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Old 09-21-2012, 06:20 PM   #1
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How do I teach a dog to do his business on the boat?

I feel absolutely certain that this question has been asked before, and answered before. But honestly, guys and gals, I used the search option and could not find any!

Anyway . . . I need to bring the new/used boat over from the East coast of Florida to St. Marks, which I figure will take about 10 days probably, and I have to do something with my 5-year old lab. The easiest thing to do will be to just take him with me, but I worry about him having to do his business and I will be traveling probably 10 hours a day (daylight to dark).

So, does anyone have any advice on how to train him to just use a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet on the boat? I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks in advance,
John
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwnall View Post
I feel absolutely certain that this question has been asked before, and answered before. But honestly, guys and gals, I used the search option and could not find any!

Anyway . . . I need to bring the new/used boat over from the East coast of Florida to St. Marks, which I figure will take about 10 days probably, and I have to do something with my 5-year old lab. The easiest thing to do will be to just take him with me, but I worry about him having to do his business and I will be traveling probably 10 hours a day (daylight to dark).

So, does anyone have any advice on how to train him to just use a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet on the boat? I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks in advance,
John
Have him take a swim...... he'll go in the water.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwnall View Post
I worry about him having to do his business and I will be traveling probably 10 hours a day (daylight to dark).

So, does anyone have any advice on how to train him to just use a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet on the boat? I would appreciate any comments.

Thanks in advance,
John
Ten hours in not an issue if your dog's diet is controlled. Dry kibbles? Like, forget it! Need a lot of dehydration to keep it working.
The dog's diet is your answer!
The raw diet is ideal, as it has liquids and solids in a perfect proportion.
If you can, get the dog going on the B.A.R.F. diet before you start out.
The BARF books.

You can make it yourself. We have made our dog's food from BC down MX through Panama, out to the Turks & Caicos, in the B'hams, in FL, up the Hudson and in Canada. Or, you can buy it in frozen chunks at many pet stores.
Your dog will live a cancer free and long life, no sheading, small, hard poops, all the things that nature meant him to do....

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Old 09-21-2012, 07:04 PM   #4
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:07 PM   #5
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Our dog has gone ten hours without a bathroom break before. It's not something you'd want to do on a regular basis but they can usually go that long.

And while both of the dogs we've had with this boat were reluctant to go on the deck even though we encouraged them, they both would if it came to that. In fact lately our current dog has gotten much less reluctant to go outside and lift a leg against a fendor or rope coil or something. They've even gone #2 on the deck if they really had to go although they've been much more reluctant to do this.

But I wouldn't worry about it. If they have to go, they will. Just make sure to put a harness on your dog so he'll be easier to retrieve if he should go overboard, and perhaps get a life vest for him, too. Even though we have wide side decks and relatively high bulwarks we don't let our dog on deck when it's rough. And when we do let him out on his own we keep an eye on him so we know where he is.

We've read some really sad tales of people who's dog went overboard and they didn't know it and by the time they realized what had happened they'd gone way too far to turn around and look for it. Imagining what the dog went through as it struggled int the water watching its boat and family disappear in the distance is enough to motivate us to make damn sure that never happens to ours.

PS--- The business of dog diets is as controversial as anything else. I've read and been told far more negative things regarding raw diets than I have positive. So like all these kinds of things do your own research, talk to reputable vets, etc. and make up your own mind what's best for your dog.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:12 PM   #6
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The method I ahve heard of most is to get a doormat, not the brisle kind, rub it in another dog's pee and poop, just enough to get the scent, and set it out on the deck. (This method did not work for my dog)
My dog was accustomed to being walked on a leash on land to do his business. On the boat when I brought him on deck with the leash he would raise his leg and go. for some odd reason the very first time was over one of the scuppers, once his scent was there it was his favorite spot. He could hold his poop for a couple of days so he never did on the boat, we always had the opportunity to walk him on land for that.
Marin's point about the harness is important!
Good luck with that "project"
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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The notion of putting poop smell on carpet in an attempt to encourage the dog to go there is based on a myth. From what I have read, dogs poop where there isn't a poop smell, not where there is.

Peeing is in essence a dog's bulletin board. Dog's will pee where other dogs have because it's the equivalent of writing information about themselves on the neighborhood whiteboard. It's also where they learn about other dogs in the area. With dogs, it is not really a territorial thing.

For anyone interested in the why of what dogs do, the best book on the subject is "Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know." by Alexandra Horowitz.

For example, did you know that a dog sees things before we do. That's why they are so good at catching things. Humans see at 30 frames per second. Dogs see at 60 frames per second. Which means we see things a fraction of a second later than a dog does.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:22 PM   #8
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A 10 day diet means your dog needs to toilet on board. I`ve friends living in an apartment who trained their dog to use a dog toilet, so it can be done. More internet research needed.
A dog sniffing and peeing where other dogs have been on a regular walk route is said to be "checking his wee-mails".
Capt. Joe, I like your running German Shepherd photo feature. BruceK
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:37 PM   #9
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If you are going to change a dog's diet you need to do it incrementally over a long period of time before the trip. In some cases up to a month or more. Changing their diet quickly can, for many dogs, make them very sick. The exact opposite situation you would want on a long boat trip. - SteveH
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:48 AM   #10
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We've tried everything from tying a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet to a pole for a few days and let other dogs scent it. Morgan couldn't have been bothered. I even demonstrated for him. The only thing that works for us is, when he has to go, he will. He has a spot on the side deck. But holding it for 10 hours should be easy. Morgan once held it for over 40 hours.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:40 AM   #11
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We have two small dogs and we are live aboards. Both go on a potty patch (a tray with a piece of Astro turf). At the dock we take them on land but when we are on the hook we never have to take them to shore. Once when we were at the dock for quite a while Cody, our male dog didn't want to use the potty patch the next time we were at anchor. We didn't take him to shore and he eventually went on the patch. After that when docked we started letting him go on the patch at night before going to bed "to keep him in practice". No problems since. For him it's consistent practice.
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:07 PM   #12
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I started them using a piece of astroturf-like carpet from Home Depot in the back yard and moved to the boat. One scores 100% and the other 50% but
since we have fiberglass decks and big scuppers we really don't care.

Dave
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:06 PM   #13
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Might try puppy training pads.
Indoor Dog Housebreaking: Apartment Training Tips & Tools
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:17 AM   #14
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We went 59 days with two dogs. They will not go on board since they were raised on dirt. However, they will wait 12 hours or more if they have to. We took them in the dink just before bed and first thing in the AM if on anchor. If in a marina then it isn't a problem. I will say this about dogs: both of mine would rather be on a boat then on dirt any day. They were never happier than when on anchor and now when they're on dirt they miss chasing birds in the morning. One of my dogs loves dolphins and he misses those as well.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:59 AM   #15
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Show the dog what you want.

Most are used to having the area that is "the packs" defined by smell.

Simply whizz on the astro turf a few times with the dog there.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:07 AM   #16
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Fred, can you just unzip and go as usual or do you have to raise one leg up on a stanchion?
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #17
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One leg on stanchion isn't required but Capt. Morgan style does get you cool points.
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:01 PM   #18
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We've trained 3 dogs using this psychological approach:
https://activecaptain.com/articles/dogs/canineCrew.php

More than 50 people have written to us over the 4 years the article has been published telling us that it worked. Whenever someone tells us that it didn't work and that the dog just won't do it, further investigation reveals that they didn't really follow the article for the couple of week's of training needed.

It's quite simple and makes the dogs much more comfortable. Our team just went 4 days without getting off the boat at all because of storms and because we were moving and anchoring. While they greatly preferred the walks we gave them this weekend at a marina, it was no big deal for them before we got there.
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