Never in a million years did I think I would be a dog trainer living in Vermont. My family always had dogs when I was growing up but the truth is, they were just family pets to play with and love. We never went to classes and I knew nothing about dog training. Our dogs knew how to beg at the kitchen table so my dad would feed them, but that was pretty much it! In 1990, I was out of college and had been biding my time so I could finally have my own place and get my first puppy. I researched like crazy.. Well, my idea of research was to buy “Simon and Schuster’s Guide To Dogs.” It was about a 200 page paperback book. I went through each page and ripped out all the pages of dogs that I didn’t think would work for me. The one page I kept going back to was the Akita. There was something about the breed that attracted me. I loved the look and knew I had to have one. I drove everyone around me crazy because getting a puppy was all I could talk about.

As I started talking to friends and other dog people, I was strongly advised NOT to get an Akita. I was told how aggressive they can be towards people and dogs and that it was really the last thing I wanted. The more people tried to steer me away, the more I wanted one. I was determined. I started researching breeders and starting to visit Akita puppies. I was in love, but was still cautioned that if I was going to get an Akita, then I better get myself into a great dog training program because this dog was going to need some serious training and I needed to start immediately teaching him that I was the boss!

On May 11th, 1991, I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom by taking her to a kennel to see some Akita puppies. A great mother’s day present huh? While we were visiting all the dogs, unbeknownst to me, Jacob was in the process of entering the world in another room. The universe was at work and had a plan for me. I just didn’t know it yet. A few weeks later his breeder contacted me and said that because he was going to be a “long coat” A Akita she was going to put him up for adoption. Did I want him? She sent me a photo of him and the very instant I saw it, my heart melted in a way I never knew it could and my life changed forever.

In preparation for Jake’s arrival home, I started investigating dog training programs and was lucky enough to be put in touch with Jen Kesner of Canine Consulting in Rowley, Massachusetts. I was so worried about having the perfect dog and not making any mistakes that I scheduled private consultations with her pretty much upon Jake’s arrival home. I was obsessed with doing everything right.

To make a long story short, Jake and I went through every class Jen offered. I clung to her after classes and asked her questions. I showed up at classes we weren’t even taking and just watched what she did. Every free waking moment I had was pretty much spent at her training center or at her house. You see, from the very first night of our first puppy class, I knew that this was something I wanted to do.

Jen took me under her wing and started to foster my skills. When there were no more classes for us to take she suggested I apprentice with her. For weeks and months on end we worked together, along with the rest of the Canine Consulting Team. In my free time, I went to every training seminar and lecture I could possibly make it to. For four years, I attended Camp Gone To The Dogs, which brought together many of the top dog trainers in the country and I used all of them as resources for my continuing education.

When Jen felt I was ready, she started offering me classes to teach and I really found my calling. The rest is history. I taught for Jen for over ten years until deciding to relocate to Vermont and being my own dog training business. I’ve been in Vermont since 2002 and every day I am so thankful for being able to do what I do. The credit really goes to Jake. I think he chose me to lead me into this world of dog training and to teach me to be able to see things from his perspective. He was a masterful teacher.

Bill Grant has been a dog trainer for 21 years. He currently resides in southern Vermont with his partner and 7 Akitas; He teaches locally in Southern Vermont, at the Central Vermont Humane Society in Montpelier, Vermont and at The Crate Escape in Richmond, Vermont and The Crate Escape, Too! In South Burlington, Vermont. He also consults privately with dog owners, rescue organizations, breed clubs and Veterinary practices in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Bill has been involved in Canine Therapy Work and has a number training articles published. He has consulted with a variety of local and national rescue associations, and is a member of the the Akita Club of America, Inc. and an active participant in the Canine Good Citizen program


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