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Old 03-09-2017, 06:34 PM   #1
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Poop deck

I'm planning to spend the summer afloat in WA and BC, and I think I have the planning pretty well under control except: I'm carrying an 85 pound Labrador retriever with me. I see hundreds of cruising dogs--wish we had opted for a 10# Westie, but that choice is long behind us--and I assume some of you have dealt with my issue:

Lager, the Lab, among his many desirable traits, is perfectly housebroken. How do I convince him it's really okay to relieve himself on the exterior deck?
I get that the norm is to take him "walkies" a couple times a day, and I have "ramp-trained" him at home, but surely there will be times when that just doesn't work, especially as my vessel doesn't have a "dinghy-level" gate.

Is it simply a matter of making him wait until he can't any longer? Seems inhumane. Thanks for any personal experiences you can provide.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:44 PM   #2
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Some adult dogs, maybe most when housebroken normally, cannot go on a boat. Our first Sheltie, simply wouldn't go and would hold it for 30 hours on an overnight passage. Our vet told us that when she finally had to go, she would, but in the meantime it certainly couldn't have been fun for her.

For our second Sheltie, we laboriously trained her to go on a piece of I/O carpet or a potty pad. Now all I have to do is point to the the aft cockpit or the bow where we have a potty pad or a piece of carpet and say "go potty" and she does. But you have to do it while they are young.

If you have to make a long passage, keep a potty pad available so he might use it when the urge gets too great. Spot it with some scent to let him know it is ok.

David
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:46 PM   #3
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"go potty" and she does. But you have to do it while they are young.

David
<sigh> too late.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:07 PM   #4
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Not sure how aggressive your cruising plans are but in many cases.. dingy ashore 3x daily works pretty well.

I have sent a dog in the drink between me and the dock and almost myself too in bad conditions.. but you do what ya got to do.

I have thought about developing a good lifejacket+harness for larger dogs, seems like there is a gap in the marketplace there.

Very cute lab by the way.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:37 PM   #5
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We got some astro turf at home and I took him out and stood him on the turf until he peed. Did this for about a week and then took the turf aboard. He knows "go to the bathroom" and "go poop". We put a pet potty pad under the turf to absorb the pee. A gromet in the turf and some small stuff to dip the turf and rinse it off.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:52 PM   #6
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Prof, we are confronting the same thing with our 12 year old Border Collie. While we're traveling, she gets to shore in the morning, in the afternoon when we anchor and then just before dark. As she gets older though, I'd like to have a backup plan. We have tried to get her to do her stuff on carpet and Astroturf to no avail, even after she's peed on it. I even made a stand - up wood post and had other dogs pee on it.....still no luck. She must think she will get in trouble, doing it the boat. We're frustrated at this point.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:36 PM   #7
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One night before our trip down the icw, I ahem, "scented" a square of carpet we had for this purpose. I drinking buddy what I had done and he wanted to help out, since it was such a hilarious situation, me (Gabe) having peed ON the dock. A few days later, we had a young pup visiting. The dog noticed there was pee in the rug, without care that it was human, and marked it, all the same. A few days later we set off with the rug on the bow and lo and behold, our 4 year old, housebroken dog, used the rug with minimal coaxing!


Go for it, just don't use a loved welcome mat or similar.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:57 PM   #8
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The commercial pee pads contain pheremones that may help with an older dog. And no, they won't burst, and as far as being inhumane, maybe uncomfortable in the short haul, but everyone fares better if the option is open to be able to go on board, particularly when going ashore creates unsafe circumstances for canine or master. So creating that option may take some temporary discomfort, and will most certainly will require some committment and more importantly, consistency.

A trigger word is immensely helpful, but it's best taught to a pup. We convinced our 12 yr old to go on the boat, but he had the benefit of a much younger companion who we had trained with a trigger word, and was trained to go on the boat from the get-go. Our old guy just couldn't resist the compulsion to pee on top of our younger girl's pee spot, so it was a natural. The 1st time we "caught" him, we made a huge fuss with praise, and from that point it just seemed to come along naturally. The pheremone spiked pee pads provide the same stimulus. You could implement a trigger word with an older dog, the key is to repeat the trigger word only at the precise point the sphincter is relaxed. It only works if the dog associates the physiological action with the word, and it must be consistent: every time, same timing, same word, same intonation. (We're presuming our old guy/gal still has pretty sharp hearing!!)

I'd put off the shore visit as long as possible, then initiate the same routine you use for a pee excursion, leash and whatever prep you normally do, play it in your mind as the same- dogs are more attuned to our attitude than we give credit- try to duplicate the shore experience, then go to the pee pad. If no joy, don't relent and go ashore. Complete the routine as close as possible to SOP, then after an hour or so, repeat it. If you meet with success, exuberant praise should be immediate and profuse.

Patience and consistency, only kind words. Anticipate success.

Good luck!

Steve Sipe
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev_rm View Post
I have thought about developing a good lifejacket+harness for larger dogs, seems like there is a gap in the marketplace there.

Very cute lab by the way.
Yeah, he's a goood booy.

Just bought his first lifejacket; Made a point of getting one that looks like it can be used for slinging, although it may need some mods re: center-of-gravity. Even if the sling works, I think it will be a complex evolution getting him into a 10' Bullfrog, especially if it's just him and me. As I said, I think we've got dockside worked out. We've been using a ramp to get him into/outof my pickup, even though he's quite capable of jumping.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
We got some astro turf at home and I took him out and stood him on the turf until he peed. Did this for about a week and then took the turf aboard. He knows "go to the bathroom" and "go poop". We put a pet potty pad under the turf to absorb the pee. A gromet in the turf and some small stuff to dip the turf and rinse it off.
Thanks, that's pretty close to the plan, already got the green synthetic rug. This boat is the first I've ever owned with a washdeck pump. I'll never be without again!
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:15 PM   #11
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The commercial pee pads contain pheremones that may help with an older dog. And no, they won't burst, and as far as being inhumane, maybe uncomfortable in the short haul, but everyone fares better if the option is open to be able to go on board, particularly when going ashore creates unsafe circumstances for canine or master. So creating that option may take some temporary discomfort, and will most certainly will require some commitment and more importantly, consistency. ...

initiate the same routine you use for a pee excursion, leash and whatever prep you normally do, ...don't relent and go ashore....exuberant praise ...
Patience and consistency, only kind words. Anticipate success.
Good luck!
Steve Sipe
Excellent advice all. Thanx.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:40 PM   #12
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Lightbulb

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Originally Posted by Gabe n Em View Post
One night before our trip down the icw, I ahem, "scented" .... The dog noticed there was pee in the rug, without care that it was human, and marked it, all the same.

Go for it, just don't use a loved welcome mat or similar.
High marks for creativity! I see no reason I can't incorporate this with some of the more traditional suggestions proffered here.
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Old 04-14-2017, 11:38 PM   #13
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OK, I had my boat survey today and am one step closer to getting my boat. Getting ready for that includes the research I've done for 'poop deck' suggestions, which abound... thanks to all for your contributions to the hive mind.

Now it's time to get the perfect pet poop pad, specific brand recommendations welcome. I'm looking at EnvyPet as the top candidate, for example.

Is this silly? I don't think so. Considering that dog noses as compare to ours is like 4K video compared to 8-bit resolution, I don't want to waste my money on 'stinky' astroturf which will just become A Place To Be Avoided.

Thoughts?

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Old 04-14-2017, 11:56 PM   #14
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..., I don't want to waste my money on 'stinky' astroturf which will just become A Place To Be Avoided.

Thoughts?

Aenlic
As you can see above, I'm no expert; still working this out, but it seems to me that "stinky" (within limits) is a desirable feature -- from the dog's perspective, anyway.

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Old 04-15-2017, 10:03 AM   #15
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This year, we are leaving our pets behind as we have someone who will house sit and look after the pets for us. Jenny has never peed on the deck, although she was quite uncomfortable during one lengthy trip and we managed to get her to poop on a towel in the cockpit.

Bringing your dog with you is worth it. However Jenny came up lame last year and we felt that at 11, it would be problematic to get her to a vet if something happened off the west coast of Haida Gwaii.

She's really enjoyed her trips with us. We will miss her this year but it will bring more flexibility to our travels.

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Old 04-15-2017, 10:15 AM   #16
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Grass mat brands

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As you can see above, I'm no expert; still working this out, but it seems to me that "stinky" (within limits) is a desirable feature -- from the dog's perspective, anyway.

'Prof
lol... sorry, I meant burning-rubber-tire stinky. Since most of my options are online purchases, I could get 'burned' (heh) by that eventuality.

(I ended up getting a 3 by 5 'Zen Garden' mat from Amazon.)
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