Sailing with a dog - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-18-2012 Thread Starter
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Sailing with a dog

I was just wondering how it would be sailing long distances with a dog. A little terrier.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-18-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

Many are doing this. The key is to train the little pup to do his business on deck in such a way as to make it easy for you to clean. Train him at the dock so it will be natural once required. Of course, this assumes that hte dog itself is comfortable with sailing in the first place. Some are terrified by it. My neighbor has two dogs and the one they have to leave home because of anxiety. Our dog has no problem with living aboard and sailing. He generally sleeps.

I was at a high end boat yard a few weeks ago and they had built a custom patch of real grass about 8'x8' for the dog to go on. He never used it an would always go on deck right next to teh grass. Of course this was not a problem for the owner as he just had one of the crew clean it up.

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post #3 of 9 Old 09-18-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

Tim makes some good points. I'd also like to add that since it is a terrier (and may be a high energy dog) you might want to think about getting him good and tired the first couple times you bring him aboard. That way he's content to sit by your side or lay at your feet. After he's calm the first couple times from being tired chances are he'll just calm down eveytime he gets on the boat cause he's in the habit of it.

The only other thing to think about is if you are going international. This has been discussed on other threads before so you can get more info if you search. But generally it seems it is a PITA to take a dog to a foreign country.


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post #4 of 9 Old 09-18-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

We cruised for two years with our Cocker aboard.

Tim's suggestion about toilet training cannot be overstated -- ignore it at you own peril (OK, maybe not peril but certainly peace of mind.)
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-20-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

I was wondering too how this one goes. I'll keep this in mind. Thanks Tim for the tips and advice.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-20-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

Since I just day sail with my three dogs so it isn't a big deal but I gave an old portable putting artificial grass on board(like at the driving range). Having a little bit of urine scent on it the dogs can use it if we are out for an extended time. My long-haired dachshunds are quite comfortable aboard but do go in the cabin if my 24 C&C lists too much of it is too hot! The one likes to **** his leg on the rigging when we get back to port but that's no big deal! Life jackets are a must with these guys as they like to walk the deck. I'll get some comments from the other club sailors if I'm down below and they see the dogs sailing the boat! They make a good crew as they never threaten to mutiny!
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-20-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailing with a dog

Lots of good info thanks for the quick response. Well i'm getting out of the navy pretty soon, i'm going to school on the sore and living on a boat and sail the summer months(my plan at least). cant wait to get a dog tho, cant really look after a pup when your haze gray and under way!

But until the day of reckoning come when my plan can commence I will be looking to you sailing gurus for guidance haha.

Thanks again, Forrest.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-20-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

As in most cases it totally depends on the animal...

Our dog, a 37 lb sheltie/lab mix would rather explode than crap where she
should not. A very very big plus...

We use a piece of astro turf. She'll find it NO matter where it's located. Good weather it's on the bow, bad it's in the cockpit...Attach grommets and tow behind to clean...
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-20-2012
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Re: Sailing with a dog

So our dog Dexter is a 40lbs English Staffie. He loves sailing, it totally tires him out with all the waves and motion (at least in big seas), when the waves and swell are down below 6 ft we need to keep an eye on him, because he will wander the deck when we are not paying attention. So get them a life jacket and or a harness.

Train him/her that it is ok to sh!@ near or on the house (like a deck). You should have no issue transitioning to the boat.

Dogs are the best defence system on a boat (even small ones) the locals in the Caribbean are deathly afraid of them and they are early alert systems.

You can buy dog food everywhere, just not the kind they like. If your dog is picky about food, that might be an issue.

Getting in and out of the dingy can be an issue if your freeboard is too high.

try and get them to not pee into the open hatches

have a wash down hose

Marinas and other cruisers can get real fussy about dogs. It is a huge PITA.

We took Dex for two passages so far, a 4 day passage and a 7 day one. He was fine. If you can find a water dish that doesn't spill.. bonus!
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