When I first started out as a kennel technician for Don’s Pet Care, I had very little previous experience with dogs. I had my older dog but it’s important to note that she was not your average dog. In addition to being aggressive, she hated food and toys. That’s right… she didn’t understand how to play with toys and didn't even learned how to play with other dogs until age 11 in human years. Before working at Don’s Pet Care I did do an internship with Havoc K-9 but I mostly just played with puppies (which was heaven).
Back to the point, I quickly got thrown into taking care of the dogs and doing other basic cleaning chores. I learned quickly that I had no idea about dog body language. I specifically remember taking a dog potty with my coworker. As I called the dog back inside to put him away, my coworker told me to stop calling his name because he was about to poop. Within three seconds he was squatting. It’s a funny story but looking back now I realize how much I didn’t know what that point. In case you’re wondering, yes I am now very good at recognizing when a dog is about to poop.
In addition to recognizing a dog's body language before a bowel movement, I learned how to recognize and approach an anxious, hyper, aggressive or mentally healthy dog. I consider this a required skill for any professional dog trainer. However, I also think that it’s good for pet owners to learn this as well. It’s important for everybody (even non pet owners) to learn how to approach a new dog correctly. I recommend doing is asking the owner if you can pet their dog every time. This is really important because you do not know this dog but the owner should know their dog. As an owner, it’s okay to turn people down. You have to realize that you need to stand up for your dog. If your dog is anxious, I would not let people pet them unless you are specifically working on fixing their anxiety.
Another few things that I learned from being a kennel technician was how much dogs need to eat, how often do dogs need to potty and what to do if a dog has diarrhea. I find that most pet dogs are overweight. Did you know that a slightly underweight dog will live up to two years longer than a slightly overweight dog? I believe the reason why pet dogs are usually overweight is because they are being given the correct amount of food but with an excessive amount of treats. If you plan on giving your dog more than a few treats a day, I recommend giving them less kibble that day.
I found that dogs can hold their potty for up to 24 hours usually. In fact, there was a dog at the kennel who was so anxious (we did our best to make him feel comfortable) that he did not pee for two days and poop for three. I also found that dogs almost always poop in the morning and have between two and three bowel movements a day on average. However, I know of many dogs who poop multiple times within a few minutes. I called them double or triple poopers. In this case they could have over six bowel movements a day. Which dog is yours?
Finally, I learned that if your dog has diarrhea, the best thing that you can do is not give them any food for 12 to 24 hours. Make sure to give them water though. Making them fast naturally resets their digestive system and helps to get rid of diarrhea. If this doesn’t work you can give your dog pumpkin purée from a can and in severe cases, medication.
While there were many other things I learned from being a kennel technician, these are the most important. If you’re interested in working with dogs, I recommend being a kennel technician. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it for what you learn.