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 when his breeder sent me the first photo of him, my heart melted and my life changed forever. I had researched dog training extensively 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. 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 open 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.
I’ve spent much of my life helping dog owners develop positive, loving relationships with their canine companions. I try my best to train people to work with their dogs in ways that encourage a partnership that lasts for life.
Often, when people first contact me, they want to know, “What methods do you use,?” “Are you positive based or negative based?”
The truth is, if every dog were to learn the same way, they would just come accompanied by a
book of instructions and no one would need a dog trainer. I think that every animal I meet needs to be seen as its own unique personality, possibly requiring a training approach that is specific to that animal.
When I meet a new dog, whether it’s in a class or privately, I attempt to do two things… First, I try to figure out what the dog needs to be successful and then I try to gather information from the owners about what they need to be successful as well. I then tailor my approach based on how I think the owner is best capable of giving the dog what he or she needs in a way that’s easy and fun and yes, POSITIVE!
Primarily using lots of positive reinforcement, I help students explore how dogs think, thus unlocking the possibilities for effective communication and learning. I believe that many of today’s training issues are a result of “miscommunications” between human and dog. As these lines of communication are opened in a series of easy steps, many issues cease to exist. I try to make my classes upbeat and fun for dogs and entire families.
To me, dog training is a family process and all members are encouraged to participate. I focus on teaching patience and consistency that creates an environment that will allow dogs to flourish and become a welcome addition to the household.
CARE AND COMPASSION
Bill Grant has been working with dogs and their families since 1991. 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 Williston, Vermont. He also consults privately with dog owners, rescue organizations, breed clubs and Veterinary practices in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Bill has was active in showing Akitas for over 10 years, and had a well recognized breeding program. He bred multiple Champion titled dogs and was the Vice President of the Squakheag Akita Club for several years.
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 an active participant in the Canine Good Citizen program