“So, You Say You Want to Work With Dogs…” – Part 4

You Got the Job!

You did it! You received an employment offer and you accepted it.  You are starting your new adventure working with dogs.  Do you feel confident or confused, ready or apprehensive, excited or scared? It’s natural to feel a little bit of all of these.  Here are some tips on how to make your transition smooth, productive and rewarding for you, your new employer and the dogs.

What to Expect…

 At a minimum, your employer will expect you to:

  • Learn the names of the dogs that are in their care
  • Learn the names/functions of the rest of the staff
  • Learn all company procedures and processes
  • Shadow another staff member for training and monitoring

Note that “Learn” is the operative word.  No one expects you to “know” everything in the early days of your employment.  Employers expect you to make daily progress on the basics above.  They are aware that progress takes time and repetition and that you will make mistakes on occasion.  Their goal is for you to become trained in their system and to improve.  In order to do this efficiently, employers also expect you to:

  • Show up for every shift assigned to you.
  • Be on time.
  • Follow the house rules.
  • Ask questions.

What to Avoid…

Just as with an interview, if you want the job, you need to show up when you said you would.  Avoid changing your schedule early on.  If your job is a priority, your schedule must be as well.  Avoid being over-tired or unkempt when you get to work.  It’s hard to remember new things when you are exhausted and hard to be taken seriously if you don’t appear to be eager and ready to go.

Avoid too much personal conversation with the staff, clients and dogs.  You can still be yourself and you can still be friendly. But if clients and staff can hear you, keep it professional.  This means NO CELL PHONE CONVERSATIONS, TEXTING, IM’s, FB POSTS, TWEETs, EMAILS, ON-LINE SHOPPING, etc., while working.  Do this on your own time.  Don’t assume your employer doesn’t care or that she doesn’t see you doing it. You need to focus fully on your new job.  If your employer needs you to use your electronic devices for work purposes, she will tell you this during your training.

P1000415How to Prepare…

Be sure to confirm your schedule and the dress code with your employer before your fist day. Learn as much as you can about the company and the culture before your first shift.  Read their brochures and any articles or reviews that have been written about them.  Check out their website and social media groups.  Contact any friends you know who use their services. Fill your calendar around your new work schedule. Do not try to re-schedule work around your other appointments.  Allow enough time to travel to work even if there is traffic.

How to Act…    


P1000362The best way to start any new adventure is to follow the golden rule.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Communicate clearly.  You should always be a little early, so you’re ready to start on time or provide extra help if needed.

If you have a true emergency call your employer as far in advance as possible.  Listen more than you speak in the beginning.  Try not to be defensive if someone offers constructive criticism.  Try to understand the reason for the procedure or policy that’s in place.   If you don’t know, ask questions until you do.

Remember that at work, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Clients, dogs and co-workers are depending on you when you are on the clock.  Working together toward the same goals is key for any business to thrive.

Congratulations and best wishes for success in your new endeavors with dogs!