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Old 12-12-2015, 09:33 AM   #1
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Doggies on board

We are anticipating doing inland passage to Alaska next summer. We have two inexperienced dogs we are thinking of taking. We are looking for suggestions as to what has worked to get fido to pee on board. Ie those little pee patches? Plus any other thoughts.... Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:58 AM   #2
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We use a piece of faux-grass doormat, cut to fit in an upside-down Rubbermaid tub lid. Zip tie together at one end. Easy to rinse overboard. Every so often it needs a bit of scrubbing and hosedown to loosen up yellowish deposits that get smelly. Two dogs in a row have taken to it quickly and easily.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:12 AM   #3
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We make going to shore with the dogs part of the fun of cruising.

It gets us on shore, and off the boat more, and lets us see and explore things we could not see from the boat.
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:35 AM   #4
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My experience is that older dogs don't train easily, but try first on land. Get a square of outdoor carpet and take it outside or to a screened porch and try to get your dogs to go on it. It helps to "season" it by rubbing it on a patch of ground where they went on their own.


Then keep your dog on a leash and encourage him to go on the carpet square. If you can get him to go on the carpet at home, then the boat will be easy.


We did this with our second dog from puppyhood and now all I have to do is say "go potty" and point to the bow where the carpet square is tied down.


Our previous dog wouldn't go on the boat. We did a couple of overnight legs and she just held it for 18-24 hours. The vet said that when she absolutely had to go, she would and no harm would result. Who knows? All other times we were able to get to shore. I agree that going ashore with your dog gets you up an moving and sometimes lets you see shore based things that you wouldn't otherwise.


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Old 12-12-2015, 11:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
We make going to shore with the dogs part of the fun of cruising.

It gets us on shore, and off the boat more, and lets us see and explore things we could not see from the boat.

That's what we do as well.

Our two Yorkies and 130 lb Pyrenees/Lab cross were never on our boat until the first day of a 3 week trip. Sink or swim so to speak.

As former sea kayakers it's just in our bones to get onto shore and explore...so much more interesting than seeing things from a distance.

If your dogs are big enough, an other option we saw a fellow do this summer is to nose your dinghy close to the beach, let the dogs hop off, then slowly move along shore while the dogs romp for 10 minutes or so. With this option the fellows wife stayed on the boat (which didn't anchor) and the whole operation was done in about 20 minutes.

Both my wife and I prefer to anchor and photograph ashore, but we are in no hurry to get from point A to point B. **See signature below
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:50 AM   #6
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The friends we cruised with last summer had a dog that went on his own when anchored. Swam to shore and back when he had to go. Even climbed the swim ladder without assistance.
It is amazing what a dog can learn with an investment of time.
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:05 PM   #7
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We trained our puppy on "puppy pads" (available at pet stores). There's a plastic frame that keeps them in place and prevents them from blowing away.


That works fine for our 12 lb dog, it might not be practical for a Great Dane.


She would rather go on land though.
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:39 PM   #8
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After ten years of trying to get our Chihuahua to "go" on the boat we had no success. Daisy is not the normal dog in that my with spoiled her from day one. While Daisy never messed in the house and would always go to her room to us her tray with simple paper towel we just could not get her to go on the boat. This created issues when we would take cruises and realized her limit would be 8-10 hours then we would have to dock someplace. I know some people would say this is crazy but it was either stop or I would be cruising alone. I will admit I didn't this minor inconvenience since the dog has been more then just a pet to us both.

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Old 12-12-2015, 01:50 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=MurrayM;395227]

If your dogs are big enough, an other option we saw a fellow do this summer is to nose your dinghy close to the beach, let the dogs hop off, then slowly move along shore while the dogs romp for 10 minutes or so.

This always worked well for our dog and my mother-in-law. The dogs can swim.
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:04 PM   #10
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Things are so much more interesting ashore;
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:23 PM   #11
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We tow the dog in her own boat.


Just kidding.
On long offshore runs we leave the dog with a sitter. You can turn a dog off to boating real quick banging around in sloppy seas. Inshore part of the fun is stopping and taking them ashore. That training to do business on board is just wrong IMHO
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Old 12-12-2015, 03:33 PM   #12
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You can turn a dog off to boating real quick banging around in sloppy seas. Inshore part of the fun is stopping and taking them ashore. That training to do business on board is just wrong IMHO
My experience is different.

I recall a sloppy passage near shore a number of years ago. We were beating against a 25 kt sea heading around point in Maine. We keep our dog below in those conditions (this was a sailboat of course) and my wife said that Tiffany was no doubt getting beat up below. So I went down the companion way and she was snuggled up on the lee side in the galley wedged into a corner snoring away.

Also I see no downside to training your pet to go on board. I go on board sometimes as well ;-).

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Old 12-12-2015, 04:37 PM   #13
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Morgan's been on Hobo 8+ years and over 17K miles. He was a 2 year old rescue dog when we got him. We've tried everything from tying a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet to a pole for a few days to let other dogs scent it, sand box and real sod. I even demonstrated for him. He can't be bothered. The only thing that works for us is, when he has to go, he will. He has a spot on the side deck. Holding it for 12-14 hours is easy (for him anyway). His record is 40 plus hours. And in sloppy weather, if we're calm, he's calm.

We plan our anchorages according and he's good at doing touch and goes. Having to go shore regularly can be a pain but having Morgan along is priceless!
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:07 AM   #14
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we have a piece of carpet that I (Gabe) "Pre-scented". we happened to have a puppy visit the boat who took advantage of our "pre-scented" pad without any coaxing. Our dog figured it out shortly thereafter when faced with no other options. Now it's used every trip. I think putting it in the same location on the boat every time has helped as well.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:25 AM   #15
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Allowing a dog to go ashore by itself is fine in some places but not a good idea in alligator country. Even swimming can be dangerous.


Something to consider.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:47 AM   #16
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We hang on a mooring and anchor out most of the time when cruising. Our Westie gets to shore maybe 2 times per day (morning and evening). That's generally enough. We'll take her to shore if we want to walk a beach, go into town, take her for a long walk, etc. There have been times when weather prevents us from going to shore and the dog can hold out for 24 hours or more. If she must go, we treat the cockpit as "outside" and if she has to go bad enough, she will. Years ago, we meet a liveaboard couple on an IP38 with 2 Jack Russells. The dogs never went to shore for their business, and learned to use the bowsprit.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:58 PM   #17
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Doggies on board

We follow the same routine as Murray and Kevin. Jenny was a 7-year old when we first brought her aboard. We were getting the boat ready so she had the run of the boat for several days before we left the dock. She was quite nervous the first time we took her in the dinghy, but she quickly realized it was her transportation to shore and it's now an exciting for her. She goes to sleep when we are running places but expects to be on the foredeck when anchoring or docking.

She gets 3 walks a day at home and she gets 3 walks a day when on the boat. Worst case scenario, the "walk" is a rock with a tuft of grass (don't go to Ahclakero Channel). Best case scenario are the beaches the other side of Pruth Bay (West Beach). We limit our legs to 50 nm or about 7-8 hrs. By that time. I've had enough and she's had enough. On only one occasion, (a run from Comox to Nanaimo) she was desperate and Pam was able to get her to poop on a towel. We've had no problems before or since.

Some anchorages are better than others for dogs. And...no alligators! But you need to be not just bear aware but cougar aware and wolf aware as well. Since the close encounter with a cougar, we've leashed Jenny ever since. I was very glad Jenny was on a leash when we encountered the wolf in the Goose Anchorage.

We will probably wait until we are dog less before we make the run to Haida Gwaii.

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Old 12-13-2015, 01:19 PM   #18
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Things on shore are a lot less interesting on a cold rainy morning anchored in a mud shore creek or shoreless marsh. Or the anchorage being rough and windy. My observation is that unless house trained like a cat, dogs end up dictating the whole cruising schedule, destinations and agenda. Even house trained, they limit what you can do by yourselves on shore, you pretty much have to take them everywhere.

One of the first things we did before taking off to cruise full time was to give our beloved little dog to one of the kids. Never regretted it for a minute.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:26 PM   #19
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Both the dogs we've had since acquiring our cabin cruiser prefer(ed) going ashore but when they have really had to go they would go on the deck with no qualms. We did not have to train them to do this. We just throw a bucket or two of salt water over the spot to wash it off the teak deck.

The same holds true with our trailer fishing boat. We've had three dogs of the same breed since buying the boat in 1987 and the dogs have always gone in the cockpit when they've needed to.

I think David's earlier comment is correct: while the timing will vary from dog to dog, when one absolutely has to relieve itself it will.
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:28 PM   #20
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Things on shore are a lot less interesting on a cold rainy morning anchored in a mud shore creek or shoreless marsh. Or the anchorage being rough and windy. My observation is that unless house trained like a cat, dogs end up dictating the whole cruising schedule, destinations and agenda. Even house trained, they limit what you can do by yourselves on shore, you pretty much have to take them everywhere.

One of the first things we did before taking off to cruise full time was to give our beloved little dog to one of the kids. Never regretted it for a minute.
Everybody feels differently about their dogs.

We feel like our dogs are not possessions that we can give away at will. They are our family and we would never consider giving one away, any more than we would have given one of our kids away when they were in our care.

Please understand that I'm not judging here... It's just that our dogs have a more significant place in our lives than some.

And yes, taking the dogs to shore can be unplesant on a cold rainy day, but what we get in return far outweighs any inconvience.
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