Whether you groom, board or both, you hope to offer the best experience to your customers. A lot of times that means focusing on the owners of your customers and making sure to put your most professional foot forward from the time they drop off to the time they pick up their beloved baby. Let’s call that our “front of the house” experience, but what goes on in the back of the house?
Is it pure barking chaos? Are the cats balled up in a cage praying this nightmare comes to a close, soon? The stress they feel while in your care is very evident to their humans. It’s in the way they jump on them at pick-up as if to say “take me home” or by the way they are just not themselves, a bit traumatized. Some of the noise and hustle and bustle of being at the groomer or daycare is unavoidable, but a lot of it is, with the right equipment and segregation and a little personal attention just before going home. If you’re a groomer, lifting a dog into a bathing tub or grooming table can be stressful on your body and stressful for the animal as well. Finding a bathing tub with a ramp of some kind or a hydraulic tub can remove that stress for the both of you. If you’re a boarding/daycare operator, having glass enclosures as opposed to rod or grill, alleviates the caged-in separation anxiety that some animals experience and reduces the noise from other dogs barking as the glass works as a barrier. Some manufacturers even offer obscured or patterned glass fronts, which allows dogs and cats a little privacy along with the added benefit of the noise reduction from the glass. (When purchasing glass doors for your kennels, check the thickness, that will be a factor in noise reduction) Dog and Cat owners love to see kennels and cat condos with glass fronts, it gives them a sense of luxury boarding and they recognize that if you’ve put that kind of effort into your boarding area, you must be the type of facility that pays attention to the details. Let’s face it, when you have to leave one of your family members behind, you want to know reducing stress is a top priority for their caregiver(s). One final note on glass, some people feel that it looks so nice but it’s just too hard to clean. If you really think about it, with the use of a squeegee, you hose the kennel down, squeegee the door and you’re done. No polishing required. That covers the equipment, now for the segregation. One luxury pet resort owner I spoke to recently mentioned he segregates his floor plan so that canines and felines are checked in and out at different locations, and have separate boarding quarters as well. Depending on your lay out this may not be an option, but you could consider separate check-in times for canine and feline clients or allowing your alternate entrance to serve for pick-ups and drop offs. It may require you concentrate on keeping your back door area cleaner than you do now, but being able to tout that you want to reduce the stress on your felines by allowing them a separate entrance will earn you major points with their humans. Finally, consider a little TLC just before check out. It’s not always possible, and sometimes you’ll have 3 pick-ups at once, but when it’s feasible, spend a little time with the dog or cat, out of their cage, kennel or cat condo, stroking them, speaking to them in a loving, reassuring tone, basically calming their nerves before they’re set to leave. A little kindness goes a long way with animals and humans alike.