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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girl tossed an anchor at me that may limit future cruising. My girlfriend (for all practical purposes wife) wanted a dog. I love dogs, but know life is easier without them. And I told her what I thought but also I would not stop her from getting one, and would be nice to it if she got one. So she got a pup, and having been just removed from his mother and siblings and the only humans it knew, it was really upset and confused when it first came home.

We let him sleep with us the first night, and it fell out of bed in the pitch black and started to weep, if a dog can weep. My girlfriend picked him up to comfort him, but he pulled away and came to me. He held his head to my chest and stopped sobbing and we fell asleep with his head on my chest. Long story short, he is now my dog, or I am his human.

So he is 50% German Shepard, and the other half roughly equally Great Pyrenees and Rottweiler. So not a small dog: he turns 6 months next week and is 70lbs. So I see nothing but pitfalls in taking him sailing. Maybe day sailing not so much, but I see cruising, even weekend cruising as a problem. The upside, he is a really smart dog, and he can hold going to the bathroom for a long time - ten or twelve hours.

Does anyone here cruise with a dog or know anyone that does? I am hoping it is not as bad as I imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I just saw the recommended reading below. That is a great feature for the site!!! Shows me I should have searched first.
 

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Everyone should do what brings them joy. Having a dog on a boat is not one for me. Love dogs, but I had a friends dog aboard for sundowners years back and I was amazed how much hair was in the cockpit, when the sun came up the next day.

There are plenty of people that do it, so there must be many ideas on how to do it best. Remember that pets can get seasick too.
 

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I am always amazed at how many people go cruising with their dogs, even on relatively small boats. A friend of mine just got a part Burmese Mountain dog pup that has already hit 80lbs and he plans on taking it cruising on his J30!

The biggest thingcI hear from friends cruising with dogs is they are always looking for opportunities to get the dog ashore. If you are dock cruising it is easy, but if you are anchoring out it takes more planning.

Most dogs I know LOVE dinghy rides!

I grew up with dogs. I love dogs, but personally I wouldn't want the hassle of having one on the boat!

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Years back, my friends were out for their multi week cruise and were heading up the coast. They got close enough to shore, at one point enroute, their dog jumped in and swam to shore. They had to stop, call a friend to go get the dog and keep him for the duration, until they got back.
 

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I have read articles that state the following, most dogs do not like boats, but they love being with there humans. The bathroom breaks for the dog would be a royal pain for me. As stated, at the dock is easy, at anchor, it could be a challenge. You can always get a TRUSTED dog sitter.
 

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Congrats, He's a very handsome Dog! You'll figure it out, because at this point you look like a team! My Girl is about 55 lbs. I'm in a slip, and she knows where her boat is. I Let her out at the car and she heads down the ramps and the dock and hops on. The boat is not her happy place, but she tolerates it for me. I haven't taken her on a cruise yet, but like yours she's got a better bladder than I do. So, I don't think it would be an issue to do an 8 -10 hour trip to a port and then dinghy or launch ashore. On day sails, I'll go out for 3-5 hours with her and she just relaxes on her cushion. She won't go below on her own, I think stairs appear too steep for her, I haven't trained her to do that yet, because she sheds alot. I put her in day care when I work a long day ( although less often now since she's great at home on her own) or boarding if I do a Boat Delivery. I think it really helped her socialize with other dogs. She loves the people there and gets really excited when we pull up to the center, so for a weekend trip boarding could be an option if you find the right place.
 

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Many, many years back our Doberman Pinscher lived with my dad and stepmom on their sailboat for years. He wasn't raised on it, but he was used to the water. They were offshore sometimes and taught him a "place" to do his bizness on the deck that was okay. He was 80-90 lbs so was not in any way small dog. Albeit they had a 47' sailboat, so it offered some space. I didn't catch what size boat you are on. Sorry I wish I had pics of those times, that was before everyone had a camera/video in their pocket.
 

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I did most of a circumnavigation with a German Shepherd/Rhodesian Ridgeback , that moved aboard when she was a puppy. Never got seasick, and wouldn't 'go' ashore when she was allowed to go ashore. From day one we had a meter square of Astroturf, that was roped all the way around with maybe 10 feet of line coming off one corner. After she did her business, we'd toss it overboard (at anchor or underway) and it would clean itself fairly quickly.
We just recently took in a pot hound as a foster dog, but fell in love and adopted her. She is the sweetest girl and it took only 3 days to train her to the Astroturf, so most dogs could also be easily trained. She's only 20# and a tripod named Pi, but she is now a member of our family. So far no seasickness, but she hasn't been tested beyond some nasty wakes.
Good luck with your 4 legged friend.
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I have been sailing with my 55 pound Basset Hound for most of the last 14 years or so. It is not overly convenient, but its doable.

We do our own version of cruising, we sail mostly forested wetlands and rivers. Shore is rarely far. Our boat is fully beachable, so we will stop up on the river bank or in a marsh to let him run around every few hours. At night we will stop at a lock station or river bank. The dog is a poor swimmer so he wears a PFD.

As far as I know he likes the boat fine and aside from wanting to get to shore periodically he isn't a bother.
2021-01-31_09-36-10.jpg
 

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The dog is a poor swimmer so he wears a PFD.
Great idea. All dogs should really have one. Just like humans, they could give out, before you get them back. More importantly, however, is the handle that is commonly on the back of canine pfds. Paniced dogs often bite, out of fear. The recovery is better, if they can be reached behind their head.
 
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My girl tossed an anchor at me that may limit future cruising. My girlfriend (for all practical purposes wife) wanted a dog. I love dogs, but know life is easier without them. And I told her what I thought but also I would not stop her from getting one, and would be nice to it if she got one. So she got a pup, and having been just removed from his mother and siblings and the only humans it knew, it was really upset and confused when it first came home.

We let him sleep with us the first night, and it fell out of bed in the pitch black and started to weep, if a dog can weep. My girlfriend picked him up to comfort him, but he pulled away and came to me. He held his head to my chest and stopped sobbing and we fell asleep with his head on my chest. Long story short, he is now my dog, or I am his human.

So he is 50% German Shepard, and the other half roughly equally Great Pyrenees and Rottweiler. So not a small dog: he turns 6 months next week and is 70lbs. So I see nothing but pitfalls in taking him sailing. Maybe day sailing not so much, but I see cruising, even weekend cruising as a problem. The upside, he is a really smart dog, and he can hold going to the bathroom for a long time - ten or twelve hours.

Does anyone here cruise with a dog or know anyone that does? I am hoping it is not as bad as I imagine.
Sweet story. You realize that the dog will now sleep in your bed, or rather he will allow you to sleep in his bed, pretty much forever, right? I made the same mistake with my cute little puppy and now I sleep on 1/4 of my bed!

I imagine sailing with a dog will be a lot like sailing with children, mostly fun but intermittently annoying. Just take the time to train him how to behave on the boat. Don’t just think he’ll figure it out on his own. A well trained dog is a happy dog. Our plan is to introduce our dog slowly, take him on the boat for short periods while docked, play with him- lots of praise and lots of treats so he associates the boat with fun and happiness, and show him where he can be and where he can’t, then slowly introduce things like starting the motor and moving the boat. The last thing you want is for his first experience to scare him- you may never be able to train that fear out of him.


I lost my 15 year old Old English Sheepdog about a year and a half ago. He was not a sailor ( sorry, Scuppers is a lie). Anyway when I recovered enough to think about getting a new dog we specifically looked for a breed that would work well on a sailboat. We ended up with a mini Australian Shepard. He’s only about 45 pounds but an absolutely amazing athlete, ladders don’t phase him at all. And he’s absolutely happy to do anything we’re doing, so hopefully it’ll work well. This will be our first summer sailing with him. We are currently shopping for a PFD for him if anyone has any suggestions.


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the great replies and thanks for sharing the pics of your dogs. I am relieved to hear that others do it and appreciate hearing how you do it. Capta Pi looks like a great dog. Are the booties so she doesn't scratch the boat? My friend has a three legged Lab named Trip. She has a cruel sense of humor but loves the dog. Dreadpiratekevin, surprisingly he doesn't like to sleep on the bed anymore. I think we kicked him around too much, but I swear it is because my girlfriend snores. I got earplugs but the dog won't use them.
 

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30 years ago my GF wanted and old English Sheep dog... lovely animal she was - Pookie... but getting her even as a pup onto the boat was impossible,

I recommend boat dogs be no more than 30 pounds.
 

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Thanks for all the great replies and thanks for sharing the pics of your dogs. I am relieved to hear that others do it and appreciate hearing how you do it. Capta Pi looks like a great dog. Are the booties so she doesn't scratch the boat? My friend has a three legged Lab named Trip. She has a cruel sense of humor but loves the dog. Dreadpiratekevin, surprisingly he doesn't like to sleep on the bed anymore. I think we kicked him around too much, but I swear it is because my girlfriend snores. I got earplugs but the dog won't use them.
No, not for the boat. We had hardwood floors on the boat and she slipped or slid into things all the time. She also had a problem chewing on her feet.
 
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Have to include a couple of pics. The second was mid January and the first was last month. He is growing fast!! View attachment 139228 View attachment 139229
Who's a good boy? Are you a good boy?

Beautiful gorgeous dog. You'll figure it out. I live for my dogs. I just got my first boat and have been reading tons about dogs on boats. Haven't gotten them out on it yet but am getting the PDFs, tethers, etc. and will figure it out. Knowing my dogs they'll love it. Only doing day sails and some couple of nights coastal cruising.

Who wants a tubby rub? You want a tummy rub?

Cheers,

Annapolitan
 

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I used to waterski with a friend who brought his dog along. Where we skied there were some small islands. When the dog had to go, he’d bark just the way dogs bark at the door to go out. My friend would motor near the island; the dog would jump off, swim to the island, do his thing and swim back.
 
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