I am absolutely loving the application of the puppy training material with my current puppy.

I’ve come to consider him like a ball of clay that I work a bit each session. At the end of the session, he may not look that different. But if I back up to a week or two prior, he is starting to take shape – and will eventually be the masterpiece I’m focused on building.

I came in the other night and told my wife “PJ thinks every day is just like the day before” -quoting Bill’s comments in the DVD.

My wife said “No that’s wrong.”…which caught me off guard. She then said “PJ thinks every day is better than the day before!”

And she was right!


Chris Atkinson

I have been waiting for a DVD like this for years. “Art & Science of Raising a Puppy” I will stake my 50 years as a breeder, that if you follow this information you can have real success. This is the gospel – an excellent video – all you have to do is follow it.

Mary Howley

Candlewood Kennels

“Training a Retriever Puppy” is the one and only DVD to get! We recommend it to all our clients and friends who are thinking about getting a puppy. We recommend it before they get their puppy, to watch it and study it. This has given our puppies a head start towards reaching their potential, no matter what direction they want their puppy to go.

Lyle Steinman

Castile Creek Kennels

I own most of your videos.
I am an amateur and training my first dog through the AKC. She has never had a bad day! The gentle soft collar approach has been amazingly effective. We are in master level training and she routinely outshines professionally trained dogs and others much older. She is 22 months old. I sound like I am bragging but I give credit to your material first and foremost. Dave Rorum, Dennis Voight, Jim Dobbs, and Chris Akin are other influences, but the trust factor and respect for the dog was drilled into me by Bill. It is a beautiful thing in contrast to the ruthless collar training I see so often. The sky is the limit when the foundation is laid properly. Training alone is also a huge advantage when the basics are instilled. She loves drills when she gets her excitement reward. Can’t thank you both enough. On to the next level. I already picked up a pearl in the holding blind segment of the “Advanced Retriever Training” online video.
Mickey Lathem

Mickey Lathem

Dear Mary, I found the puppy retriever video to be the most inspirational puppy retriever training video I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. Trust me. I’ve seen quite a few. I think Bill’s out of the box approach sets the standard for where puppies can be at 5 ½ months. I could feel the intense drive that Bill got out of his dog Nick through the series of simple repetitive drills, constant praise, and sincere passion.

John Cole

I ordered Bill’s puppy videos a few weeks ago, and I’ve been nothing less than impressed. I’ve watched other (trainers’) videos, and what stands out to me is the difference in attitude of the dogs. Other trainers try to make a point to the viewer that the dog is wagging its tail and is happy (with ears dropped back and a tentative wagging at best). Bill’s dogs are HAPPY doing their job, and it shows. By the way…my favorite part of the video was the bird intro cameo appearance by Dennis. I think he actually helped Chuck muster up the courage to get the bird! Looking forward to the next videos!
I first found Bill’s videos on YouTube and then I subscribed to his blog. While doing quite a bit of research over the last few months, I kept seeing his name pop up, (particularly in reference to his puppy videos), with endorsements from Dennis Voigt, Mike Lardy and Mary Howley. I decided that if these three people like the videos, I should too. My new little girl will be coming home in a few weeks (end of June), and I cannot wait! Thanks Bill, for all you do!     ~ Corey Bruss

Corey Bruss

We used Bill’s retriever puppy program with our little Boykin puppy named Gracie. We even have a video of her watching with fascination the training DVD. At the age of 7 months we sent her to Phil Hinchman for force fetch and ecollar training. He told us that she was so easy to train because we had laid the groundwork so well with Bill’s program. In addition to her natural quartering and flushing skills, she is a little retrieving fool. There is nothing she likes to do better. She has earned her HRC Started title, and has one pass for Seasoned at age 18 months. I know that isn’t unusual, but when you consider the fact that we didn’t even have any exposure to retriever training and had never gone to a hunt test until Grace was a puppy, I think we have done pretty well.
An area Lab trainer watched Grace run at a hunt test and exclaimed,”Now, that’s what I like to see! A dog who loves doing what she was born to do!  She is a true joy to watch!”
When our breeder, Larry Hinchman, heard that story, he just chuckled and said, “I breed my Boykins carefully for natural hunting ability, but it was your work using Bill Hillmann’s puppy program that turned her into this retrieving machine.”
Sincerely, Pat Downey

Patricia Downey

It seems like you and Bill have done a great job with these DVDs!  I have watched the art and science DVD for the first time and will be watching it again, as well as training a retriever puppy when it arrives. I love Bills teaching methods and they all seem straight forward. My intention has always been to get my puppy well rounded and ready to go off to school at 6 months. After watching some of Bills teaching, it has me wondering…can I do this myself  (with the Hillmann’s help of course).  I always assumed that I didn’t have the training or time to be able to teach a dog at such a high level but it really seems possible with Bills techniques.  Also, with the importance that I feel about forming a relationship with your dog, it makes me nervous to send her off to “school” for months. I don’t want to lose any bond with her and her form a bond with the trainers that I feel can only be had by working together.  Not only would I be the one teaching and bonding with her, but I could alway have the DVDs for reference and they would only cost roughly what one month of training would be.
God Bless and Thanks so much!

Derek Davis

Hello Bill and Mary, Just a note to say that I feel your videos are the Best in the business. I have trained for over 35 yrs, and breeding British Labs.

We now require all our client to purchase the puppy video when buying a pup. I feel this is the best possible way to insure that they have a good understanding of Balance.

“The Art & Science of Raising a Puppy” has been a long time coming … and who better to do the teaching. I admit … I am from the old school: your videos have changed my approach to all my training philosophies.

This has been a God send for me and my staff.

Jim Sawyers

I first purchased your puppy DVD and thought it was a little costly until I watched it! Mr. Hillmann offers so much more than just dog training.

He makes training fun again. You can’t put a price on quality … wonderful thoughts and wonderful ideas. The only regret I have is I didn’t have your product earlier in my life. It’s so nice to see a different way to peel an apple and you are very very good at it.

Richard Poulsen

thunder puppy seminar 2014-2

Bill and Mary,

My name is Dave Frankel.  I am a member of the Bryan College Station Retriever Club.  Myself along with several of our members attended your “training your retriever puppy” seminar in the winter of 2014 in Caldwell, Texas.  Your seminar was very informative to me.  I had already been using your DVDs and had Thunder progressing along very nicely.  The amazing part is that at 6 months old when I sent him off to his pro, Tru-Line Retrievers, in Jefferson, OR,  they were already extremely impressed with him the first two days they had him.    Long story short…..he was progessing so well that they competed him in his first Derby at 10 months.   He finished his Derby career with 18 Derby Points and even more icing on the cake, at 23 months old he won his first Qualifying and has competed in 12 more Qualifyings finishing 10 of 13 trials with 6 placements and 4 jams.   We are going to continue to run him in the Qual thru the summer to let him get more mature and more experience before entering the Open this Fall.

My family and I are flying out to Oregon tomorrow to spend a week out there training with Thunder and spending quality time with him.  

Enclosed are two photos.  One of Thunder and I at your seminar and one of Thunder after he won his Qual.

There is no doubt that using your DVDs and seminar that we attended were instrumental to where Thunder is today at only 2 1/2 years old.

Thanks and hope this finds you and your family well.  God Bless!!DSCN1647-2

Dave Frankel
College Station, TX 

David Frankel

The Retriever puppy video is fantastic! I had never before in 15 years of training taught a puppy this young to be steady. To my surprise, within weeks, my puppy was completely steady and I was able to do stand alone throws from over 40 yds. I now recommend Bill’s DVD to all of my clients as I am confident that it teaches owners how to get the best start for their retrievers.

Jennifer Broome

Quinebaug Kennels

I cannot say enough good about “The Art & Science of Raising a Puppy” DVD. My wish would be to have everyone that thinks of a puppy getting this video. NO more dogs in shelters! Thanks for putting this one out there!!!

Sandy Dollar

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Mary,  My husband and I think that everything Bill does it fantastic! We bought the puppy dvd at the recommendation of the guy we bought River, our golden retriever from. My husband followed it with the pup and as a result River has really nice manners and a super solid sit. We were sort of like well, that’s pretty simple but as we got further along we were like “wow” that works!! They were struggling a little with “hold” but because of one of Bill’s videos I took the suggestions back to my husband and they worked through it with no fuss! We have hunted a lot but my husband’s expectations were always very simple… get the duck and get back in the boat as fast as you can with very little training. On a whim, I decided to enter our older dog in a Junior hunt test last October. I have since learned it’s WAY harder than it looks 😉 The dog understands the work but is just so OVER the top I have had a hard time doing much with him. Now that we are working, working, working on these gun dog skills he is starting to become more manageable. I don’t have a “mentor” and I really struggle with the culture which is so much different from what I am  used to in the agility world! I love how Bill is conscious of your relationship with and how you treat the dog! The you tube series that he had available were a big help to me when I finally decided to use an e-collar. I really feel okay about it now that I have listened to Bill’s videos and see how he applies it. I know I am just scratching the surface of what it is all about and there are still huge holes in my knowledge, but thanks to the materials you have made available we are able to continue to improve in a way that is acceptable to me. I am not a fan of the “break them down and build them back up” theory. Bill’s stuff gives me hope that I can do this. I would LOVE to attend one of his seminars one day. Have a great day! Beth


Beth Harrison

Hi Mary! I cannot tell you enough how much I LOVE Bill’s methods. Thanks to the “Traffic Cop” DVD my 8 mo old flatcoat puppy has better line manners than many of the older dogs in our training group. Your DVD series has made a huge difference!

Diana Martin-Gruenler

I feel personally that the puppy video is the best retriever training video I’ve ever seen… especially the fact there is no off camera training … This is what so many people need, but haven’t been able to find. There is a wealth of information in this video.

Tim Harris

Bill/Mary,  Can’t say enough about the training videos.  My experience with the DVDs – Puppy, Traffic Cop, and Fetch Command have all been with great response from the student/pup. I find the approach that Bill uses refreshing to methods of old, which some have most likely have out lived there time.  While not a complete stranger to the experience of training, the tapes give light to the points of teaching with positive reinforcement and keeping great balance day to day, so not to loose the drive and excitement that all is looking for.   Don’t test for failure, teach with excitement – -.  The tapes give great reminder to this, along with many other simple but important training points .

Ken Murray

I focused mostly on traffic cop and homeplate drills via your Training a Retriever Puppy DVD in the small confines of NYC, and recently took my dog to 6 weeks of training.  The trainer commented that we had a huge head start on obedience and a dog with drive as a result of our work.  Thank you for the advice and these videos!

Nick Barnard

Bill and Mary, I think you have really changed the way the retriever community trains. I always knew there was a better way to start dogs than what was being done in the past. Your accomplishments in the field trials world have opened a lot of people’s eyes to what is in my opinion a better training method.

Dustin Pate


I enjoy your video series very much. I am a avid field trailer. I have an FC out of Cosmo and a pup out of my dog, I know you understand Cosmo pups. I wish I had ordered your video and started watching your emails earlier in this last pups life. He doesn’t hurt for desire and punch on long water marks. Line manners is another matter. Lol  I look forward to my next pup and using your methods for training a pup and started dog. I have a friend that did and have seen the proof. I guess sometimes genetics take over.  And thank you for the Bible verse.      Sincerely Jim Byrd


Jim Byrd

Several times on the DVD you made the comment that the pup is learning many things and “he doesn’t even know it.” How true that statement is. I would never have dreamed of introducing so many things at such a young age in the past. YOUR PROGRAM WORKS.

Dick Andrews

Wow!! I first learned of the DVDs on RTF and heard nothing but good reviews. My pup is 8 mo old, and is probably farther along than any dog I have ever trained, and it was easier on me and her. There are many on RTF that are looking for newer ways and even though other methods work I believe Bill has a better way.

Barry McLain

Finally……we have a video for all breeds. And it is great, and long over due. Even though we breed and train British Labs, training all breeds is a large segment of our over all business.

We have learned over the last few years that training the dog is not enough…….we must educate our owners. I think that many trainers look at much of what we do as common sense. My clients have been quick to correct me!! They need the hands on as well as a reference to follow. The video, “The Art and Science of Raising a Puppy,” certainly fits that need. We introduce this to all of our new clients as well as vets that recommend us for training. I feel strongly that this is the best video of its kind. Thanks Bill and Mary for helping all of us!!

Jim Sawyers

I first found Bill’s videos on YouTube and then I subscribed to his blog. While doing quite a bit of research over the last few months, I kept seeing his name pop up, (particularly in reference to his puppy videos), with endorsements from Dennis Voigt, Mike Lardy and Mary Howley. I decided that if these three people like the videos, I should too. My new little girl will be coming home in a few weeks (end of June), and I cannot wait!     Thanks Bill, for all you do!

Corey Bruss

I am convinced that after watching Bill’s video that there would be far fewer washouts in the retriever world if people followed Bill’s DVD to the letter.

Tim West

Hi Bill & Mary, Your videos are not only appreciated by dog owners but also by the dogs! I highly recommend them to anyone that wants to train their own dog.

Susan Pilkerton

Bill & Mary, A few sentences could not cover what a difference your video has made in my training. I have fully endorsed your program and as a full time pro retriever trainer I tell every client and potential client if you want a head start and make your dog all it can be – to get your program. It is by far the best money spent for any retriever owner.

Bill St. Clair

Thank you, Mary. The Art & Science of Raising a Puppy was an incredibly informative video for me a first time dog owner and trainer. I believe it helped lay the foundation for a great bond with my pup, Otis. Training a Retriever Puppy helped my dog have a successful first hunting season by training him to be steady while instilling his desire and passion to retrieve. I have a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, which would not normally have the same desire as a lab, but with Bill’s videos, Otis has an excitement every time we make it out to the training field or hunting blind.  Thanks,   Matt 

Matthew Boley

I feel Bill’s puppy training video is a very fair and humane example of how to properly develop a retriever puppy. Taking in young dogs that have followed Bill’s program is making my job a lot easier & resulting in faster and better progression.

Tim Springer

Dynamic Retrievers

Hi Mary, Found the DVD in my mailbox this evening and just finished watching it. In a word: Revolutionary.

Kit McClurg

Bill, I want to thank you for introducing a “new school” way to train a lab without harsh punishment methods (the “old school”). I have a wonderful family dog that responds in the field like a dream. Have been wanting to write and thank you for some time, I really appreciate your instruction, it is absolutely the best.


The Bill Hillmann DVDs are a fantastic step by step method that walks you toward gaining that training success. I recommend these DVD to all of my puppy customers.

Karen Gilbert

Oh gosh, Bill’s DVDs are very detailed with real time action. So much of the time the trainer shows a dog that does everything perfectly without showing the progression and the mistakes. I like Bill’s approach because he not rough like so many trainers. And his emphasis of making it fun for your dog. I found myself being much too serious, we weren’t moving ahead and I couldn’t figure out why.

Stacey D.

We co-own an 11 month old lab.  We have been having some issues with force fetching her and someone recommended “Bill Hillmann’s DVD’s” .  So, we checked out the website to see what DVD’s he had, watched the youtube videos and we both said “This is exactly what we want and what we need.” After watching the Fetch Command DVD, our pup is doing so much better.  This method works for us!  Thank you, Mary, and Bill for all of your help!!!

Kathy Roberts

I’m a good friend of Steve Biggers, in fact he got me into dog training.  When he suggested I look at Bill’s DVD and told me he was incorporating Bill’s methods, I listened.  I started a new puppy last year and used Bill’s DVD and I’ve been amazed at how smoothly things have gone.  I’ve been training dogs and running hunt test for about 14 years now and I started my professional kennel a little over 4 years ago.  After having seen how smoothly things went with my last pup, I’ve been telling everyone that contacts me to use Bill’s DVD whether they bring the dog to me or not.  I found the DVD very simple to understand for a lay person.  I’ve known for years that a lot can be taught to a young pup but I’m always hesitant to suggest pushing a youngster to most new puppy owners, but now I know that your DVD has the guidelines that people need to start a dog young and do it the right way.


I am thoroughly impressed with Bill’s approach to training.  His calm, thoughtful, humane and caring demeanor, coupled with an awareness of the needs and nuances of individual pups are amazing.  He has had a profound effect on how I now view the proper way to approach puppy training.  My initial training as a trainer were from the old school trainers who were often very tough on dogs and lacked the patience to develop a dog that could have flourished instead of being washed out.  I never completely adopted those methods and altered them substantially, but Bill’s approach has made me tackle the task of bringing on a new pup in a significantly different light.

I have had the opportunity to train and learn from some of the great trainers.  I would rate Bill as one of the ground-breakers in getting unbelievable results utilizing a much gentler and thoughtful approach.

I am working with my first CBR and Bill’s philosophy and what I have learned from the puppy video have been instrumental in moving forward with his training with a fantastic attitude and an eagerness to learn.

Gary Durr

Bill Hillmann ‘s entire approach with a puppy is getting them to do what you want not making them do what you want. It’s his approach that makes the program special. He molds the heeling behavior over a few weeks not even trying to get the dog to walk at heel in the beginning. He uses this same approach in teaching hold.

If all you want is for a dog to walk at heel, there are probably 100s of ways to achieve it. But if you want a dog like the ones that Bill ends up with, I’d do what Bill does.

Glen Guider

The “Art & Science of Raising a Puppy” arrived yesterday.  And it’s ironic that I received my Purina Pro Club magazine with an article on socializing puppies.   Your video will be the very best thing for puppy buyers the day they come to pick up their new babies.  So many people have no idea how to begin – and then allow the puppy to get out of control, or develop fears from simply not knowing how to handle the situation.

Bill your kind, soft voice is reassuring not only to puppies, but to people as well.  It encourages them to listen and try the things you present.  We have a litter (three-peat) due the end of the month. The first two breedings produced extremely talented dogs.  But having this material for buyers of this litter will make them even better.  It will have them totally prepared for the time they come back to us for formal training.  I cannot begin to thank you enough for how much easier my job has become when my puppy customers use your DVD to start their pups.  Granted – some people have a better feel for timing, voice inflection, emotion, etc.. but for the most part it has paid off immeasurably.

Glenda Mitchell

What I can tell you about your puppy video is no different than what you are hearing time and time again. It truly is a breath of fresh air! It flat out works and creates an incredible bond between dog and man. In the past I would say I would have tended to be more in the camp of heavy handed and very consequence based discipline camp. Since January I would say the number of times I have raised my voice at this young pup has been less than 5 and never while we were actually training! That would have been unheard of for me in the past. My wife and kids all say, “Boy have you changed since Dude!” My current 12 yo male yellow lab, “Dude” is a testament to my old training. While he has been a great dog, I always felt something was missing and I truly believe it was being too hard on him early on. I wish I would have had this method for him as I believe it would have made him that much better.

Rainy, our female golden is coming up on 7 months. She has done outstanding under the program and certainly is the most obedient pup other than maybe my first lab at this age. She has desire and enthusiasm which has grown stronger under the program. Currently, my main focus is CC fetch and I did want to see that DVD to make sure I get it perfected. Obviously we are working on multitude of other things and reinforcing the basics constantly. I love sit, sit, sit! It is the bedrock of what I need in a working waterfowl dog. I can’t believe how easy it is!

Jerrod A. Shermoen

I thank you. I would like for you to know that I have read and watched several puppy videos over the past few years. I have applied their methods in training and have been successful. But what I have observed in comparing “finished products” (dog that have completed basics) is a dog when trained using the methods you teach is a more solid dog, a dog that is more in tune with the handler/owner. It was becoming apparent to me that when dealing with the competitive high bred dogs we compete with, your method was the best fit. So with that being said when I purchased a new puppy I invested in your program. I can honestly say that I feel that your puppy program is the best puppy program on the market. Not saying that others aren’t good, yours is just the best. The type of relationship you encourage between pup and owner and your infuses on sit at such a young age, I believe is what is the difference in “finished products” that I’ve seen. Also the in-depth detail you give such as how to potty train, crate train etc. and how you go about doing those things is not something I have seen in other programs. I feel that when competing it’s all about the “edge” and paying attention to every detail and your program does just that. You do a great job of explaining why paying attrition to detail at a young age it so important. So I think you for taking the time to share your knowledge with others. It has been a great benefit to myself and many others.

Justin David

Bill’s DVD seems like the route everyone/everything is pointing but I am just struggling with the price tag of his DVD.  I just can’t imagine a DVD being worth $150.  Are his dvds truly worth $150?
RESPONSE:  Yes. Equivalent $ to about 1 week of professional training. If you follow Bill’s puppy DVD you will end up with a 6 month old puppy that is steady, obedient, doing significant singles in the field and multiples in the yard, and delivering to hand. As important, you will have an understanding of what balance in retriever training is all about. This will serve you well throughout the dog’s advanced training plus beyond the dogs, Bill is talking to you.

On the forum

I really support the messages you emphasize in your Raising a Puppy DVD!  With bonding, trust, respect, and a good relationship anything is possible!

Thank you also for your Training a Retriever Puppy, Land, and  Water Fundamentals DVDs.  Two years ago I kept a female Flat-Coated Retriever from a litter I bred…. her name is Zephyr.  I followed your DVDs for all of her field training… I’ve never had so much fun training a puppy!  And… she loves the game, is a great marker and handles very well.  On this road trip Zephyr earned her AKC Senior Hunter title (ribbons earned in California, Missouri, Alabama and Nevada!) and her Working Certificate Excellent title… all with a wagging tail, wonderful line manners and excellent work!

Judy Teskey

When another says they can’t imagine a DVD being work $150 I tell them

to think of it like this: It is equivalent $ to about 1 week of professional training. If you follow Bill’s puppy DVD you will end up with a 6 month old puppy that is steady, obedient, doing significant singles in the field and multiples in the yard, and delivering to hand. As important, you will have an understanding of what balance in retriever training is all about. This will serve you well throughout the dog’s advanced training … and beyond the dogs, Bill is talking to you.

Please relay to Bill that the videos and internet posts have been a huge blessing.  I have had the opportunity to train 7 labs over the years.  All have been hunting dogs. I have received a Sr hunt test title on one and a Jr title on another this spring.  I have hopes of training many more dogs..  Your soft collar technique is working very well.  also the make it fun and play the game has helped a lot.


“The Art & Science of Raising a Puppy” is packed with information about how to end up with the dog of your dreams. As a veterinarian I deal each day with countless issues associated with behavioral problems, bad manners etc. most of which could have been prevented with proper upbringing right from the start. Every breeder wants their puppies to be successful and we are all excited about this new DVD.

Mary Tatum

Labrador Retrievers & Golden Retrievers/Watermark Retrievers

I feel personally that the puppy video is the best retriever training video I’ve ever seen… especially the fact there is no off camera training … This is what so many people need, but haven’t been able to find. There is a wealth of information in this video.

Nick Barnard