Meet Dog’s Day Out Newly-Named Assistant Manager Tyler

This blog is the second in a series of interviews with our amazing team members. It provides an opportunity for readers to learn more about the folks who care for the pups—and stories about what led them to Downtown Dogs or Dog’s Day Out.

Meet Tyler, one of our longest-serving employees. He worked as a dog handler and shift lead at Downtown Dogs from 2014 to 2018. Tyler rejoined us as a Dog’s Day Out bather in 2021. He’s a vital part of keeping our salon ‘a cut above the rest’ (pun intended)—and that’s why he was recently promoted to Assistant Manager.

Let’s hear from Tyler:

Q: What led you to work in the dog biz?

A: I’ve always loved and grew up with dogs so while I was in school and looking for a part time job, I saw Downtown Dogs was hiring. After working here for about four months, I realized that this was what I wanted to do and took a full-time position. It was practically ‘love at first sight.’

Q: What are your favorite and most rewarding parts of working at Dog’s Day Out?

A: I love seeing the progress nervous dogs can make. We have several clients whose dogs were very scared of everything during their first appointment and by their second or third time in, we see that they are generally much calmer and more confident with grooming services. The extra time we invest in training our employees—and the TLC we pride ourselves on offering at Dog’s Day Out—really makes a difference!

Dog’s Day Out Manager Andy says Tyler is incredibly reassuring and calming for nervous dogs. “He works hard to make every visit to Dog’s Day Out a positive experience for every dog. Some of the dogs are even excited to see Tyler for nail trims of all things!”

Q: What advice would you give parents of anxious pups to help ease stress related to bathing?

A: Patience is key. You need to move at the dog’s pace. Sometimes this can mean spending 10 minutes just getting them into the tub, or giving the dog a break between clipping every nail. If you take the time at the beginning, it will become easier in the future for everyone, especially the dog!

Q: What does it mean to you to be part of the Dog’s Day Out team?

A: I love that I get to go to work and do what I love every day. I think that’s the way all of us feel. We work well as a team and support each other personally and professionally. Plus, even if I’m not having the best day, I know that there will be at least one dog who will brighten my mood.

Q: You’ve said that you value working for Ralph because he “supports a healthy work environment and community.” Can you tell us more about what this looks like and means to you?

A: Ralph, and all the managers, make a real effort to get to know each employee on an individual basis. It feels good to work at a company that views each person as a unique individual. There’s no ‘cookie cutter’ approach here when it comes to employees, customers, or dogs.

Q: We understand that you have a reputation for being efficient (and that you even have a special nickname associated with your speediness). Can you tell us more?

A: While working at Downtown Dogs I tended to move quickly while working so people started calling me ‘T-Swift.’ I worked in food service prior to getting a job at Downtown Dogs. You need to be thoughtfully fast and accurate in that industry and in our dog business. Plus I’m tall and have long legs, so I move faster than other people.

Tyler’s efficiency extends to the front desk at Dog’s Day Out. Andy is greatly appreciative of Tyler’s attention to detail. He says, “Tyler keeps Dog’s Day Out running smoothly. He helps immensely with our communication with Downtown Dogs and I can count on him to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.”

Downtown Dogs and Dog’s Day Owner Ralph says that he can count on Tyler to warmly greet customers. “He knows most of the clients’ and dogs’ names. This is a longstanding hallmark of what makes our independent business unique and stand out from national chains and franchises.”

Q: You are known around the building as the go-to expert when it comes to working with fearful dogs, including but not limited to German Shepherds. How did you develop this valuable skill?

A: This skill just came with a lot of practice. I feel a great sense of fulfillment when I gain the trust of a fearful dog. It’s like a puzzle. The more time I spend with them, the more I learn what works and what doesn’t. It differs dog to dog but I have some tried and true tricks that are usually effective.

Downtown Dogs Chief Operations Officer Erin, who has worked with Tyler for nearly 10 years, says, “Tyler has vast knowledge of dog behavior and body language and always seems to know just what the dogs need in order to have the very best experience.”

Q: We hear that there’ve been a few client dogs over the years that have gotten especially close to your heart. Can you tell us about them?

A: Donut was the first dog at Downtown Dogs I really got close with. He was an older Jack Russell Terrier that boarded frequently. He just had a really endearing personality and would just want to cuddle when it was time to go out for potty breaks.

I’ve had a long relationship with Lexi. She was a shelter dog at Animal Ark, a rescue organization in Hastings at which I have volunteered. She is a very sweet girl but had a hard time settling down and could be overwhelming to potential adopters. We worked together for a couple of years until eventually the right family found and adopted her. I still get to see Lexi because her forever family brings her to Dog’s Day Out for baths.

Laika is a Golden Retriever who has been coming to Dog’s Day Out since she was about 10 weeks old. I am the only person who has ever bathed her, and they set up recurring appointments every month. It’s been a lot of fun watching her grow up!

Q: You and your longtime partner (Lindsay – General Manager at Downtown Dogs) have two dogs. Can you tell us about your fur babies?

A: Yes, we have two dogs. Copper, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, is our oldest, about eight-years-old. She initially belonged to clients of Downtown Dogs and started going to daycare as a puppy. The family she lived with was having difficulty with her and were looking to rehome her at the same time as Lindsay and I were looking into getting a dog. It just worked out perfectly and she fit right in with our family.

Jungly, a Saluki mix, is about four-years-old. He came from a shelter where I was doing some volunteer training. It took a long time to gain Jungly’s trust, and once I did, we decided to foster him. After a couple of years of him living with us we made the decision to officially adopt him.

Q: What are your interests outside of work?

A: Aside from spending time with my dogs I enjoy going up to my cabin. This generally includes my dogs and just relaxing. I read quite a bit and am a big fan of movies, usually going to the theater once a week on my days off.

Q: What has working with dogs taught you about life?

A: Working with dogs has taught me to be more patient in my day-to-day life. Rushing through things or getting frustrated never helps with dogs and usually makes things take longer and be more difficult. I think the same applies to other aspects of life.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers/customers?

A: Yes! Wearing my Dog’s Day Out hat, I’d say it’s never too late to start working on getting your dog more comfortable with grooming procedures! Starting young, especially for dogs that need frequent grooming, is the best way to set your dog up for success with grooming, but if your dog is older, progress is still possible. I’ve worked with plenty of people who have avoided grooming because of how nervous their dog is, but with patience and consistency this can almost always be improved.

Ralph says Tyler is an integral part of the “special sauce” that makes Dog’s Day Out so beloved by its customers. “He and Andy and the whole salon team create a great vibe; an ideal balance of chill and efficiency. Here’s to a great decade of work, Tyler, our video game- and movie-loving dog whisperer. Thanks for making so many dogs’ days!”

Abbe Bernstein, author of this blog, is the editor behind all Downtown Dogs and Dog’s Day Out blogs. She also works behind the scenes here on planning events, consulting with our design firm, and spearheading our community outreach/giving back initiatives. Abbe’s creative energy can also be seen in our recent Downtown Dogs renovation and our new Change Unleashed! Barktique. A life-long dog lover in her own right, Abbe is wife to Ralph (whom she calls “the Big Dog”) and dog mom to our resident bloggers Frannie, Helen, and Lyle.