Accreditation of You and Your Facility: The International Boarding and Pet Services Association (IBPSA) is one accreditation organization that offers training, education, and current information of everything that has to do with the industry of pets. They offer best practices and strategies for traditional and nontraditional pet services. They focus on the knowledge that expert training in all areas will gain the owner the most profit. Offering practical support in running a business as well as being pet focused, reducing risk and improving profit, they offer a well-balanced and experienced team of professionals from various backgrounds who develop programs that help the owner of any facility find success.
To put up the logo of IBPSA accreditation, is definitely a stamp of approval from the pet industry. As a member, you must agree to their Code of Conduct which applies all federal, state, and local rules and laws, and the regulations of counties in which you are located. They stand on the principals of honesty, fairness, respect for customer, workers, and pets, and a continual education and improvement in services. This organization also offers information for consumers to assist them in choosing a center that is right for them.
The IBPSA offers training in hiring, education and training of employees, helping you to develop systemized jobs and performance-based compensation, set prices, engaging communication with staff, customers and community, and how to keep a fun and safe environment. Their standards address marketing, emergency procedures, employee training that requires a continuous 4 hours minimal training per year. The IBPSA also advocates for the pet industry at all levels.
Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center (OPCLC) is another professional organization that supports pet care centers and offers certification through their learning classes. They work to market and advertise your center besides offer training. In both your marketing and your care of dogs, having several certifications can be the difference in having a top notch facility and excellent employees and failing.
Other associations that offer classes are the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Pet Sitters International, National Dog Groomers Association, and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. All accredited training requires recertification at much lower fees during the following 3-5 years. The cost of taking classes varies widely so shop around. Most of these specific certifications are on-line courses and workshops so you might be able to have more than one employee take them together.
Both the International Boarding and Pet Services Association and The Outstanding Pet Care Learning Center offer memberships. With those memberships you get reduced fees for your employees. Another method for education and attaining accreditation is through local community colleges. Your employees could gain their certification, earn raises and continue toward a vet assistant degree. In order to maintain a top facility, it will be important that you work with your staff to get and keep up on needed training and education. You might just want to purchase a set of training videos like the ones Robin Bennett, a pet professional trainer makes. These come with workbooks that can be reordered when you are out. Check with your local fire stations and police stations for training in safety, health, and emergency care. There are some places who offer it free and reward participants with certification.
The more evidence of an educated staff, the more confidence your customers will have with your facility. It will also decrease mistakes, accidents, and problems. You might even offer your facility as a community pet care training facility or to train and certify workers in other facilities around town. You might even get a local vet to give free classes. There are many ways to validate what your business does in the community and create respect, trust and credibility with people living there. These things will also affect your ability to increase your profits, which is necessary to keep up with rising costs and employee raises.
Dog Training and Accreditation for Employees: There are many skills and knowledge that all employees should know. If you are going to be a facility where all employees work together to do all jobs, you will cross train managers, walkers, dog yard play employees, trainers, clean-up crew, and customer service. But here are some of the specific duties all employees must know and understand.
- Professional Leadership qualities for management of projects, customer service, technology, and observation that the business objectives are being met.
- Supervision of employees over weekends and fill in for other employees. Help improve employee and customer relations.
- Stay alert to needed problems, changes, or improvements that might be made. Do some training, monitoring performance, and mentoring new employees, plus helping to recognize success of individual staff members.
- Participate in new employee interviews, manage schedules, ensure coverage of all positions, and evaluate dog behavior as they come and go.
- Examine need for more training, develop or run events.
- Pay attention to needed repairs and supply stock
- Organized and independent
- Confident in dog handling skills
- Able to physically move around
- Understand dog behavior
- Engage dogs in play
- Calm aggressive behaviors
- Keep dogs safe and environment healthy
- Organized with equipment and punctual
- Maintain Professionalism and Customer service
- Communicate effectively
- Skilled with Technology
- Organized and independent
- Able to schedule
- Knowledge of marketing
- Know about the Health and Safety for dogs
- Understand Dog behaviors
- Understand various positive methods for training including clicker training
- Be professional, calm, and friendly
- Know and understand dog behavior
- Be certified as a trainer
- Demonstration of a care about the dogs and the owner's requests
- Know health and safety of dogs
- Demonstrate Professional with customers
- Develop customer relationships
- Knowledge of cleanliness and health and safety of dogs
- Able to sanitize and maintain bath area
- Communicate effectively
- Understand Dog Behaviors
- Understand Scheduling
- Be Responsible, Independent, and punctual
- Have training
- Be professional and punctual
- Have knowledge of correct grooming techniques and methods
- Have certification
- Communicate well
- Develop customer relationships
- Maintains supplies
A Credible Facility: Dog day care facilities require high level cleaning maintenance up-keep. For a consumer to let their dog stay at your center, they will expect that it will be a pleasant experience for them and their dogs. It should not smell of urine or feces or scent that tries to cover it up. It should smell and be clean. The cleaning supplies should be healthy for animals and the environment. A full scale facility will seek to meet all the needs of the dog owner, for example, overnight care, weekend care, a supply of food and other items a dog owner could pick up making your facility a convenient place to be. You should offer grooming, baths, and training.
Your facility should have schedules that are followed and posted and follow health and safety rules. You must be flexible with customers and their dogs but not to the point of causing harm. Know about dog illnesses and prevent them from happening in your center. Make sure you go through an interview process with the dog and owner before taking them in. Require health certifications and vaccination reports. Customers will appreciate your protection of their dog's health. Have some requirements to allow a new dog some time to get used to your facility and employees before starting full time.
Your facility should have space for dogs to be alone, to play outdoors, to play indoors and equipment to keep the facility clean. The materials used as well as supplies should be clean and safe for dogs. Dogs must be allowed to eliminate outdoors and you must have a method to clean them as needed before they enter the inside area where their food, water and blankets or bed are. There needs to be a washer and dryer, changes of clothes for employees, hand washing stations and a safe place for medications dogs may have to take. The center will need an isolation room or two that is also connect to the out of doors for dogs that are sick or get ill during the day.
Supervision ratios of workers to dogs needs to be manageable. Central air and heat flow has to be managed to keep the area healthy. Make sure you install fire alarms, know emergency procedures and designate a place you will take the dogs in case an evacuation is necessary. Keep the yard and fencing in good repair.
Many older dogs are unable to climb stairs. Make accommodations. Dental disease can increase when dogs age causing pain and weight loss. Maintain brushing your dog's teeth and keep them clean.
Spend time with your older dogs. They value you as much as you value them.
Summary: Preparing a dog day care facility and your employees to open is a huge task. Preparing the area to work well, be organized, and well managed comes first. Then you have to find the right employees that will fit your standards, be willing to work and train for raises and bonuses, and demonstrate exceptional skills with dogs and customer service.
Developing a center that is accredited by professional organizations, licensed as necessary for your location, set up to function efficiently and offer various services and products will be the next focus after preparation of the facility and getting the right employees. If you are going to be successful, you must offer a quality product. You will develop package deals for reasonable fees that bring income into the future. You will offer trending items and training that your customers are reading about on the internet and you will develop a web site that is interactive where the customer can schedule his dog for any service, can make purchases, and find links to all things dog. Be THE website they go to on a regular basis. Do special write-ups on their dogs and them. Keep everyone involved.
If you look at the overall picture, your dog day care consists of three parts. There is the physical plant - it's services and goods for sell, the workers and their training, and the relationship with the customers both human and dog. Everything you do will fit under one of those headings. If one part falls apart, the rest will fall apart. They will build each other up and take each other down. Where one goes, if not stopped, the others will follow. It is the owners job to make sure each part of the dog day care is working alone and in tune with the others. The owner's job is to pay attention to any small bump that needs to be ironed out to keep the ship sailing smoothly.
Observation, communication, asking questions, being there and staying aware will keep you abreast of issues before they start to unravel the effectiveness of the center. Getting your staff to have a team attitude from the beginning is crucial. They should support each other, know each other's jobs and understand that they may have to step into another's shoes at any time. It will take good attitudes from all employees to make the business work. Employees should be rewarded well for good performance that helps you continue to profit. It will help retain them for the long haul, and keep them continually putting their best paw forward.