Canine Handler

Stuart, FL

Reports to: General Manager or Assistant Manager or Dog Care Manager

Job Description                                               

This position is two-fold. The primary focus of this employee is the care of the dogs, followed by the care of the facility (which in return increases the quality of care the dogs receive). Handlers spend their days in the day care rooms and in the kennels ensuring that the dogs receive the attention and care due to them while in our facility. 

Experience Required

High School Diploma, GED, or good standing in current high school program.  Dog care experience a plus, but not necessary.

Required Competencies

In order to excel, this employee should be skilled in the following qualities: cooperative, team oriented, retain technical knowledge, excellent communication skills, focus, able to provide excellent customer service, problem solver, accountable and reliable, leadership, and dedication.    

Job Responsibilities

  • Canine Handlers/Kennel Attendants perform all daily interactions and meets all daily needs required by dogs in both the day care and boarding settings. All activities and incidents should be communicated to management on a daily basis. As soon as they arrive in the morning, it’s their responsibility to set up their day care rooms with fresh drinking water, fresh mop and mop bucket, and playground equipment. Afternoon shifts should make sure they start off with the same amenities.
  • Day Care
    • Safety – The primary concern for all dogs in day care is safety. Handlers are trained to look for warning signs that a dog might act out in an unfavorable way that could be hazardous to other dogs or staff members. They are responsible to correcting any unwanted behavior in hopes of avoiding any sort of physical conflict.
    • Cleanliness – Keeping the day care rooms clean is a constant battle. In order to cut down the risk of sickness being spread within the day care, Handlers need to be frequently cleaning. Walls/fencing need to be wiped down with disinfectant and/or Biofresh, posts should be bleached on the inside, playground equipment should be disinfected, mop buckets and drinking buckets should be changed hourly, and dogs should be spot-checked for cleaning up before they’re sent home. These are all daily requirements in addition to the basic cleaning up after bathroom breaks taken in the day care rooms and the outdoor area (if applicable).
    • Stimulation – Idle paws are the devil’s playground, or something like that. In order to head off potential incidents by refocusing the dogs’ attention and to provide a higher level of care than our competition, Handlers are responsible for providing mental stimulation to all day care clients. Appropriate stimulation appears in the form of different games, which include, but are not limited to, Recall, Up and Down, Sit and Stay, and Follow the Leader. 
    • Time-out Log – If a dog acts inappropriately in the day care rooms either with the Handler or the other dogs, it’s up to the Handler to correct the behavior. If this correction occurs in the form of a time-out, the Handler needs to record the length and time the time-out occurred. Management and upcoming shifts need to be aware of this information in order to know what sort of behavior to look for, that’s why it’s crucial this information is kept up-to-date and accurate.
    • Record incidents/health issues – Working with animals provides a level of unpredictability, and the Handlers are on the frontlines when it comes to dealing with rising issues. Any sort of altercation or health issue (i.e. diarrhea or vomiting) needs to be recorded in an Incident Report and communicated to incoming staff and Management. It then becomes Management’s responsibility to communicate any issues to dog owners and decide whether or not a dog should be taken to seek immediate medical attention.
  • Boarding
    • Cleanliness – Kennel Attendants are responsible for cleaning the kennels and all the accoutrements of boarding on a daily basis. Each occupied kennel (and any neighboring kennels that may have gotten dirty as a result of their proximity) should be swept, mopped, disinfected (walls and floor), and have all bowls and bedding washed (if needed).

If physical conflict does occur it is up to the handler to intervene and end the confrontation. First aid should also be applied (if needed) to hold the dogs over until they can receive professional medical attention (again, only if needed).

If a dog is departing the kennel should be bleached, the bowls and blankets should be washed, the bin for belongings should be emptied and wiped down, and the white board should be cleaned.

The hall of the kennel should also be disinfected and mopped daily.

The outside area (if there is one) also falls under the realm of the kennel attendant. It needs to be disinfected and hosed down at least three times per week (in nice weather). The trash should be emptied at the end of day.

  • Feeding/Medicating – Kennel Attendants take charge of all daily feedings. They are responsible for portioning out the correct amounts (and the correct foods) for each dog at the proper time intervals. Any medications should also be properly administered by Kennel Attendants and signed off on the Medication Log.
  • Transitioning – Once boarding dogs have eaten, been medicated (if applicable), and been given time to digest, the Kennel Attendant should help the Handlers move all B-rate dogs from the boarding kennels to the outside area (if applicable), then from the outside area to the day care rooms.
  • Rotate A-rates – Throughout the course of completing their other tasks, kennel attendants are required to give breaks/potty time to all A-rate dogs. All rotations should be recorded in the A-Rate Rotation Log. Set up boarders – Once kennels are clean, all in-house boarding dogs should be reset with fresh bowls, bedding, water, and their correct amount of food for their next meal, as well as any personal belongings the owners requested be left in the kennel (as long as those items are not potential choking hazards).

JOB CODE: Stuart