How do I become a kennel assistant?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for the career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools, while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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UPDATED: 29 August 2020

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1. What is a kennel assistant?

Kennel Assistants work at kennels to assist in the care of the visiting dogs. Kennels are places where dog owners can take their dogs to stay over, while they might be travelling. It’s like a hotel for dogs.

Some kennels also offer boarding services for cats, rabbits, exotic birds, and a variety of other pet species, though these animals are kept in a separate area away from the dog kennel.

Alternative names for Kennel Assistant:

Names of careers can be different at times. Here are some alternative names:

  • Kennel Attendant
  • Kennel Technician

2. What does a Kennel Assistant do?

Career Categories:

The Kennel Assistant career can be found in the following career categories:

  • Animal Care

What does a Kennel Assistant focus on?

The main focus of a kennel assistant or attendant is to oversee the well-being of the visiting dogs. A good knowledge and understanding of the various breeds of dogs and their behaviour is recommended. One Zoo Tree has information on all these breeds to help you learn more about them.

What are the daily tasks of a Kennel Assistant?

  • Prepare food and feeding the dogs
  • Making sure the dogs have enough water
  • Cleaning and maintaining the kennels
  • Playing with the dogs to keep them entertained and healthy
  • Assist Kennel owners and resident veterinarians when dogs become ill
  • In some cases also bathing, nail trimming and grooming of dogs

3. The Working environment of a Kennel Assistant

Where does a Kennel Assistant work?

Environment –

Kennel assistants work within the physical enclosure of the kennel.

Places of Employment –

In most cases the Kennel Assistant will be working at registered dog kennels or large Veterinary Clinics with in-house kennels.​

What is the average annual salary of a Kennel Assistant?

The starting salary of permanent Kennel Assistant is around US$15,000 per year. Part time workers earn around US$9 per hour. With the ever increasing population of pets, the career outlook for people working in the pet care industry is good.

Can a Kennel Assistant be promoted?

Kennel Assistant may be promoted to Kennel Managers, or move to similar careers in the pet care industry. Some also open their own kennels as a business.

What difficulties does a Kennel Assistant face?

The most difficult part of this career is being able to work with stressed dogs. Certain dogs can get difficult and temperamental when they sense a new person in their space. Learning to deal with such dogs is important to make Kennel Attendant your ideal career. Kennel attendants may also be required to work irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

4. Which Skills does a Kennel Assistant require?

The skills required for a career as a kennel assistant can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Basic animal handling and care techniques
  • Customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
Life Skills
50%
Career Skills
50%

5. Which subjects must I have at School to prepare for this Career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

6. What will I need to Study to become a Kennel Assistant?

Minimum educational requirement:

Generally, Kennel Assistants must have at least a minimum of a high school diploma (certificate), when working for an established kennel.

Although further education is not necessary, the best kennel workers learn additional skills on the job, or acquire skills through completing short courses.

Study Focus:

When you do decide to further your skills, you might want to focus on short courses that specializes in caring for dogs as well as dealing with dog behavioral issues. Alternatively, you may want to start with pet sitter or dog walking jobs on a part time basis, before applying for a job as a Kennel Assistant.

Study Duration:

The duration of short courses differ, but can range from a few days to a few weeks.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

​Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s): 

Stepping Stone Career:

Being a kennel assistant can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (high study fees etc). You can begin as an intern kennel assistant after basic short courses and expert guidance. The money you make can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience also helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and Apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal care careers, most of the required skills will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Join the Kennel Assistant Group in the community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of those entering the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

7. Licenses, Certification, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal care careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Kennel Assistants do not require specific legal documentation, certification or licenses to enter this career.

Learn more about requirements if you are thinking of running your own kennel, by joining the Kennel Assistant Group.

8. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care

Do you want to contribute to the Career information? Please click on the red beetle to learn about being a mentor or contributor.

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Join the OZT community and Kennel Assistant Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a kennel assistant

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a kennel assistant, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, and non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu.

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