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maureena5 03-09-2002 05:58 AM

Dogs on sailboats- long question
Hi All,
Does anyone have a dog on their sailboat. If yes, how did you train the dog get around on the boat? How do you train to go on a patch of artificial turf? What about getting up & down the companionway for a larger dog (golden retreiver)? We had a golden retreiver for 12years (said goodbye to him in November). He was never on the sailboat. He was already seven when we got the boat, and we didn''t attempt to teach an "older dog new tricks". We are considering getting a new golden retreiver puppy in the Spring. We will not commit to another dog unless if fits with our short term, and long term sailing plans. Having a golden and sailing are our two passions. We are searching for advice on how feasible this might be. I do not want to make a commitment to a new dog in our life if it wouldn''t be fair to the dog. My husband & I have a sailboat on Lake Michigan (34ft C&C). We are also arranging for yacht ownership in the BVI. We plan to use our 6 weeks of sailing for the next five years. After that we plan to cruise for 6 months out of the year. Does anyone have experience in this subject matter? Any thoughts? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

RichH 03-09-2002 07:24 AM

Dogs on sailboats- long question
Start your puppy potty training on newspaper with astro-turf underneath. Quickly relocate the paper and astro turf outdoors when practical, then remove the newspaper and keep the dog targeted to the astro turf. On those dark and stormy nights when a ride in the dinghy to the shore is impractical the dog will ''go'' on the astro turf located on the foredeck. Always make a big squeely deal out of the procedure when the dog does it right. You CAN train older dogs to do this. ....... Companionways: if the steps are covered in a very rough non-skid patterned rubber material, the dog will get down OK, but will need a ''boost'' getting up. .... and you can train old dogs to do this, (I usually adopt older rescued english setters) just takes a little longer - all you need is patience. Keep the nails VERY short trimmed (avoids gouges in the wood work) and cut away and keep trimmed the hair that grows between the pads (minimizes slipping paws).
...... Boarding for a dinghy --- Make sure the dog has a harness when onboard... makes it easier getting into and out of the dinghy; getting in is no problem simply take some tension on the lead as the dog jumps overboard; getting out of the dink - train the dog to stand with his paws on the boat''s coaming and boost his butt when he goes aboard. Also If the dog has a harness its easier to rescue him with a boat hook if he goes overboard. Add a ''handle'' to the back of the harness. Arf Arf ;-)

SailingChrs 03-09-2002 10:11 AM

Dogs on sailboats- long question
also another good thing about the green astro turf, is when you are on a longer passage & have been in rough weather for a couple of days, you can put the carpet in the shower area, or the cockpit, so you dont have to drag your poor dog out on the bow in unsafe conditions. I also have water activated strope flasher on my dogs PFD''s (puppy flotation device) in case they fall overboard @ night.
Good luck with the new little one, I wouldnt sail w/out my dogs, they are the best company around & free entertainement.

Raindance 03-11-2002 08:23 PM

Dogs on sailboats- long question
If you are willing to do a bit of seaching, you can go back to my 6/19/01 entry that discusses my long cruise with two golden retrievers. It is quite lengthy and in two parts. The only part that is not addressed is how to get a dog to go to the bathroom on the foredeck. We got some scented puppy training pads, which may or may not have helped, but they didn''t hurt. Everyone I''ve ever talked to has said that it took 2-3 days of their dog "holding it" before they let go. Then it was easy from then out.

I would absolutely recommend taking your dog cruising unless going to British or formerly British islands. Most other places, they are welcome and can be a real pleasure to have with you.

golden 03-20-2002 05:47 PM

Dogs on sailboats- long question
We have an 8 yr old Dalmation which started "boat" training while she was a puppy. She loves it, it''s like her second home. When traveling to the Bahamas a couple on years age, we bought 2 flats of grass plugs and bungeed them to the aft deck. She would wet on them, but could never get her to do #2. Anyway I have a question that someone may know. After leaving Miami on the ICW to the keys , is there a place where we can take our dog ashore before Key Largo?

onewind4us 11-05-2008 10:26 PM

Rescued English Setters
RichH, I know this is way old but I happened to be reading about trainning dogs to use turf and noticed that your reply mentioned rescued english setters. Could you give me some information on where you rescue them or find homes for them? I used to have two about 15 years ago and they were wonderful dogs. They are quite hard to find in Oregon and I would be interested in possibly adopting one sometime.

camaraderie 11-06-2008 09:43 AM

onewind...welcome aboard...note this thread dates to 2002 and the posters are no longer here.

Undine 11-06-2008 03:09 PM

farmboy 11-06-2008 08:24 PM


Pet adoption: Want a dog or cat? Adopt a pet on Petfinder

I just searched Dog, English Setter, OR and 4 came up. We found our dog through this site. Have you adopted before?

RNGypsy03 10-31-2010 09:31 AM

Sailboat dogs
I realize this thread is older however I wanted to leave a post anyway.*

I cruised for 2 years straight with 2 children, 2 golden retrievers, and a rescued cat. We lived aboard a 35' Coronado with a center cockpit. My children still talk about it being the best two years of their lives.*

As for the dogs, I can think of no better situation for them. They swam daily, twice. actually. They played on islands with other cruising dogs. They were also working dogs with a job, which was Anchor Watch, which they took very seriously. Once at 3AM, *when 2 men attempted to board us while we lay sleeping at anchor. *The dogs alerted me with enough time to reach for, and engage my 12 gauge shot gun. Who knows what would have happened had the dogs not been there?

There are a few little accommodations one must make when having a canine companion animal aboard. I'm a big fan of the AstroTurf method for potty-ing while under weigh. I also believe a good system for reboarding in case of accidental overboard is a must!! *I have a great way to accomplish this for both sailing dogs and cats.*

Currently we are re-fitting a 32' Endeavor for another cruise through the islands. We plan to leave the US early spring of 2011, with hopes of being below the 11th parallel before hurricaine season. This time we will be traveling with one of the previous Golden Retrievers and a Shihtzu. *(who thinks he is a retriever as well. * Shhhhhhhh don't tell him !!)

Our dogs have started a blog, and are detailing the trip from their point of view. I invite you to read along, as we make the big island circuit once again! *Here is the website: *please sign up to follow, leave comments, or whatever.. We would love to meet check it out at sailboatdog dot com.*** See you there!


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