if you’re still confused, you still don’t have a perfect puppy, and you still can’t find the answer to your puppy problems please leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer your question.


  1. Helen says

    My lab puppy is eight myths old .. Has hip displasia and only gets walked 5 mins x3 a day she is overweight .. 8mths old and 31k I need her to drop five Kilos … She is on advanced weight loss two cups per day and not loosing a thing .. Amy advice pls

    • says

      This is definitely something you should check with your vet. My brother has a German Shepherd with severe hip dysplasia and he is limited in the amount of walks he does every day. My brother closely regulates the amount of food and exercise he gives his GSD to make sure he is not overweight. Since he can’t exercise him as much he feeds him less food. Since your dog has hip dysplasia you should consult with your veterinarian before increasing the amount of exercise or reducing the amount of food. A healthy balance between food and exercise should help your dog lose weight.

    • Ronda Sanders says

      A new treatment at some Veterinary Medical Centers is water therapy, it’s less strenuous on the animal. But I agree you should definitely check with your veterinarian. My dog is currently on OM by Purina, you can only get it in the vet’s office the dog has to be weighed at first every few weeks, then monthly. They have treats that you can give them also, which is calculated with the food. Hope this gives you something to think about when going to the vet’s office. Good luck.

  2. Sue says

    I have a 10 months old Labrador/Cocker Spaniel. He pulls all the time when he’s on the lead. I have used a harness and that didn’t help. Now I’m using a choke chain but he’s still pulling. I’d love some advice please

    • says

      Hi Sue,

      A standard harness will often times encourage your puppy to pull even more. If you haven’t had a chance to get trained using a choke chain I highly recommend not using it. The choke chain should never be tight unless you are giving a correction.

      A few things we do with our puppies when working on their early training on lead are:

      1. When our puppy gets out ahead we do sudden about turns.
      2. We play a simon says game where we are told the direction to walk. Right, Left, About turn, etc.
      3. We use treats to lure our puppies back into a heel position.

      Basically what we try to do is get our puppy’s attention on us rather than letting them lead us.

      If you haven’t had a chance you might try a group training class with a professional dog trainer. A professional trainer can help you with basic obedience and general problems like pulling on the lead.

      We’ve also tried two products that you might consider: the Gentle Leader or the No-Pull Harness. We’ve tried both and had pretty good success.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!


      • says

        Hi Colby,

        I agree with your advice to Sue, and wouldn’t recommend using a choke chain either. I’ve been using the no-pull harnesses on our dogs for many years myself and think they work great.

        Our husky mix, Pepper, was almost impossible to walk without getting dragged down the street using a normal collar and leash. But, once we tried the no-pull harness on her, we realized she couldn’t pull nearly as hard, making it easier to focus on training her to walk at our side. Before that, it was enough to focus on staying on my feet!

        Treats on hand are always a helpful thing in my book. I’ve never tried the “simon says” game you mentioned, but it sounds like something fun to try with our dogs. I think it’d be good to teach them something new.

        BTW, I love the new look you have for your site! Keep up the awesome job here :)

        • says

          Hi Sherry,

          Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the compliment on the new design. I feel like I’ll always be working on it, but right now I’m liking the cleaner look.

          We love working with treats too which work very well with 2 out of 3 of my dogs. I’m still searching for what works best with my rescue, Linus. It seems to me what motivates him the most is his instinct to chase. He loves herding Adelle in our back yard and when out on walks he’s great all the way until he see’s a cat, squirrel, possum, or skunk. Please don’t let him ever catch a skunk…

          Thanks for stopping by!

          • says

            My dog does the same- he is great on the leash when I work with him in the yard and even for a small walk. As soon as we go somewhere with distractions- wildlife, kids, other people, etc. he’s back to pulling and treats don’t seem to work. Any ideas?

          • says

            When you introduce distractions it’s a whole different ballgame. One thing we do is start slowly. If you haven’t already started working with distractions at home then first master your puppy with distractions at home. You can have friends, kids, well-behaved dogs etc. come over and work keeping your dog calm in their presence. If you’ve already done this then a second step is to try going to a new area, but with little distraction. Maybe taking your puppy through the neighborhood during an off hour. When we first get our guide dog puppies we will take them to restaurants, but we always going during off hours so there are fewer distractions.

            As far as treats not working you might try offering higher value treats when you enter a more distracting area.

            Good luck with your training!

  3. Liza Tong says

    Hi, my lab is 17 months old and still jumping and nipping at people no matter what I do. We have tried everything, ignoring, turning away, putting her on the lead, tap on the nose even but she still gets overexcited and ends up scratching and hurting people. It’s so bad I can hardly walk her with other people and certainly not with young children. Please advise.
    Many thanks.


    • says

      Hi Liza,

      That’s a tough one and would be much easier to answer if I could see your dog’s reaction in person. I’d recommend getting a consultation from a professional dog trainer to see if they can help with the jumping.

      That being said, my Golden Retriever liked jumping up on people and he was a big boy so this was definitely not appropriate behavior. When I worked with Apache’s jumping behavior I would shorten up his leash and just stand on it so he couldn’t jump up at all. I would wait until he calmed down and relaxed in a down stay. Then I’d praise him and start walking again. Needless to say we had to repeat this exercise quite often in the early going. However, over time he got better and learned to not jump up on people while out on our walks.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck with your training!

      • Jackie says

        Hi we have 2 lab puppies at 7 months and 6 months, both were jumpers, we hired a dog behaviourist as it was getting out of hand. She recommended a product called Pet Corrector it gives a short blast of air, nothing harmful, don’t point at the dog just give a blast at your side to stop the jumping, amazing it worked and is still working with our dogs. We use it for nothing else at the moment. Google it I’m sure you can purchase on line.

  4. Klaus says

    We have two 28 year old komondor girls. We are lucky, that we are able to walk them unleashed on the trails here around. They both listen very well. The only and big problem is, they see someone and they are more than 30 feet away from me, they are running. They say hallo to the people and than they listen and coming back. Any idea, what to do?

    • says

      Hi Klaus,

      We’re definitely not experts in off-leash dog training, but I think what’s probably happening here is when your girls run off they are getting a reward from the strangers they meet probably something like a pat on the head, a happy tone of voice, positive body language, some interesting smells or maybe some other type of positive reinforcement that is encouraging their behavior.

      So what are some things you can do to curb this behavior. When we work with our puppies we work long and hard on recalls. How do we get our pup’s to come when called? Whatever the most interesting/exciting thing is to our puppy is where she will go. The most exciting thing for your dog, my dog, or someone else’s dog will vary.

      Probably the most exciting thing for your dog when out on a walk is the strangers they see. For my dog Linus it would probably be a squirrel or some other type of small animal and for my dog Stetson it would be any type of food. Is there something that you could bring on your walks that would be more interesting then the other people maybe a treat or a squeaky toy that could get their attention. I use high value rewards like hot dogs, cooked chicken, or salmon and I make sure to only use it during recalls. If you use these high value rewards too often then they are no longer high value.

      Another thing I would do is practice setting up your dogs. Work on these behaviors in a controlled environment. Maybe have some friends be out and about on your walk. Have them ignore your dogs if they approach.

      Until your dogs learn that they should not be running off to meet strangers I would keep them on leash during their walks. The reason being is anytime they do run off they are getting rewarded and reinforced learning that they get good stuff when running off to meet strangers which will make it that much more difficult to break the habit.

      Hopefully all of this makes sense and it helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Take care,

  5. lily says

    Hi, I have a 14 months old Labrador and still can’t train him the command “Fetch”. He runs but doesn’t bring thing to me or even brings it but doesn’t want to give it to me. May be there is some dog training device or something to help me? Need some help, please!

    • says

      Hi Lily,

      A few things you might try with your puppy while playing fetch are:

      1. When playing fetch you want your puppy to always return to you. If he does not then he’s learning he does not always have to return to you when playing fetch. What we do to make sure our puppies always return to us is we use a 20 foot long line and attach to our puppy while playing fetch until our pup’s understand the game.
      2. When we first teach our puppy fetch we will sometimes use 2 squeaky toys. First, we toss one toy out for our puppy to fetch. Second, we call our pup’s name and start squeaking the second toy. This often times will get your puppy excited to return and many times when he does return he will drop his first toy in exchange for the second one. If he’s not consistently returning continue to use the long line.
      3. Most Labs love food! You can try using your puppy’s favorite treat to lure them back to you from fetch. This is also a good way to get your pup to drop his toy when he returns as most puppy’s will exchange a toy for a treat.

      Another thing that’s important to work on is teaching your puppy his name by playing the name game. This will help when teaching fetch. Here’s a blog post we wrote on teaching your puppy his name and the name game.

      Hopefully those tips help.

      Good luck with your training!

  6. says

    I just got my first guide dog puppy. His name is Mason we got him from Guide Dogs of America. His letter was held back in next week so we got him at age 9 weeks. He is a yellow lab. My question is this: right now he is 11 weeks he still doesn’t seem to understand the “get busy” command. what can I do to help them learn it?


    • says

      Hi Daniella,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! What group meetings do you attend? We’re in the Orange County GDA group.

      It’s still early for your puppy. I would continue to follow the instructions in your GDA puppy manual and before long he will learn how to “get busy” on command. This is a marathon and not a sprint. You have 15 more months with your puppy. Follow your puppy manual and be patient, persistent, and consistent with your training and your puppy will figure it out before you know it.

      Take care,

  7. joann helms says

    We are getting a new 8 week old Dobrman puppy this weekend and want to crate train him, and have no idea of how to go about it. Do you have any advice and do I need to get a book to help us. Is it too early to start obedience classes with him? You have a great website! Thank you so much, JoAnn & Neal

    • says

      Hi Joann,

      Early congratulations on your new puppy. Here’s a short guide on how to crate train a puppy: I actually included a few links to tips on some of the basics of puppy training in this article. Most information you need for raising and training a puppy can be found on the internet (we try to post as much information as possible to help you right here on our site). However, I would recommend purchasing a book to get you started that you can read through before bringing home your puppy (hopefully someday we’ll have an easy to read book that you can download). When we brought home our first puppy we purchased Puppies for Dummies which was great for getting us started.

      I would recommend getting your puppy enrolled in a puppy kindergarten as early as possible. However, you want to make sure whichever class you attend is safe for your puppy. Your puppy will not be fully vaccinated and will not have a fully developed immune system so you want to make sure any puppy or dog he interacts with is up to date on his/her vaccinations. Before attending any class you should first speak with the dog trainer and make sure he/she requires all puppies and dogs to be up to date on their vaccinations. Puppy classes I’ve attended have required us to bring copies of our vaccination records.

      Hopefully that helps.

      Good luck with your new puppy!

  8. Jeanine says

    I have a 12 wk old Yorkipoo who is sweet,adorable,and smart! He has a favorite toy that came with his moms scent on it and was an only pup born to his momma! No litter mates…is it possible for him to be sexual already as he is humping this toy vigilantly? Also has great days and well behaved then the next day is driving us crazy with his puppy stuff..biting ,scratching, peeing in the house and cries when trying to crate him. We are both so exhausted trying to keep up with him we give in to his cries. This is also my first puppy as I have always had rescue dogs. Guess he is training me ! After 2 weeks of this I am not sure where to go….maybe back to the basics .I so want a well adjusted happy puppy but feel I am failing miserably. I am looking for a class now and plan on a visit to the vet next week to get him examined once again. I am also reading every thing I can get my hands on including your site which I find quite helpful! Also I realize time and patience is a great healer! Should I be concerned about this humping problem ? It seems to get him even more distracted ! Thank you for any advice you may have for me! Jeanine

    • says

      Hi Jeanine,

      Congratulations on your new puppy! The mounting is a normal behavior however, we usually discourage this behavior with our puppies. Here’s some more information on why dogs mount:

      I’m sorry to say, but giving in to his cries when crate training is not a good idea as you are reinforcing that behavior (crying). Always try to take him out of the crate after he has stopped crying. Here’s an article we put together on crate training that might help you:

      Signing him up for a puppy kindergarten class is a great idea it will give you a chance to ask questions and you’ll also find out that everyone else is probably having similar problems to yours. Make surrey you find a dog trainer who requires all puppies to be up to date on their vaccinations.

      Hopefully that helps!

      Good luck with your training,

  9. says

    I’m really excited that I found your blog about dog training. I have a question about my dog, he is an Australian Shepard. He is now 5 years old and dealing with more and more anxiety as he has grown older. We live close to a military base, and they do a lot of loud artillery training. My dog is very bothered by the noises and he will no longer allow me to put him in a room while I’m gone. He tries to turn the doorknob and break out. So, I have had to leave him out in the house when I’m gone, but he gets on my couch to see out a window when I’m not here. Is there anything I can do to help him stop being so anxious? He is now very scared of my washer and dryer running during the day as well. I’m not sure what to do to help him calm down when there are noises he doesn’t like.

    • says

      Hi Angela,

      Thanks for visiting our site. I’m sorry to hear about your Australian Shepherd we have some similar problems with our Aussie mix. A few things that we’ve tried with varying degrees of success are:

      1. Thundershirt
      2. Crate Training
      3. Turning on music/TV to drown out outside noises
      4. Increasing exercise

      You might try one or all of these activities to see if it helps your Aussie. Good luck with your training!


  10. Becca says

    Hi, My dog is not a puppy She is a year and 3 months but I am hoping you can get me some advice. Daisy (my dog) is a Catahoula Leopard Dog/ Australian Shepherd mix. She will bark at new people when they come in the house but sometimes when they have been there for a few minutes and she is fine, but other times she seems tense and nervous the whole time… She has never bitten anyone before, she has just barked but I know not to take any chances. and she also doesn’t like new dogs either… Do you possibly know what could be causing this? I try to exercise her when I can, could it be she isn’t getting enough for her breed and energy level )which is very high). Could she be bored or she wants a job to do because I know some breeds that are working breeds nee to have a job to do… I hope you can help because I got her so she can be my companion dog and travel with me, and I can’t do that if she doesn’t get along with new people or dogs… I want everyone else to see what an amazingly sweet and goofy dog she is! Just in case you wanna see how big she ect she has a facebook page it’s called The Amazing Daisy Duke.


    • says

      Unfortunately it’s difficult to tell what’s going on without actually observing your dogs behavior. I’d recommend getting in touch with a professional dog trainer to observe your dog’s behavior and to help work on her training. Sorry I can’t be much help here. Good luck with your training!

  11. Emily Chen says

    Hi, my dog is a 3-month-old golden retriever., when we take her out for a walk , she keeps on biting on the leash, i pull the leash away, but she is very relentless, when i push her to the ground, she will turn around and bite my hand. when there is food involved, thats the only time she is more submissive. we have tried many methods like ignoring her when she bites but she will just keep on biting us, i am wondering whats your method on training your dogs?? any tips that you can give us?

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