How my understanding of dog behavior has changed from when I first started working at the lounge compared to now.
June 20, 2022
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.