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Bringing dogs aboard

Jun 16, 2020
65
Hinckley Sou’wester 30 Falmouth ME
So the admiral is interested in bringing our 6-month old golden retriever aboard. It would likely only be for short daysails, nothing overnight. I have been reluctant for two reasons: 1) there isn’t a ton of room in our cockpit and not sure I am eager to introduce dog hair onto our boat and 2) I am concerned that there are enough things that could go wrong without a crew member that doesn’t understand the human language very well, having our dog aboard just increases the risk.

Yet, I am only the captain…..
 
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Feb 21, 2013
3,775
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
We sailed all the time with our 70 lb greyhound and now with our 14 lb dog. Each wore a life vest when in the cockpit, otherwise they were happy to sleep in their dog bed in the cabin. To clean the hair I use a hand held battery operated vacuum cleaner and wipe the floor down with a damp paper towel. Fortunatley, our Hunter 46 has stairs which is easy for the dogs to climb up and down unassisted.
 
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Mar 20, 2015
2,253
C&C 30 Mk1 Silver Harbour, Lake Winnipeg
A gentleman with a Catalina 22 in our marina, day sails with his German Shepherd. The dog is kept below during busy periods in the.cockpit. Only halfway through it's first season on a boat and reportedly not a problem.

There is at least one great video about this topic on YouTube, created by a cruising couple. A quick search found more. (Including one dog that is blind)
 
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Oct 1, 2007
1,734
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
So the admiral is interested in bringing our 6-month old golden retriever aboard. It would likely only be for short daysails, nothing overnight. I have been reluctant for two reasons: 1) there isn’t a ton of room in our cockpit and not sure I am eager to introduce dog hair onto our boat and 2) I am concerned that there are enough things that could go wrong without a crew member that doesn’t understand the human language very well, having our dog aboard just increases the risk.

Yet, I am only the captain…..
We have sailed many trips of 1-2 weeks with our 75 lb Golden, and our 24 Dachshund. Never had a problem, but we were sailing our Hunter 44 DS with huge cockpit, easy companionway, and easy boarding through the stern.
That said, their favorite part of the trip was NEVER underway. They didn't like the motion at all, even in a big heavy boat.
My advice is if you are talking only day sails, your little guy might be happier left at home.
If you do take him, make sure you have a serious harness from RuffWear, and a serious offshore tether. Train him to stay in the cockpit. Our golden knew he was not allowed outside the cockpit and never violated the rule.
 
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Oct 24, 2010
2,399
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
Get him a doggie life jacket. They are inexpensive online. And stop worrying about it. Many people go with dogs on their boats. Some dogs do well some dogs don't and a day trip will tell you the answer to that.

Ken
 

RoyS

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Jun 3, 2012
1,205
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Plus one on dog life vest with handle. Ruff Wear makes the best I ever found. We have had dogs on board for thirty years and they all have adapted. A six month old pup is ready to be introduced but I would do it slowly. Spend time at a slip or mooring and rock the boat gently until he is no longer frightened. I always had my pups on board while I prepared the boat in the Spring. Start teaching them to stay when you have to leave the boat for a few minutes. If at a marina, they usually can't wander too far if they panic and leave the cockpit. At sea they will seek shade. Adult dogs need to "find a tree" on land twice a day at least. If the dog gets seasick you can give them Bonine. My 50 pound standard poodle gets a half dose at the beginning of the season only. Our dogs have all gone on cruises of several weeks duration happily. We enjoy their company.
 
Sep 11, 2016
8
O'Day 30 Halifax, Nova Scotia
I suppose that I only have a testimonial as a reference.
Our puppy has become 75 pounds, so lifejacket with a handgrip on top was the starting point. We added a rope and pulley, with 2 carabiners... one carabiner is always on the lifejacket handgrip.

The other end is always tied somewhere, usually the mast with enough rope to get in to trouble.

If we get an overboard situation, I hope to clip the 2nd carabiner to the end of the boom and move the boom 90 degrees to the boat and lift... swing and swing back in to the cockpit.

-------------------
This is untested... and hopefully never tested
 
Apr 11, 2010
856
Hunter 38 Whitehall MI
Curious how you all handle the dogs needing to use the bathroom. Use a pee-pad? Teach 'em to use the poop deck?
we got our 8 pound Havanese as a puppy and dual trained her to go on a potty pad (we buy them in bulk) and outdoors as usual. That way she doesn’t have to hold it if we are out on a long sail (Or honestly if it’s pouring rain she can potty on a pad in the garage and we don’t have to go out in the rain). It’s kind of tough on their bladders and kidneys to not be able to go for hours on end.
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Sep 25, 2018
244
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
My pooch is a camel. He will hold it for a full day if he wishes. I occasionally take him on a day sail for a few hours but never overnight. He adapts to whatever is thrown at him. He is my my first dog and he has trained me well.
Just getting a new boat that I will trip on. Doggie is in for some new adventures!
 
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Apr 5, 2009
1,617
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
... not sure I am eager to introduce dog hair onto our boat and 2) ...

Yet, I am only the captain…..
I always figured that if you have a dog at home, you have dog hair following in your wake where ever you travel so you might as well take the dog along because his hair will get them before he does. Before we got our first lab, I asked the breeder how much they shed and he laughed and said, "They chew till they are two and shed till they are dead." He was spot on on the first count but missed the mark by a mile on the second. Both of our pups have been gone for 5 years and during boat work this spring and found some black drifts in the well for the rudder radial. :facepalm:
Those drifts brought on the melancholy.
On a more practical note, We dealt with the hair by putting a blanket over the quarter berth which was the dog bed. that helped a lot. As they grew older, we got a doggy ramp that allowed them to get on and off without problems. it worked great for loading into the dink by tying it bow into the stern ladder with the ramp extending to the dink seat.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,807
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
We have a 10 mth old German Shepherd he loves the boat, he hates the water, funny how that works. We tether him to a fixed point in the cabin with enough line to allow him to venture into the cockpit. He'll sit on the seat for a while and then after about 1/2 hr under way, he sleeps. The hair, well what can I say, I have a small shop vacuum onboard that I use to clean up the hair and man oh man there is a lot of hair, I swear I don't know how this dog still has a coat.....