The Reality of Working at a Doggy Day Care
June 14, 2022
Hey guys, my name is Brianna Boen and I have been working at the Barker Lounge, a doggy day care in East Brunswick, for about a year now. Growing up, I’ve always been accompanied by dogs and currently have a German Shepherd, Goldendoodle and a Shichon mix. They have definitely given me a lot of comfort and love, which is why I love them so much. I started working at the Barker Lounge because I figured I knew what I was getting myself into, being surrounded by dogs my whole life. However, working there has definitely changed my perspective on taking care and training dogs. A lot of people (including myself), had started at the doggy day care believing it would be easy and solely involve playing with the dogs all day when it’s actually the complete opposite. We have to make their meals and necessary medication, clean the playrooms, maintain a strong leadership role with the dogs to prevent any possible fights, wash their beds and water bowls, and so much more. My blogs give an insight of the reality of working at a doggy day care and what I’ve learned thus far from being an employee at the Barker Lounge. I’ve also made a quiz that tells you what type of dog you are from the lounge. I hope you enjoy!!
Which Dog From the Barker Lounge are you?
The Barker Lounge has tons of different personalities that walk through the door. With over 35 dogs from the Barker Lounge in this quiz, find out which one of those dogs you are! I mean, is there anything better than being a dog?
A Day in the Life at a Doggy Day Care
An inside scoop of a day at the lounge and how certain tasks work!
How my understanding of dog behavior has changed from when I first started working at the lounge compared to now.
About a year ago, I vividly remember driving past the doggy day care when my mom says, “Hey Bri, you should totally apply!” And yes, dogs were “my thing”… in a comfort aspect. I loved to play with them and reciprocate the good company they’ve always provided me with. However, I didn’t quite understand their logic, or more specifically, how their minds work and what causes them to make certain decisions until I started working at the Barker Lounge. Spending 6 hour shifts with a big group of dogs allowed me to observe their behaviors up close and personal.
I remember one of my best friends, Emma, applied to the doggy daycare before I even knew about it. She went into her first shift, cried, and after told them she wouldn’t want a position working there. When she ranted to me about it, I thought to myself, “what could be so hard about working with dogs?” I continued to have this mindset entering my first shift, until I walked into a group of noisy barking and high energy play.
My mind immediately felt like it was being pulled in fifty different directions and I couldn’t make it stop. Why were they behaving this way? Why are they so loud? I started to feel overwhelmed and this continued for the rest of my shift. I drove home that day feeling defeated, but I knew, somehow, it would get easier. Trying new things always does with practice.
As I continued to work at the Barker Lounge, my managers helped me improve to maintain a calm group.
“Stop worrying about every little thing they’re doing” and “don’t talk to the dogs unless you are rewarding them for good behavior” my manager would tell me. If I don’t put trust in the dogs, this makes them anxious and insecure. Noise is also the biggest stressor for dogs. Remaining calm in a group of dogs is just something we had to figure out ourselves.
I’ve always wondered what owning a dog is actually like and working at the lounge has shown me this. Not only was I able to take care of them during their stay, but I was also able to understand how my stress affected theirs. Working here has definitely made me realize this is something I want to pursue in my future. Next year, I am attending Rutgers University with a major in business and a minor in entrepreneurship in hopes to one day open my own doggy day care.
Guide: Tips to Become an Expert at Training your Dog
Do you plan on getting a dog? Do you already have a dog whose behavior could be improved? Read these 3 tips and apply it to your everyday life with your dog/future pup!
Tip #1: Rewarding Good Behavior
If your dog is demonstrating good behavior, this should always be rewarded. However, how can you tell your dog is being well behaved? It’s quite simple actually, any actions that aren’t negative should be rewarded with lots of praise. For instance, they listen to your directions, they’re calm when you’re busy with work, or they simply go to the bathroom outside when asked to. Any dog enjoys at least a little bit of attention and treats, so rewarding them for obedience convinces them to sustain it! It is crucial to not reward bad behavior because this convinces your pet that their wrong actions can be repeated.
Tip #2: Walking the Dog on a Leash
When you take your dog out to get some fresh air, notice where they are walking. Are they in front or right beside you? If your dog is walking in front of you, it allows them to be seen as the leader. They should not be directing where you guys are going, you should. If you lead the walk, this also permits your dog to put more trust in you to lead them somewhere safely. To change the habit of your dog walking in front of you, DO NOT pull their leash back. If you and your dog are approaching other people, again, DO NOT pull their leash back. This can make them scared and convince your pet that there is something they should be afraid of. Instead, to keep your dog right beside you during your walk, slightly pull up on the leash and keep them close to you. As always, praise them for walking beside you so it is repeated on future walks.
Tip #3: Setting Boundaries
How often do you allow your dog to sleep on your bed with you? How often do you feed your dog from the table? How often do you feed your dog food that isn’t their own? Setting boundaries are extremely crucial to both you and your dog. Of course, when you first meet your pup you want to build a strong and trustworthy relationship with them. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important be willing to create ground rules so they don’t become too privileged. As a dog gets more spoiled with the human lifestyle, the less they see you as their leader. Here and there, it’s okay to spoil your dog, but it’s also important that you earn their respect by taking a leadership position (like parenting!).