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.nycdo