No matter what kind of business you’re in, it’s vitally important to find and hire the right people to work for you. The key is identifying the specific skills and abilities needed for various positions at your business and being able to recognize those qualities in your candidates.

Hiring staff to work at a doggie daycare, however, comes with an added quirk: your employees don’t just need great customer service skills to deal with human customers, they also need a very different set of talents to help them properly care for the canine clients.

Needless to say, a passion for dogs is a typical prerequisite for potential dog daycare employees. Of course, there’s a whole lot more to it than just that. Working at a dog daycare is a demanding position that requires a broad range of skills and abilities. Here’s a closer look at some of them, and why they matter.

People skills, including communication and listening skills

You may be working with animals but running a successful doggie daycare also means keeping pet parents happy and satisfied. Your human customers are likely to have lots and lots of questions about how their pup is doing on a daily basis. Daycare staff need the patience and understanding to listen to requests, and the communication skills to adequately and diplomatically address any concerns.

Staff also need to be able to receive and process important information about an incoming dog’s likes and dislikes, medical conditions, or behavioral tendencies, then share that information with co-workers. In doing so, employees demonstrate valuable leadership and teamwork skills.

Dog handling skills

Keeping the animals in your care safe and happy is an essential part of operating a dog daycare, so you’ll need people with the skills to deliver that promise. Employees must be willing to undergo extensive training on handling dogs in a hectic, hands-on environment, and using voice commands to ensure basic obedience. Some dogs can be very strong, and you may need staff with the physical capacity to handle bigger animals. There will likely be no shortage of stressful situations, so look for people who can step up and respond well to pressure without losing their cool.

The ability to interpret dog behavior

As pet parents know, it’s possible to learn a lot about your animal by its body language. From posture and tail position to teeth and ears, there are all sorts of signals that can tell you whether a dog is angry, scared, sad, or simply having fun. A good doggie daycare employee is constantly reading these visual clues and assessing interactions between dogs to make sure all the animals are safe, and those with special needs are being properly cared for.

Administrative and business skills

Not everyone who works at a dog daycare needs to be a business whiz, but the more you can spread administrative duties around among your employees, the more you will be able to lighten the load in that department.

If you can find candidates who fulfil the other requirements, but also offer expertise in scheduling, training, bookkeeping or accounting, they’ll bring valuable and much-needed skills to your team.