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I was going to get a monkey and teach it how to steer, but we fixed our autopilot, so no need.

Now we're thinking of getting a dog. Anyone have any opinions on particular breeds that are more suited for sailing?
 

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Get one that will swim to shore , do his business and swim back with no help.
 

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This is my Miniature Australian Shepherd, Nate. He made the trip from Annapolis to the Bahamas and back with us. We trained him to use a mat called a "Pup Head" and did not have to transport him to shore for business.

Whatever you pick needs to be big enough to get up and down the companionway by itself or small enough to lift. Nate negotiated the companionway and could get out of a dingy and onboard by himself if we held the dingy against the boarding platform.

He loved the trip. Nate's mother just had another litter, you can see the pups at Welcome and thanks for visiting Great Companions and a picture diary of our trip is at Split Decision


 

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This is my Miniature Australian Shepherd, Nate. He made the trip from Annapolis to the Bahamas and back with us. We trained him to use a mat called a "Pup Head" and did not have to transport him to shore for business.

Whatever you pick needs to be big enough to get up and down the companionway by itself or small enough to lift. Nate negotiated the companionway and could get out of a dingy and onboard by himself if we held the dingy against the boarding platform.

He loved the trip. Nate's mother just had another litter, you can see the pups at Welcome and thanks for visiting Great Companions and a picture diary of our trip is at Split Decision

I too have a somewhat miniature Australian Shepard. Great dog. Smart, friendly and always trying to please. 1 year old now. He does chew things occasionally at home so I haven't brought him on the boat yet. (Some things shouldn't be chewed.)

I do wonder if he'll treat hoses the same way he treats dolls, pens and anything plastic. How does your Austrian Shepard do with chewing?
 

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We took plenty of chew bones, chips ,toys and rope bones with us and had no problem. He does like to chew driftwood, but never touched any part of the boat. He really liked the beach and playing in the surf.

We were a little concerned that he wouldn't handle periods of inactivity when we were moving, but it was not an issue. When we had a place to play, I would take him ashore and throw a ball or water toy for him for 15-20 minutes and that did the job.

He was a pleasure to have aboard. He did most of his traveling in the dog bed in the picture or sitting next to me at the helm. The dog bed was attached to the boat and he had to wear a harness with a teather when underway. We never left him unattended on deck.

Offshore, we kept him below at night or if it was rough unless he needed to come up to visit his pup head.
 

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Before we leave the dock...


When she is not playing Queen of the world on the bow, she is by my feet...
 

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It depends: do you need the dog only to steer the boat when the autopilot breaks - or must it be capable to repair the autopilot?
You would be better off with a monkey.

For long nights in secluded anchorages some Sail Netters recommend sheep, not dogs.
 

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Don't get a short-nosed breed (pug, bulldog, etc)...gets way too hot for them.

While mine makes a good companion (his clownish ways are good entertainment), he can only go in the evening or fall when it's cooler.

 

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We took plenty of chew bones, chips ,toys and rope bones with us and had no problem. He does like to chew driftwood, but never touched any part of the boat. He really liked the beach and playing in the surf.

We were a little concerned that he wouldn't handle periods of inactivity when we were moving, but it was not an issue. When we had a place to play, I would take him ashore and throw a ball or water toy for him for 15-20 minutes and that did the job.

He was a pleasure to have aboard. He did most of his traveling in the dog bed in the picture or sitting next to me at the helm. The dog bed was attached to the boat and he had to wear a harness with a teather when underway. We never left him unattended on deck.

Offshore, we kept him below at night or if it was rough unless he needed to come up to visit his pup head.
Excellent post. Bring chew toys and harness. Got it!
 

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We took plenty of chew bones, chips ,toys and rope bones with us and had no problem. He does like to chew driftwood, but never touched any part of the boat. He really liked the beach and playing in the surf.

We were a little concerned that he wouldn't handle periods of inactivity when we were moving, but it was not an issue. When we had a place to play, I would take him ashore and throw a ball or water toy for him for 15-20 minutes and that did the job.

He was a pleasure to have aboard. He did most of his traveling in the dog bed in the picture or sitting next to me at the helm. The dog bed was attached to the boat and he had to wear a harness with a teather when underway. We never left him unattended on deck.

Offshore, we kept him below at night or if it was rough unless he needed to come up to visit his pup head.
Herb,

How much does Nate shed, and about what does he weigh? Thanks.
 

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I am going to throw my 2 cents in. We have a 11 years old blond LAB who name is nutmeg or meg for short. She weights in at 100 pounds which I agree is a big dog for a boat. She been on the boat from the time she was a pup. She is good company to have aboard.

Several years ago, I found myself treading water in the Hudson river (link to story below) guess who was the first to my rescue. Good Job Meg.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/8103-can-happen.html
 

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Don't get a Genius BullDOG... if you have to ask, you'll be regretting it. :)
 

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Herb,

How much does Nate shed, and about what does he weigh? Thanks.
Aussies are double coated dogs, like a lot of the herding and sporting breeds so they need to be brushed. They are not too bad, but do shed and they are long haired dogs. We just vacuumed it up and didn't worry about it. Our small portable Orec Vacuum would run on the inverter, so it wasn't a problem even when we were not running the genset or on shore power.

Nate is a Mini Aussie, but a big one. The mini's are supposed to be not more than 18" at the shoulders, Nate is almost 20" and weights about 45 pounds.
 

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Aussies are double coated dogs, like a lot of the herding and sporting breeds so they need to be brushed. They are not too bad, but do shed and they are long haired dogs. We just vacuumed it up and didn't worry about it. Our small portable Orec Vacuum would run on the inverter, so it wasn't a problem even when we were not running the genset or on shore power.

Nate is a Mini Aussie, but a big one. The mini's are supposed to be not more than 18" at the shoulders, Nate is almost 20" and weights about 45 pounds.
Mine is the same breed and smaller (only a year old). I rarely notice any hair around the house. In short, shedding is maybe a little more than having a few people around. My wife got us the (somewhat) miniture Austrialian shephard after about a year of research, from a place in Florida. He arrived via Delta airlines.

Now I have a friend with a golden retreiver. I once grabbed some of his fur gently and a whole handfull of hair came out. It was like grabbing a stack of straws. More hair in a handful than you could imagine possible -- a wonder the dog wasn't bald. (Really like golden retreivers though.)
 

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Not for nothing, but the lighter-haired one looks pretty happy. It must be something about the venue and the platform he's sitting on.
 

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Yeah, I want that Portuguese Water Dog sopping wet on my boat! Oh yeah, just what I want. Something about wet dog and confined space doesn't sound like fun. (g)
 
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