Gate Control - A Necessary Skill For Dog Daycare and Kennels
Imagine a typical morning in the life of a professional dog handler. It’s 6am, you’ve just taken the first sips of your precious coffee. Still shaking off the grogginess of sleep, you enter the kennel to start letting dogs out for their first potty break in a yard. As you go to unlatch the gate for a puppy who is more than excited to see you - WHAM - the kennel door flies into your forehead causing surprise and instant pain. If this hasn’t happened to you personally, just ask one of your handlers and you will hear stories of headaches, bruises, and sometimes more serious injuries. If this unfortunate scenario has happened to you, then you already understand the importance of proper gate control.
The Importance of Gate Control for Kennels and Dog Daycare
Having worked in the dog industry for almost a decade I have seen many different styles of daycare and boarding facilities. One thing is the same in every dog care operation - gates, gates, and more gates! Gates are one of the most essential structural tools when caring for dogs, providing safety, security, and privacy for your guests. With the necessary abundance of gates and doors in dog care facilities, it is not surprising that they are also involved in many workplace injuries.
According to an article from the National Library of Medicine, Work-Related Injuries to Animal Care Workers , the second most reported injury for employees of non-veterinary animal care is being struck by or against a physical object. We take great care to train employees on how to prevent and avoid being bitten or scratched, the most commonly reported injury, but how much do we prepare our dog handlers to safely use and control the gates, doors, and barriers? Most staff are likely to learn through trial and error. However, we give our dog handlers a huge advantage by implementing a few simple tips and strategies to use for proper gate control.
When To Practice Gate Control At Your Kennel And Dog Daycare
The most frequent use of gates in a dog care facility is the scenario described above, simply letting a dog out of their kennel area for play or potty time. This is also the interaction most likely to cause injury from being stuck by the gate. The dog on the other side is excited, anticipating the fun they are about to have sniffing the yard and romping with friends. Many dogs are not trained to sit patiently while you unlatch the lock, and will jump up or try and push the gate open towards you. Patience and preparedness are the key to gate control in this situation. Placing your foot in front of the gate, and waiting until the dog has all four paws on the floor, will prevent the gate from flying open, allowing you to safely bring the dog out of their kennel, as demonstrated in this video from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy
In an open-style daycare or boarding facility dog handlers are expected to practice gate control with a group of several dogs who are all eager to push past and through the gate. This situation requires more skill and has even prompted an online competition to show who can demonstrate the most control over their gates. Creating a boundary around the gate using verbal commands and hand signals to determine which dogs can enter requires practice and consistency.
To establish this boundary, it can be helpful to walk the dog back until you have a clear area in front of the gate. This means walking toward the dog, prompting them to move backwards and away from the gate, where you can then tell them to “stay” or “wait”. If the dog immediately follows you towards the gate boundary, remain consistent and patient. Continue to walk the dog back using your body to block them from crowding the gate, making sure to give verbal praise and affirmation when they follow your direction. You can then individually call a dog through by saying their name and pointing towards them, keeping a careful eye on the rest of the group to see who might need to be walked back out of the boundary.
A clear area around the gate is especially useful when introducing new dogs into the play area. Whether the dogs are familiar friends, or are meeting for the first time, you need to make sure that the dog entering through the gate doesn’t feel bombarded by others upon entering the group. With proper gate control you can establish a comfortable environment for dogs to enter play groups, setting them up for a positive social experience. This is absolutely essential when working with social dogs who have barrier reactivity . The handler who is inside the play area supervising the group should call all dogs away from the gate before the new dog is allowed to enter. If verbal commands are not sufficient to provide a clear area around the gate, try using your body as a block to walk the dogs back and away.
Whether you work with dogs one-on-one or in larger play groups, maintaining gate control is essential to the safety of dogs and handlers alike. Whatever technique you decide to implement, be it verbal or physical, the most important thing is to be prepared and to be consistent. Set clear expectations for employees regarding how to safely use gate control in each situation they might encounter at your facility. You will ensure that the staff have a fun and rewarding experience with the dogs if you set them up with the tools they need to succeed.
How to Clone a Grooming Reservation
With Paw Partner you can now easily clone a grooming reservation. In the "Grooming Overview" calendar you can click on the page clone icon. This will duplicate the reservation and put it up top in the work area. You can then navigate the calendar up top to the date that you would like to create the new reservation for. We have an easy "X week out" view where you can select a specific number of weeks out and it will move the calendar to that new spot and you can select the slot for your new reservation. Please notice that the "X weeks out" takes into account the date at the top of the screen and is not necessarily today. This enables you to make cloned reservations every 8 weeks extremely fast and easy. To get the calendar back to today just click the "today" button and you will be brought back to today.
Here is a video outlining how to easily clone grooming reservations.
How to Modify a Grooming Reservation
In Paw Partner we have multiple ways to modify a grooming reservation. If you are on the "Grooming Overview Calendar" you can press the gear icon on any grooming reservation. This will bring the reservation to the top of the screen and you can then navigate the schedule to a date and time you want to change the reservation to. Clicking the new slot will bring you to the confirmation screen where you can select/confirm the service option.
If you click "modify reservation" from the overview screen or the groomer "today" screen, it will take to to the "grooming overview" calendar where you can navigate the calendar and select a new time/groomer to complete the reservation. Changing groomers on a reservation will bring up the service options that the new groomer offers for that pet type.
Here is a full video on how to modify a grooming reservation. If you have any questions please let us know!
Paw Partner Has A New Way To Manage Tips!
We are excited to release a new way to log, modify, and view your tips. With our new tip management you will be able to log tips to a job type so that you can pool your tips and disperse them to your various segments of business. You will also be able to allocate tips directly to individual employees so your commissioned employees can receive their specific tips.
Logging A Tip In The Tip Tab
When you are checking out you will now notice a new tip tab. When you select this tab, you will be able to add tips to an individual employee or a segment of your business. When the customer receives their receipt they will see "staff tip" as a line item on their receipt for the amount that you add in your tip tab.
Logging A Tip Using Our Card Connect Terminal
If you are integrated with our Card Connect partner you will be able to use our terminal and will be able to push the total amount due to the customer on the terminal. The customer will then be presented with an option to tip a suggested amount (selected by you when you set up your terminal). The standard suggested amount is 10%, 15%, and 20%. We have found that by using this "suggested tip amount" we have been able to double our tips received by staff.
When a customer gives you a tip on our terminal, Paw Partner will calculate how much of the amount due to the customer came from each of your departments and will distribute the tip based on that percentage. For example if the amount due to the customer came 90% from boarding and 10% from grooming, then Paw Partner will automatically allocate 90% of that specific tip to boarding and 10% of that tip to Grooming. You are able to reallocate those allotments by modifying the tip allocation.
Modifying A Tip Allocation
Staff will occasionally allocate a tip incorrectly and you need a way to modify that. Also, you may want to reallocate a tip that is allocated by using our terminal. Paw Partner gives you an easy way to modify your tip allocation. Simply click "Manager" then "Payments" to go to our payment register. Once in the payment register go to the transaction and click "Manage Tips".
Clicking "Manage Tips" will bring up the tip allocation of that specific transaction. You can then reallocate those tips to the correct person or segment of business. Make sure you scroll to the bottom and click "save". Note: your reallocated tip amount MUST match the original tip total amount.
Viewing The Tip Report
Paw Partner makes it easy to reconcile your tips and make sure that the go to the correct people. In the Tip Report, you can select a date range and view which staff members and segments of business received tips during that time period. You can also click on the numbers to pull up the specific transactions that made up the tips for that section. This will let you double check to make sure everything is correct.
To access your tip report click "Manager" -> "Reports" -> "Sales Reports" -> "Tip report"