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November 19, 2015 / Brooklyn news / Williamsburg / The Greatest Story Ever

Dog-sledding classes at McCarren Park

Chariot of the dogs! This guy will teach your pooch to pull a sled

The Brooklyn Paper
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Get your layabout dog pulling its weight — and yours!

A dog-sledding expert is putting unemployed Brooklyn pooches to work with by teaching them how to “mush.” It isn’t just an economical way to get around in winter — miserable apartment-bound mutts love getting back to their working-class roots, he claims.

“It gives the dogs a sense of purpose again,” said Tyler Hooff, founder of mushing company New York City Dog Mushers, who is inviting all job-seeking canines to his class in McCarren Park on Dec. 6. “Some of them howl they get so happy.”

Hooff first kicked-off his service almost a decade ago as therapy for a friend’s husky — he noticed the working breed, which craves labor and teamwork, was down in the dumps because of the constraints of city living. He started “mushing” the pooch with his skateboard, and the alpine-inclined canine started to feel like himself again, Hooff said.

“I train huskies how to be huskies again,” he said.

Other owners of city-dwelling dog started to notice, and soon Hooff was running regular husky therapy sessions. Now he trains all kinds of large dogs with industrious instincts — like pit bulls, Dobermans, and Labradors — using a wheeled sled in the warmer months and a snow sled during the winter.

New Yorkers often coop up their big fur-balls without room to move and dog-walking services just don’t do the trick, said Hooff — they take the dogs out to relieve themselves, but fail to give them an outlet for their pent-up energy and natural thirst for labor. Without adequate exercise, said Hooff, the hounds face an identity crisis.

“If these owners don’t get these dogs a job, the dogs are going to get depressed,” he said.

The McCarren Park class will teach dog owners the ins and outs of mushing their own mutts — Hooff will brief attendees on how to use a proper harnessing and equipment, and run over the basics of rig-pulling while giving each pooch a session with the sled.

Dog mushing classes at McCarren Park [N. 12th Street at Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, (360) 319–9719, www.nycdogmushers.com]. Dec. 6, 11 am until sundown. $35 per session.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Paula Howard says:
This is animal abuse.
Nov. 19, 2015, 1:27 pm
Stan from Laurel Gardens says:
And you're pretending to be a woman
Nov. 19, 2015, 4:39 pm
Paula Howard says:
You are right... I am. And I also don't understand that mushing dogs really like to work out and pull. Forgive me. I am going back to my Big Mac that wasn't abused.
Nov. 19, 2015, 7 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
I'm waiting for City Bank to roll out dog sled rentals to replace City Bikes for the winter months. Dipster dogs need to get a job instead of sitting out front of coffee shops all day.
Nov. 20, 2015, 5:41 pm
Julia from Williamsburg says:
How is that abuse? It's not like he has a whip or anything. It IS abuse to let your dog get obese and develop health problems trapped alone all day in a tiny over-heated apartment though.
Nov. 20, 2015, 6 pm
Bam says:
We are all happier when we can move our bodies. Canines are no different! Mushing has been going on in Alaska for hundreds of years! For work and pleasure! Very clever idea Tyler Hooff. its a lucky dog that crosses your path!
Nov. 29, 2015, 10:39 am
shelley finkelstein from dallas says:
i wish we had that here in dallas. I have 3 husky's and they are too chubby-they really need the exercise!
Dec. 1, 2015, 10:51 pm

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