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uri 06-04-2002 08:56 PM

Dogs on boats.
We are thinking on getting a dog, may be a golden retriver or a labrador or..., we have a 40 ft boat, two kids 6 and 8 years, I am a little bit nervous about taking the dog with us on our weekends or vacation (3 week cruise). Any sugestions or experience on how to handle and what brand of dog will you recomend? Please I need imput....Thanks

jmedina2 06-06-2002 08:17 AM

Dogs on boats.
Hello Uri,
Try these links:

Hope this helps,

lecarp 06-09-2002 10:27 AM

Dogs on boats.
Dogs can be great aboard, I live aboard with my dog Gypsy, (a mixed breed) she is the second pup I have shared life aboard with. My suggestion would be a smaller breed than a lab, a big dog can be hard to get on and off the boat, also short hair will be a blessing for you and the dog (in warmer climates).
Good luck with your new crew.

Lee & Gypsy
S/V Alaris
in the Fla. Panhandle

uri 06-10-2002 10:25 AM

Dogs on boats.
Well thank you ....I am still looking and thinking on it....

MaryBeth 06-10-2002 11:16 PM

Dogs on boats.


Please do not hesitate about taking your dog with you on weekend trips, etc. Having been onboard with everything from cockers to labs to old english sheepdogs (and cats), please don''t let your fears get in the way.

Labs are water dogs, yes, but - they (like us) have no idea how to get back on a boat without being shown, so teach your pup early, either how to come to the transom to get lifted up, or how to come to a swim ladder you install (and with kids, a swim ladder is a great idea anyway). At least while it is a pup, keep a life jacket on him or her. Yes, they can swim, but not forever. I myself have dived overboard to retrieve an exuberant spaniel.

Bottomline is, teach your pup (whether a lab or a yorkie or spaniel(my fav - can you tell?) to come to the boat where he or she can get back aboard (like you would your kids - and a ladder will help). I have watched many liveaboard dogs swim back and forth in marinas for exercise, but they always knew which boats they could go to to get out of the water.

Try to find your dream girl (or guy) at a shelter.

If not, besides labs, (and I had many labs and shepherds and Malinois myself growing up) please look into Portuguese water dogs and Newfoundlands, in addition to a lab. They have a much stronger water instinct and water rescue instinct than even labs do (believe it or not). A Portuguese water dog may be a delightful addition to your family, if you can afford it. And especially if you do plan on doing a lot of sailing with your kids. They are so at home in the water, hold up much better swimming even when pups, and have a natural protective instinct, which your kids would benefit from in and out of the water. But, they are playful clowns at home on land, too. So are Newfoundlands, but they are much bigger dogs, and harder to keep due to their size.

Hope this helps. Don''t think that Labs are the only breed of dog that are kid friendly and great water dogs. Consider the Portuguese water dog.

Best Wishes,

bullseye 06-12-2002 11:47 PM

Dogs on boats.
my advice is to get the dog used to the water,dont just chuck the dog off the boat or jetty!,let him discover the water for himself, you go in (on a calm beach,or river) in first then let him come to can throw a stick out too,just in the ankle deep shallows first,then a few inches further each time,until he has to swim to get it.this could take weeks or days.dont push the dog.& praise him heavily each time he gets the stick back.

a little life-jacket is a must too!,he could panic if he falls overboard & tire himself out, before you can retrieve him.

good luck

Nereus32 06-29-2002 01:25 PM

Dogs on boats.
With our lab, a life jacket is a necessity. With out it, I''d have no handle with which to get her out of the water. Our double-ended Westail has a lot of freeboard and there is no swim platform. With the life jacket, Sadie swims over and I snag the handle with boat hook and up she comes!

When anchored in a cove, her potty breaks are scheduled at the begining and end of each day, so as not to cause an interuption of the day. First thing after breakfast, I load her into the dingy and ashore we go. In the course of the day, there always seems another opportunity for her to get a break. After dinner, she gets fed and run ashore again.

In general, we follow the same rituals as home, so she has adapted very well. She loves love the water, sailing, and the boat and we love having her with us. She is part of the family. I highly recommend it.

Now, our cat is a different story!

Good luck.

MaryBeth 07-01-2002 11:43 PM

Dogs on boats.

How absolutely lovely, Nereus!!!

I have known many liveabords with cats. Evidently they are not the bad luck onboard as some stories portray them.

Fair Winds,

Nereus32 07-03-2002 05:20 AM

Dogs on boats.
I agree. I actually think cats are better suited to the liveaboard lifestyle than dogs and I certainly wouldn''t want to encourage people to exclude them. However, our cat just doesn''t seem to appreciate the finer things in life.

sroth 07-17-2002 05:46 AM

Dogs on boats.
I have a 75 pound Black Lab who is having problems with our Beneteau 381''s steps (going up from belowdecks to the cockpit). The angle seems to be too steep. We have put non-slip pads over the teak, but again, it''s the angle and layout of the steps that is making it difficult. We have to lift him up, which is not easy! He generally is very light on his feet and is a great sailing dog, but this is our one problem. Does anyone know if these steps can be modified to help him manage? We would be interested how other large dog owners handle this issue. Thanks!


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