I really appreciate all of the advice you all have given!! Thank you so much. We will definitely consider these training methods... I like the cat in the water idea a lot! Haha.
In response to the ethical side of having these pets aboard for the duration of the trip... We had been given advice to get them- the dog for some form of added protection (he is a pitbull mastiff) while we are ashore. I understand it will not stop someone who is really determined to get at our supplies onboard the ship, but it may deter some would-be criminals. As far as the cat goes, we were told that boat cats help in our type of situation by being able to get into all the little nooks and crannies of the ship to help rid us of possible mice running up our lines while docked for days at a time in remote places. There is also the gargantuan bug factor in central america. He might have fun hunting them too.
Besides all that, we love them and they are already here. So they're coming along.
I appreciate the input from all of you and no, I did not post here simply to get viewers to our site, although we welcome anyone who is curious to check us out
We here are all very excited to embark on this journey of a lifetime.