For better or worse, the doggie day care and pet boarding or lodging industry is largely unregulated. This means that almost anyone can open a doggie day care, lodging facility, or operate as an independent contractor under one of the many platforms out there (like rover.com or wag!), without any training. We think pet parents should know that at Pet Camp, we take counselor training seriously. Here’s what we do.
Every counselor undergoes rigorous training when they are hired at Pet Camp. We have an internal training manual that goes over everything from how to give a camper a fresh bed and clean water, to how to bring a camper back to a pet parent at the end of the stay, and everything in between. New counselors are trained by senior counselors, and a manager is required to sign off on every step of the training process. Really, we don’t care how many years of experience you have working somewhere else. When you join Pet Camp, we will show how we want things done.
If you have a minute to tour Pet Camp, you’ll see all sorts of certificates on the walls. These certificates represent some of the external training that the Pet Camp counselors go through. When we first opened in 1997, it was the American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA) that provided these certificates and every counselor had to complete both level 1 and level 2 of the Pet Care Technician Training. Mark, our senior counselor, went on to complete the Certified Kennel Operator training and pass both the written and oral exam. In fact, Mark is the only pet care facility operator in San Francisco to complete this training. When the ABKA transitioned to the International Boarding & Pet Services Association, Pet Camp remained an active member and our counselors continued to participate in their training.
For several years, Pet Camp sponsored the counselors in the “Knowing Dogs” program and more recently in “Fetch Find.” We take this training seriously that not only are counselors required to complete this training to retain their positions but they are also rewarded with gift cards when the complete each 25% of the training.
All the managers and several of the counselors at Pet Camp have also completed the “Heroes for Healthy Pets” two-part training and received their certificates in “Infectious Disease Management.” This program, as the name implies, focuses on both knowledge of infectious disease AND the best way to clean and disinfect a pet care facility.
Pet Camp Scholarship
Pet Camp is also very proud of our scholarship program. After one year of being at Pet Camp, every counselor is provided a scholarship of $1,000 to spend on anything that will make them a better Pet Camp counselor. We’ve had counselors take classes in dog behavior, cat behavior, pet bathing, excel (yup, knowing how to do a spreadsheet can make you a better counselor), and even driver’s education. We encourage the counselors to come up with the topics they are interested in and simply draft a paragraph explaining what they want to do and how it will make them a better pet care provider.
We know that many doggie day care facilities, lodging facilities, and the independent contractors you might hire through an app take a much different approach to training. We think professional training is not only good for the pets under our care, but also creates a work environment where the counselors are encouraged to grow and take on new challenges. This in turn is even better for the dogs and cats under our care as this creates better employee retention and even more trained and skilled staff.
If you’re considering taking your dog or cat to a pet boarding facility either here in San Francisco or elsewhere, take a moment and ask about the organization’s education resources and philosophy. Pet Camp prioritizes care not only for your pets, but also how we treat, prepare, and respect our counselors. Check out all our amazing counselors at our website!