Why Some Pet Service Providers Are Vetting Their Clients
For doggie daycares and grooming salons, a new business practice might be on the rise. The New York Times recently profiled how pet businesses in New York are now holding intensive interview days in order to make sure dogs can handle interacting with strangers, playing with other pups and being in a new environment.
The interviews assess dogs’ anxiety levels when they’re away from their owners, as well as their ability to be comfortably touched and handled by staff members. They also undergo a test to ensure they understand basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” Finally, they are observed interacting with other dogs to ensure that they aren’t overly aggressive. The interviews also involve the pet owners—they need to provide vaccination and medical information in order to show their pet is healthy.
In the past, there wasn’t a need for this kind of process. Typical kennels caged dogs individually and there was little chance for interaction. Now that daycares offer out-of-cage, immersive experiences where dogs frequently play with each other and engage with staff, there is an increased need for safety. Ensuring that dogs are healthy, well-behaved, non-aggressive and comfortable at the daycare is essential for protecting staff and other clients.
Interviews for grooming salons may not be as intense as those for daycares since dogs interact more with groomers than with other animals. However, grooming businesses can still use some of these practices. By using a touch test, grooming staff can determine whether a dog is comfortable being handled. It may be also helpful to do an interactions assessment to make sure the dog won’t start a scuffle in the waiting area. By using these tactics, grooming business owners can decrease the chances that an employee or another client is badly bitten.
Interviewing also makes employees’ jobs easier by helping to ensure that they are working with manageable, well-adjusted dogs. A badly-behaved animal can be a major distraction and require multiple staff members for handling. Other dogs are also at risk for being harmed, which would be upsetting for owners and may cost clients. Hosting animals that have had their behavior assessed is useful for ensuring that operations are running smoothly and for keeping dogs safe and their owners happy.
This practice can also help businesses that have an overwhelming influx of clients to screen the pool and only take on dogs that are well-behaved. If a pet business can afford to be picky, interviewing can be a way to determine which clients to take on, making for a happier, more efficient and better-run business.