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Old 10-07-2018, 08:07 AM   #1
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Dog relief while underway

I did a forum search and didn't come up with much on provisions for dog relief while underway. Aside from walking your dog past a scupper and nature takes its course, what provisions have other cruisers found effective?

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Old 10-07-2018, 08:33 AM   #2
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There are several companies that advertise Turf pads that can be mounted on the fore deck. Most of these can be equipped with over-board drains or catch pans. They are just a simple framework box with some artificial turf inside.

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Old 10-07-2018, 08:41 AM   #3
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In anticipation of our first long term cruising with our then 8 year old Sheltie, we tried training her to go on potty pads. Couldn't make it work. So we did a couple of overnights where she had to hold it for about 24 hours. Our vet said that it would do no harm- if she really had to go, she would.

About five years later after our first Sheltie died, we got another Sheltie puppy. My wife bless her heart worked with the puppy every morning to train her to go on the potty pad. It took at least a month of early morning trips outside, holding the puppy on the leash encouraging her to use the pad. Finally she caught on.

We then took her out on our boat. We put a square of outdoor carpet up on the foredeck and took her up. She did it there. After a few times all had to say is "go potty", point to the bow and she would march up and do it. Later on a boat without wide, handrail protected side decks, we just put a fabric potty pad out in the back of the cockpit and point.

So my conclusion is that it is hard to train an older dog to do new tricks. But if you are patient with a puppy you can make it work to use a potty pad.

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Old 10-07-2018, 09:59 AM   #4
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This is a great article ( and a good site overall for boat related stuff). This technique worked very well for us.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
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I got some sod from my yard, and put it in a suitable plastic planter. I placed the planter on my bow, thinking we would use it on the weekends. I thought that by vacation time, dog would fully trained and ready to go. WRONG. Birds (I think) tore it to pieces the moment we left the boat, and there was dirt all over my bow. What a mess. Failure.

Next, I went to Home Depot for sod (no way was my wife going to let me cut another chunk out of the lawn). Home Depot was not happy with the sod, and told me to take what I wanted free of charge. I took home about 3' and put it on a piece of plastic in the yard. In the coming days, after running from it and rolling on it, dog actually went #1 on it. When vacation time came, I made a quick cardboard tray from used boxes for the sod, and placed it on my portuguese bridge (out of range of birds). I covered it until we departed.

Once underway, dog hesitated somewhat but used it for #1. After she used it for #2, it was days before she would use it again for anything. Dog is about 137 years old and we are her second home (rescue).

The sod and box worked out very well. We had a couple of long passage days, and a couple of rough anchorages where I did not want to put the dinghy down in the dark. The sod was magic for us, and it was returned to earth about an hour before making home port at the end of our trip. I will do this again next summer.

Good Luck
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post

So my conclusion is that it is hard to train an older dog to do new tricks. But if you are patient with a puppy you can make it work to use a potty pad.
My conclusion as well, after trying in vain to get our adult border collie to do it on the boat with a pad, a box, even a post that I had other dogs pee on. No dice. A trip to shore in the dinghy a couple times a day seems to be the only solution with her. Any future puppies, though, will get indoctrinated early.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:59 AM   #7
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This worked out well, simple and the dog took to it right away.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trawler Sandpiper View Post
This worked out well, simple and the dog took to it right away.

Looks good. There's a purpose-built thing like that for sale on the 'net somewhere... I forget the name, but it included some probably-useful rinse and drain functions...

South River, Chesapeake Bay
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:07 PM   #9
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When researching this topic a month or two ago, I ran across this blog postom the subject:

It has some of the same points as above, and a few others.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:15 PM   #10
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Nothing has worked for our male Jack Russell Terrier. Nothing. We've learned that he can hold it (both pee and poop) for at least 36 hours.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:25 PM   #11
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I have a patch of artificial grass placed on the bow near the anchor wash down. Also have a small rope attached to it for washing overboard. Prior to putting on the boat we kept it in the back yard for a few months. We have two 45 pound mutts and were only able to get them to use it one time in the back yard. Placed it on the boat and they were both using it within 24 hours. Also used a hormone spray called "go here". I think the familiarity of the backyard smell was a good approach.
Al & Lynn
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:10 PM   #12
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We had a Lab that didnít want to go in his kennel after we paved it. He held it for 36 hours before breaking down and going. Once he had gone it was a non issue. Same thing with our current Lab. Had some astro turf and made him go on it at home. Cut some squares from it and took them to the boat. Put a gromet in a corner so we could dunk it after use. He still does not like to use it but he will if we are underway for more than 9 or 10 hours. Otherwise he waits until we dock and douses the first sprig of green he sees.

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