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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.

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post #1 of 13 Old 09-09-2018 Thread Starter
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my dog is my child

Hi guys, I have an italian greyhound, in the future Id like to bring him on a weekend trip. Those who sail on trips with dogs, how do you let them relieve themselves if they gotta go while your underway? do you have a fake turf or something they use?
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-28-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

The grass mat is an interesting idea. I think when they have to go they'll do and then you just have to splash it down with a bucket after? Or make port more often than you otherwise would.

I would look for a youtube video on the grass mat training. People do long haul sailing with dogs, but as a sailor and dog owner i never thought anything more than day sailing is fair to the animal really. Still....depends on the dog. Some might love it and adapt well.

Good luck and let us know what you find works!
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-28-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

We tried training our Labrador to use a patch of Astro Turf without success. She'd just hold out till we let in and took her to shore.. Finally went on a short cruise and she held out for two days but eventually couldn't hold it. She took a dump on the foredeck, after that one time, no more issues with her when sailing. She'd usually go on the leeward side when sailing and the foredeck at anchor. A pooper scooper to get the solids over the side and a bucket of saltwater to clean anything remaining and all was fine. She made the passage to the Marquesas without any problems.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

I think it is even harder to go on the cruise with a dog. This is one of the reasons why we still don't have one.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

We got two Westies when they were pups and being on the boat was normal to them. We of course would would walk them as frequently as we could. They knew it was alright to do their biz on the deck... we would pick it up, dispose of it ashore or wash the pee with sea water. Under way they would relieve themselves if they had to go... on the cockpit floor. We got small dogs because they were easier to deal with on the boat. They really loved cruising.
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

We used the AstroTurf for 9 years on a circumnavigation without any problems at all, but the dog came aboard as a young puppy.
I'm not at all sure how it would work out to bring a bigger mature dog, that was used to open spaces (back yards and parks, etc.) and running about a lot, into the confining environment of a boat. It might be a bit cruel.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-11-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

Cruel is a relative term and a personal value judgement.

The love of a person for their dog and the unrestrictive love of the dog for their owner knows no bounds of size.

Mr Thor our German Shorthaired Pointer was a fixture on my first keelboat. He was turf patch trained and we'd go ashore frequently for his runs. I am a weekend warrior though and a few long trips mixed in

Nothing more striking than pulling into an Anchorage with proud MR Thor watching the birds and leading g the boat on the bow holding a point.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-12-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

I think dog and cat owners might suffer from some sort of bias. In most cases, not all, it has seemed the pet is there for the owner's emotional enjoyment and the pet has little use for it. I think we delude ourselves into thinking the pet loves it, at least more often than not. They might, but I'm not convinced most of the time. How would you like to hold it in for two days.

I don't take for granted that the pet isn't just pleasing their one and only source of food and shelter and we interpret it as love and enjoyment.

Had a friend with a black Lab that dove off their boat and swam to shore, underway, when they passed a spit of land. They could not make landfall there and had to call a friend to go retrieve the dog. He wouldn't go sailing without the dog.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-12-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

Dogs don't love boats... it's an alien environment. Mine loved the fact that they were taken to places on land which interested their doggie minds. Keeping an animal in an environment hostile to their well being is a bit cruel.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-13-2019
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Re: my dog is my child

This must vary from dog to dog. I've seen some dogs that certainly seem to enjoy a boat ride.

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