Working at Canine To Five – so much more than playing with puppies all day!

Wise words from our staff trainer, Keeley.

You may ask yourself why does Canine To Five need a Staff Trainer and what exactly does a Staff Trainer do?  First and foremost Canine To Five has a dedicated team of dog handlers who are committed to keeping the dogs safe.  Many times when we tell people what our job is and they say “I wish I could play with dogs all day”, but in reality the dog handlers work very hard at managing a large pack of dogs and working with dogs on an individual basis.aaron group sit


A dog handler’s day consists of walking dogs, working on obedience cues with individual dogs, monitoring play and stopping play when it gets too intense, keeping barkers away from the gate so they do not excite the pack, stopping dogs from running through the playroom, checking every dog daily for any health issues or injuries, feeding dogs and the glamorous job of cleaning up poop and pee in addition to keeping the daycare clean.  While we want the dogs to have fun we have to make sure the excitement level stays at a minimum.  We do this by making sure that anything that alerts the pack is under control as well as reading dogs body language to intervene before or when there is a tiff between dogs.  So as you can see there isn’t much playing with dogs.  Instead the handlers are leaders who keep the balance in the pack and ensure your dog is safe.

My job as a Staff Trainer is to help the staff with difficult behavioral challenges that are causing issues in daycare and to also help establish means of managing the pack effectively.  Each dog breed has specific characteristics that can be seen when they are interacting in daycare.  For example the Herding Group with German Shepherds, Cattle dogs, Aussies etc. can be a challenge when it comes to their herding instinct.  Anytime they see something that needs to be controlled such as lots of activity they run up to the dogs and vocalize at them or give them a nip.  The handlers have to be right on this so the situation does not escalate.  So if you every get a chance to read about your dog’s breed and the breed characteristics you might understand why your dog sometimes behaves in a certain way. jill SIT

Another part of my job is to talk to owners about their dogs and to explain what types of behavior we are seeing in daycare.  I also talk to owners and get their approval for our plan to deal with certain behavioral challenges in the pack.  For example sometimes a dog might be really unsure with other dogs and I will come up with a plan for the staff and talk to the owner.  Then I follow up with the staff on the dog’s progress and we keep the owner updated too.  After every shift I work I leave notes for the staff on how to manage certain behavioral challenges that we have seen in the pack or update them on the progress I have seen and let them know that they are doing a great job.

So next time you see the dogs handlers let them know how much you appreciate them.  They work hard and love the job they do!  I couldn’t ask to work with a better group of people or dogs. xtina viggo

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