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Old 04-27-2006
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futurecruiser is on a distinguished road
Puppy on board

Actually, I think it's better to start with a dog that's not so perfectly house-trained - else you won't be able to get him to go on the boat when he has to. When we started sailing, our first dog was already 9 years old and would never go on the boat - always waited for shore. Poor guy. He had to be put to sleep at age 15 in the fall of 05. We really wanted another dog so got a puppy (mixed, from a shelter - please don't get a dog from a pet store, most of them are from puppy mills) There are tons of dogs at shelters that need homes. Anyways, we were on shore for the winter during his initial training but in the spring we had him on the boat. He was still young and small so couldn't hold it forever - this works to your advantage. Put him up on deck, or wherever you want him to go, often and sooner or later he'll go there. Big praises and biscuits! We even got him to do #2 there as well. We still take him ashore twice daily to stretch his legs, but he's also boat trained as well. And we crate him when we need to. He never used the fake grass or puppy pads we got for him. I do think it's a little confusing for them but he got the hang of it. Just lots of praise when he goes! We keep a canvas bucket handy for washdown.
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Old 04-27-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
I'd advocate getting a dog from the shelters too. They have some really wonderful dogs there, like the little one I inherited from my ex. He's a Chihuahua mix and is abnormal in that he isn't really yappy, aggressive or have any of the other normally annoying little dog traits. He has learned to use pads, and doesn't seem to get carsick or seasick any more.
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Old 10-03-2006
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I know this is not really an answer on how to boat-train a puppy, but I feel I must offer some advice regarding pet-store puppies. As to the suggestion to buy a puppy that's house-trained already from a pet store....NOT!!!! (at least this is highly unlikely!) As a veterinarian I have heard the most complaints from people having difficulty house-training puppies coming from pet store enviroments. Generally these puppies are NOT taken out and "pottied" regularly to help them to learn not to soil in their crates. Also, pet store puppies tend to be expensive and most often come from "puppy mills" and not reputable breeders, so inherited health issues tend to pop up more frequently. Puppy mills only look for profit...most reputable breeders will do whatever they can to decrease genetic defects in their lines. If more people would AVOID going into pet stores who sell puppies, perhaps the puppy mills of the world would go out of business. Who wouldn't want to "rescue" these adorable, sad, little caged up creatures! My advice in looking for a purebred puppy...LOOK FOR A REPUTABLE BREEDER!!! Or if your heart is not set on one breed, find a wonderful "mutt" at a shelter and give it a good a great home!
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Old 10-05-2006
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My 9 year old Brittany "Gromit" his grandfather is Wallace, was trained to go on the fore deck early on when he was a pup but we have been boatless since until this past summer and while out sailing the first day I worried about getting Gromet ashore after about 5 hours sailing but Gromet remembered and knew just where to go!

Since however, and while cruising, I take him ashore in the tender as often as possible. He's a great boat dog, sea legs and all!
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Old 10-08-2006
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Another "2 cents" for adding a puppy to your family. I agree with the concensus that you're truly saving a life by rescuing a pet from the pound or a breed specific rescue DON'T BUY FROM A PET STORE. BUT, it is not humane to the dog to add them to your family if you're planning on being away from land for extended periods of time. To really be fair to the dog you should only adopt him if you're coastal cruising and will give him the ability to get to shore at least 2x a day. If you're going to be blue-water cruising think about an alternative like a cat (ugh) or even a parrot with dog like personalities. Small pups (jack russell types) are appropriately sized but their energy levels don't make them good pets in tight environments (thats why they are so popular with the horse folks... lots of energy). We're presently dealing with two geriatric dobies and one 2 year old Hurricane Wilma adoption that we're hoping converts to a boat dog for our winter migration to the Keys. If we're going to be off-shore for more than a day or so we put the dogs best interests first and have a dog sitter stay at the house!!!! Good Luck!!
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Old 10-21-2006
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True Blue,
The passing of a pet is a hard time for all involved as the pet brings so much happiness into the family circle. The second hardest thing is to go out and find a NEW pet. sometimes when we do just that we tend to think the pet will be just as good as the one that has passed. Before you start give yourself some time to get over the past animals passing.
When you are emotionally ready to once again have a pet enter your life understand that dogs (pets) are like people and each is different tann the other.
On a boat it is up to you what sort of dog to have on board. I have two Bernese Mountain Dogs. The oldest is 3 and about 100 lbs, the youngest is now II mos and about 60 lbs. Our boat is a Mac 26M. A lot of dog for a little boat. It is just me and the bride and the two dogs.
Having trained dogs for 37 years for the FED Gov I found out that all training takes time and you need positive reinforcement to bring out the correct behavior.
If you have house trained your dog use the same method that you used before but bring it down to the boat limitations just like the house training. Think of the boat as the house. Keep in mind that the only place for the dog to go is on the boat while underway. Segrate and area of the boat where you can let the dog go , a place that is not in your way and easy to keep clean. Find a way to give the dog a safe area to go and make sure you are there in case of a problem. Make sure the animal also wears a PFD in case it takes a swim. Keep an eye on the dog for signs of distress or signs of having to go. take the animal to that area, let it do it's thing, praise the animal and give it a treat for a good job. Now clean the area. you might want to use a prescented item to get the idea where to go so Fido can please you.
Attempt to give the animal enough time on shore before you cast off. While under way watch the animal for signs of needed relief. Give the animal shore time when you can. Monitor and control food and water intake remembering what enters has to leave at sometime. If the animal has an accident don't get crazy just correct the animal by taking it to it safe area and praise it if it voids itself.
It takes time and in time the animal will accomplish what you want it to do. Keep in mind that a pup normally can hold itself about one hour for each hour alive. Example my Berner pup is now and can or expected to hold tight up to 11 hours depending on it's intake. We never go that distance as I feel it is to much to ask but it can be done. Sometimes you will find that a bitch has a bladder that might not be fully functional or even a tad weaker than a male the same age. On the other hand a non neutered male has the tendency to mark its area.
So all in all, get a dog box, puppy pads ,outdoor carpet even a presoiled carpet (2x3 0r 3x3 ft section) from home and use it on the deck of the boat. When the animal voids wash it with water over the side, let dry and reuse. Attaching some roap helps in the washing as well as securing the item. Praise the animal when it voids in its safe area and correct it when it has an accident.
Good luck and when all is done you and the pup will live on a happy note

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