January 11th, 2005, 02:48 PM
I live in Ontario and am planning in the next few years to own and operate my own dog/cat boarding facility. This dream has consumed my every waking hour for months now, as I have finally realized what I should be doing in this life. I have even gone to look at a facility for sale, but have no $$ to purchase this place, and I am not quite at that stage of the game yet. I feel very bored at work, now that I know how I want to spend my life, and have been reading everything out there and have purchased many books on the topic. Although I have several years experience in kennels and working as a vet. assistant, (no formal education however...just really lucky :rolleyes:), I know that I need to get more hands on experience and educational qualifications to actually re-enter the field.
My question is:
In Ontario, is there a kennel management/kennel operations course that one can take, that would include business planning, daily operations of the facility, basic grooming etc. I have surfed around several sites and found plenty of American schools and grooming specific schools, but nothing geared directly at just kennel management. I even found a place in the states that offers very costly weekend seminars. I would like to find something similar in Canada, preferrably in Ontario. Can anyone suggest some place??
January 11th, 2005, 10:51 PM
Check this out - Algonquin College is in Ottawa. The program will be up and running by 2006, if you can wait that long :)
January 12th, 2005, 07:00 AM
I opened my own kennel two and half years ago,we are small ,ten runs ,three cat condos.I only had tech experience when I started.I took courses in business for a year before I started as well as from the American Boarding Kennel Association.It is definately a dream lots of hard work and no time off!my day starts at about five thirty and finishes whenever!but deciding how you want to do things is great,if you have a dog who's lonely you can spend an hour or so giving him extra play time,if you stay small you get to know your clients well (I remember all dogs names better than owner's!)Anyway I wouldn't trade this for anything and as an added bonus my own dogs get to come to work with me everyday anyway if I can help you let me know
January 12th, 2005, 08:12 AM
Thank you so much Lise and Carey. I am fully aware of the lack of time off that I will be facing, but my life is like that now! I work full time and do dog walking on the side and have my own 6 pets to tend to in between, as well as being on the executive of the London Dog Owners' Association. No rest for the wicked. Having been to the kennel that was for sale, the owner did explain that she has very! strict hours and adheres to them! No exceptions or she will be stuck at work indefinitely. My husband will be part of this career move on a part time basis, as he thinks it is awesome, but we can keep his benefits thru his job! A good plan, so far. I think I am on the right track, as I have also considered business courses that I can take anytime now and I have also contacted Pijac Canada, a company that is presenting 3 Canadian pet trade shows this year, and asked for direction as well. I await their reply!
January 12th, 2005, 09:20 AM
Sounds like you're on the right track.We
looked at kennels before deciding to build ourselves(husbands are wonderful cheap labour!)That way the kennel was to our requirements,it's taken us two years to build up our clientelle,but we didn't pay for anyone else's business .It sounds like you already have contacts with vets they are great for referrals.Louis McCann at PIJAC may also be able to give you some assistance.As far as hours I don't keep strict hours and I have a lot of clients who like the fact they can pick up and drop at different hours I ask them to let me know if they need a drop off or pick up before 8 am or after8 pm,I have yet to have client who was unreasonable about time.The dogs who are in on the other hand have no idea about hours and they are your babies while they are in.It all depends on how you want to run your kennel . We have the philosophy the dogs are number one and we do whatever it takes to make them happy.Our clientelle is a lot of vets ,techs,trainers and even some OPP service dogs.
January 12th, 2005, 10:27 AM
Yes, I like your philosophy. I have spoken to a lot of pet owners for imput, and the general concensus was to keep broad hours, and don't forget about shift workers! They will consider the kennel owner their saviour! Heck, I'm up in the wee hours anyways, so that wouldn't be a stretch, as long as it is within reason. I think my next step is to visit a number of kennels in the area and skulk around on the net for how others are doing it and gleen whatever good ideas are out there that I could incorporate into my plans. I also plan on getting back into the field on a casual basis to brush up on skills. It is all very exciting.
I did hear back from Louis McCann via email just now! and he suggested courses in the states :( , but that is just not possible right now. It will come together though!
January 12th, 2005, 03:18 PM
It took me more than twenty years working in different fields of animal care to finally get what I wanted but it's worth all the work.One thing I forgot to mention is govrnment help for financing ,if that's an issue,they offer some great grants and subsidies to small business. The banks tend to regard kennels as not great loan risks.Anyway I'm off to feed and walk my gang!I've got three bloodhounds in and you should see their runs after supper!!How can one dog get that much food and drool on a wall in such a short space of time?At least everyone else is civilized at dinner!
January 13th, 2005, 07:47 AM
Well, I just "borrowed" my neighbours' GS this morning at 7 a.m. and the first thing she did when she got to my house was a humungous barf on my carpet! Why, oh why, could she not do this on the way to my house....she had to wait until she hit the rug! :yuck: Figures!
January 13th, 2005, 10:21 AM
Probably the same reason one of our cats had to cough up hairball in slipper the other day and everybidy has to throw up, pee on etc the only rug we have in our whole house.Three dogs,six cats and the grays we gave up on anything other than ceramic years ago!!
January 13th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Never had one in a slipper yet! Eewww! Just put new tile in the kitchen too, but you're right, they seem to prefer carpeting!
I found a "school" in Kitchener that offers dog daycare management courses, (1 month duration) as well as dog training courses, and related things. The place is called "****" and it appears that it is a franchise, and claims to be Canada's largest dog daycare chain/facility. So big that I had not heard of them! I was wondering if this would be a good place to look into or if anyone out there has attended their seminars or classes. They seem to offer logical subjects in the courses, such as business management, dog-dog aggression, parasite control etc. It sounds actually quite good, fairly reasonable price, compared to some I have seen.
January 14th, 2005, 06:59 AM
The only problem with franchises is often they tell you how you have to run a business and you have to pay franchise fees.I found the vet tech programm at Vanier cegep in Montreal and courses in dog,cat,bird and small animal husbandry from PIJAC gave me a good knowledge of most problems that arise as far as taking care of everyone,that and twenty or so years practical experience.I also took some courses in business from a local program.The program at vanier was three years and PIJAC was seminars and a home study program with a written exam at the end.That worked for me but your way sounds faster!
January 14th, 2005, 09:27 AM
Yes but faster is not necessarily better! I am looking to make a smooth transition from my current full time job to the kennel business and trying to obtain education and take business courses on my own time, WITHOUT having to quit my current job. It may take a little longer, but I am in no rush. It is very scary to think of giving up a pretty good job that I have held for 17 years to pursue a totally different, self-supporting lifestyle. But I know the rewards will be priceless! I am considering going to the US down the road, to attend one of the weekend seminars that cover just about everything, and at a reasonable fee. There are scads of small business start up courses offered here in London, on an ongoing basis and do fit into my schedule. Thanks for the outline of what PIJAC offers....I am going to look into their home-study courses to see what they have to offer. May as well start now!
January 14th, 2005, 10:56 AM
Hey Lise! I just went to the Pijac site and downloaded the order form for the homestudy guides and emailed them to find out a current list of related seminars. I also asked if any of the seminars might be held in Ontario, as it would be handy for me! I am totally revved up now!! Thanks alot! :D
January 15th, 2005, 07:06 AM
Glad the PIJAC info helped.I can really relate to giving up a safe income,I had been working for twenty years in animal care and loved it ,It was also a good paycheck once a week.When I opened almost three years ago I was happy just to have one or two dogs in a month profit ha ha! I was happy if I could cover my loan payments for the first six months.This Christmas I was booked solid three months before and am already taking bookings for the summer.I was lucky my husband has a "real"job and could cover our bills until the kennel began to break even (almost a year)We also kept our costs down by doing a lot of the work building the kennel ourselves,also by building ourselves the kennel is exactly how I want it.I wouldn't trade my life for anyones,I went in this morning (5 am)and everyone was so happy to see me ,it was great spending a few hours feeding and walking everyone.I can run my business how I want.If you want to see the kennel our site is www.geocities.com/cedarbankpetboarding/main.It's also really nice being able to help out with some of the rescues a bit more
January 16th, 2005, 09:49 AM
Awesome! I will visit your website and take a peek! I plan to start small and take it from there. Looking into when I can take a buy-out at work and use it toward my new "life". Thinking of sort of an early retirement and fresh start! You have been most helpful and supportive and I appreciate your thoughts and advice! Cheers!
January 16th, 2005, 10:00 AM
Hi again! Just toured your website and it is very good! I was wondering if, in May 2005, I could visit your facility and see how you have it set up etc., as I will be in Ottawa area for my cousins wedding. What a perfect opportunity to visit and learn from my new "guru", (that would be you!). I would give you ample warning as to when I will be in the area, as soon as the invites go out. Does this sound like a possibility? I want to tour some kennels now to see different set ups and what good ideas I can incorporate down the road that would be of benefit to the pets and their owners. Ta for now!
January 16th, 2005, 10:44 PM
I missed this thread the first time. In the slipper?! How did you find it? No! Nevermind! Don't want to know! :yuck:
January 17th, 2005, 08:35 AM
There is really only one way to find such a present......yuck......
January 17th, 2005, 11:42 AM
Would love to show you our kennel and see our set up.It's a great idea to visit lots of kennels before you start your own.Pick as many brains as possible,I was lucky and had lots of great dog people offering all kinds of help and advice.
January 17th, 2005, 01:38 PM
Thank You Lise! I will contact you closer to the wedding and give you an idea of when I will be in the neighbourhood. I am so excited!! Also, I just heard back from PIJAC and they are offering the dog certification seminar in Toronto at the trade show in Sept/05. I was encouraged to order the homestudy course book now to get the edge on the seminar certification, and I just might to that in these dreary winter days! Keeps me outta trouble! Funny how things are falling into place! Must be doin' something right!
December 22nd, 2005, 02:22 PM
hello, I just happen to be surfing this site for information, and came across your reply re" Canada's largest daycare. It is actually called ******. I too came across their website and inquired about thier courses. Totally disappointed as the owner rarely replied to any questions I had. The staff had no knowledge about anything going on there. I was told this year that the courses would be running in Sept of 2005 , then replied it was changed and then never heard from again! It may be a large facility, but doesn't seem to be run very well. Why tell someone that they can travel all the way to Guelph (I live in Thunder Bay) and start a course in a few weeks, and then never send them information? Poor customer relations if you ask me.
Never had one in a slipper yet! Eewww! Just put new tile in the kitchen too, but you're right, they seem to prefer carpeting!
I found a "school" in Kitchener that offers dog daycare management courses, (1 month duration) as well as dog training courses, and related things. The place is called "*****" and it appears that it is a franchise, and claims to be Canada's largest dog daycare chain/facility. So big that I had not heard of them! I was wondering if this would be a good place to look into or if anyone out there has attended their seminars or classes. They seem to offer logical subjects in the courses, such as business management, dog-dog aggression, parasite control etc. It sounds actually quite good, fairly reasonable price, compared to some I have seen.