I am considering buying a boat this winter and would like to get some input from other boat owners on how they handle day and weekend trips with their dogs.
- The potty problem seems to be the least concerns, because from what I read, most dogs can be trained to just "do" it on the deck, which can be washed off with a bucket of water (or picked up with a bag, if it's not too "thin")
- Do dogs get sea-sick? Do they usually enjoy sailing? Of course, it depends on the dog and maybe the breed, but maybe there's a general rule that dogs simply don't like sailing - period? Are special lifelines required to prevent the dog from accidentally going overboard? What about heeling? Do they handle heeling well? I would like to try it out first hand, but all charters in my area do not allow pets.
- What to do with a dog, when you want to go on land in the summer? For example to a restaurant or bar where dogs are not permitted? Leaving the dog in an non-air conditioned cabin doesn't seem to be an option. Are fans in the cockpit maybe be an option to keep the temperature down? Or are there maybe bimini/tent-like solutions that allow the dog to stay in the cockpit? I have taken numerous camping trips and left the dog in the tent for a short amount of time (in adequate shade and with fans) without a problem.
- So, I think I answered my question already myself: It looks like air conditioning is the only good option. Are there any good after-market air conditioning solutions? If so, where can I find more information?
I would very much like to hear from other boaters and their sailing experience with dogs.
BTW, my dog is a Boxer, which are very sensitive when it comes to heat anyway, so I would like to make the sailing trips as enjoyable for her as for the rest of the crew.
Thank you very much!
(CAPTION: FAT WORTLESS DOG AND SKINNY WORTHLESS DOG)
I just realized that we have ALWAYS had dogs on board, from beginners to live aboards. Though we lost one schnauzer, we still have the old fella and he now has a fat English Bulldog to keep him company (which he would happily push overboard).
Be that as it may, Bulldogs I think are one of the most heat sensitive breeds I know of and she is fine out in the cockpit. Someone mentioned getting a life jacket and I STRONGLY URGE you to do that. It will not take them long to drown once they fall in - no matter how good of a swimmer they are.
Our Bully seems to get a bit sea sick until she has been aboard a while. Scooter could care less. But Scooter has been on a boat almost all of his life (14-15 yrs in Nov). Our other Schnauzer did not get sea sick.
Yes, you can teach any dog to poop on board. Just dont take them to shore and sooner or later an accident will happen. I am sure there is piles of informatio non this, but we realized that they like to poop right after eating. Encouraging that is the trick to a happy boating experience. That being said, we always try to plan our trips so that we can get the dogs to shore - and at a shore it is accepted. If you take the dog with you, you will (or at least we do) have to plan around the dog too. In that respect, it is very much like having kids.
A boat with a/c and gen can be quite expensive. You can get by with just a/c but will only be good at the marina, (obviously). That may not be a big deal because if there is no breeze and it is scorching hot, are you going to be sailing anyways?? Nah, you gonna stayed parked at the marina!!
Your best bet is just making sure you have a nice covered bimini to keep pups cool. Keep water out and splash them in the heat of summer if necessary.
I think that answers all of your questions. Dogs are both a pain and a pleasure to take sailing. Which one it is for you depends on you - honestly.
Welcome aboard, by the way.