The most important part of becoming a kennel assistant — and the reason that most people are interested in this job in the first place — is having a love of animals. There is no formal training to do this job at a kennel or shelter, but most applicants have completed, or are in the process of completing, high school. Some people who are pursuing veterinary degrees choose to work in kennels or shelters to increase their experience with animals. For the most part, however, most kennel assistants are just interested in working with animals and receive most of their training on the job.
Kennel assistants may work in boarding kennels, animal shelters, or even veterinary offices. If you're interested in this job, research businesses in your area and make phone calls or visits to determine who is hiring. If any businesses are looking for a kennel assistant, they may ask you to come in and fill out an application. An interview will usually be the next step, and as with any job interview, be sure to dress professionally and be polite and respectful.
Experience caring for animals is not always necessary to become a kennel assistant. Many businesses look to hire people with some experience, however, so it is important to list anything relevant on the application; this may even include walking neighborhood dogs, for example. On a daily basis, a kennel assistant may need to give food and water to dogs and cats who are boarded, clean the cages, take the pets to a vet appointment if necessary, take the boarded dogs on regular walks, and maybe even perform some grooming tasks.
If you want to become a kennel assistant, you should be strong enough to handle large dogs and not be afraid of animals. Some kennel assistants may need to assist the kennel owner in the office, answering phones or assisting customers, so having computer skills and good customer service skills can be to your advantage. Each kennel or shelter may be different, so it is important to learn as much as possible about the business beforehand. This will make you seem knowledgeable and competent at an interview.
After the interview, the kennel owner or manager will likely let you know if you will be offered the job. The pay for a kennel assistant is generally fairly minimal; in fact, many people do this type of work on a volunteer basis. For someone who enjoys taking care of animals, however, whether the the pets are simply being boarded or are looking for a new home, it can be a very rewarding job.