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Boat Training a Dog

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Old 01-23-2018, 11:41 AM
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Default Boat Training a Dog

I put my last dog down last year and I am considering getting another dog. My old dog did not grow up with a boat and was never really comfortable on the boat. For those with dogs:

1. how have you got your dog used to the boat?
2. I have a center console, fiberglass deck, will the dog be able to stand if it is rough or will they just slide everywhere?
3. How long have you had your dog out on the water and what if they have to "go"?
4. Any other tips for dogs on a boat?

Much appreciated.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:47 AM
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We had a long-haired retriever years ago that was never comfortable on the boat. She would shed hair like crazy and was nervous. Now we have a chocolate lab that just gets on, chills out and looks like around like it's nothing. I've only taken her for short rides so far and not when it's rough. She does slide around on the deck, so not much traction for her. Another reason I wouldn't bother when rough. And the short rides haven't led to having to deal with her having to 'go' yet. I think it depends on the demeanor of the dog whether they will be a boat dog or not.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:54 AM
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I have a 1yr old PomChi (you can figure that out & don't laugh b/c it was rescued by myself and hot fiance :-) ) that loves the boat. I have been taking him since little and popped treats like crazy in the beginning. He loves to lick the fish we catch. As far as potty, I have a piece of artificial turf I am trying to get him to use but no luck so far. He tends to ride up front on the cushions or with me on the leaning post. I have a anti-fatigue in front of the leaning post he lays on if we're going fast and he is on the floor.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:58 AM
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I started my now 1 year old labs young and they hated the boat. Now they associate it with trips to the beach and swimming and love it.

When it gets rough they curl up together at my feet the center console and are good sports about it.

(Let’s not get into the story of the offshore explosive diarrhea dog incident of July 2017 . . . )

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Old 01-23-2018, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by leetke View Post
hot fiance :-)
post 'em up...
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:00 PM
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I had an English Bulldog that absolutely love the boat, but didn't like the water...so not many issue with him jumping off, he would fall off the bow every now and again. Dude stood up there like a Mack Truck logo.

Wouldn't take them in the ocean...just too much up and down, when it's already hard for them to stand and move about...for bulldogs however, this isn't an issue...low center of gravity.

If he was on the boat cruising with us we just stopped ever couple hours to let him use an island...then back on board.

Need to keep ice water for them, a freshwater wash down is nice as well to cool them off, but saltwater and a bucket work just fine as well. For some reason, every now and again he would get sick, throw up, and he was right back on the bow...bucket comes in handy.
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:02 PM
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Start them out as puppies. Make the first few rides short and enjoyable (calm days, etc.). A big part of it will be the dog though, some will love it, some will hate it, no matter what you do.

We have our female Boxer trained to jump on the swim platform and pee in a specific corner when she has to go (obviously not while moving), then I just rinse it with a bucket or the transom shower hose. Our male Boxer hasn't had enough time on the boat yet to learn that trick.
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:04 PM
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I guess I have been lucky - I never trained any of my dogs with the boat. They just love it. I did have a lab launch out of the boat when we were doing about 30, after a duck. But she only did that once. I think I counted 3 flips when she hit the water. Was stunned, but went right after the duck after she figured out where she was.
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:19 PM
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our dash hound loved the boat for many seasons
he went on our GO fast, our jet ski and our center console named LUCKY DOG
we had a small bed in the back that he would curl up in if it was cold or wet.
He loved the boat and cried if we did not take him
when he turned 16 it was too much for him and we only took him on sort 30 minutes rides in calm water.
finally had to end his life at 18. we now have a new pup (1 year old) it will be interesting to see how he does this spring
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Old 01-23-2018, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BillTex View Post
post 'em up...





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Old 01-23-2018, 12:53 PM
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My dogs love the boat, started em young. We keep our corgi on a leash because he likes to lean off the back near the outboard, my young lab is still shaky walking around and slides a bit. My wife always brings the offshore beanbag and the pups jump on that when it gets rough, and they don’t slide on it






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Old 01-23-2018, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogie Ogilthorpe View Post
I put my last dog down last year and I am considering getting another dog. My old dog did not grow up with a boat and was never really comfortable on the boat. For those with dogs:

1. how have you got your dog used to the boat?
2. I have a center console, fiberglass deck, will the dog be able to stand if it is rough or will they just slide everywhere?
3. How long have you had your dog out on the water and what if they have to "go"?
4. Any other tips for dogs on a boat?

Much appreciated.
1) She has been in it since she was a pup, it is normal for her.
2) They'll slide, need some grippy mat or in my case snap in carpet
3) When she needs to go she scratches at the floor, we stop and let her take a leak on the swim platform
4) Leash and life jacket until they learn that they shouldn't jump off the front of the boat in the no wake zone when they see a fish
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:08 PM
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Those no skid washable carpets are helpful. One up front if CC or BR. One some place out of the sun.

Anything else they do can't be worse than squid under the toe kick.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:18 PM
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Our AWS loves the boat. We trailer so I started him out in the boat on dry land and transitioned to on the water. When we putt along he is all over the boat. When I kick it he lays down against the console or wherever he feels safe. This happens in the duck boat, the CC, the aluminum doesn't matter. He does the same in all. If I think he has to go I nose up to a sedge island, he hops out does his business and hops back in.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:35 PM
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Start them when they are young (less than 8 months) and make the trips fun and comfortable for the dog. At that age their brains soak up their experiences like a sponge so if you can make their first few experiences on the boat fun and enjoyable, that is likely what they will associate boat trips with throughout their life. That being said, there are some dogs who will naturally love it and some that wont. A lot depends on the dogs personality. In my experience, most healthy, young puppies who come from a good breeder are up for anything and will gladly hop on the boat without any issues. However, my recommendation would be to start slow and let your dog call the shots. If you move too fast you're likely to over stress him and it's very hard to recover at that point, especially if it's a puppy.

A safe plan would be to start by just putting him on the boat while it's on the trailer or in the slip so he can sniff around and get comfortable just being on the boat while it isn't moving. Bring some treats along to help make the association that boats are great things to be on. Feel your dog out and see how he is doing before you move past this step. It wouldn't hurt to do this two or three times for 5 or 10 minutes each before you actually take him out on the boat. Spread this out over a couple days.

Step two would be to take a short trip out on the water with him so he can hear the noise of the motor, the water, and other boats. Maybe two or three 10 -15 minute trips at idle speed (also spread over a couple days). Again, bring some treats and another person to reward him with treats/make sure he doesn't go over the edge. Also bring some water with you. You could even idle over to a sand bar or somewhere fun where he can get off the boat and run around. Again, making the experience fun will go a long way to making him enjoy being on the boat. If he was comfortable at idle speed he is likely to be comfortable at planning speed but try it for short intervals first. The noise and pitch of the boat at planning speed might freak him out but if he's already comfortable on the boat while it's out on the water the added stress is something he will probably be able to overcome pretty easily, especially if there are treats in it for him.

Keep in mind puppies need to pee often so short trips while he is young are key. You don't want him to get used to peeing on the boat. As he gets older and can handle longer trips, make sure you give him a comfortable place to sit or lie down out of the sun, bring plenty of water, and some dog snacks with you, and give him an opportunity to relieve himself.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogie Ogilthorpe View Post
I put my last dog down last year and I am considering getting another dog. My old dog did not grow up with a boat and was never really comfortable on the boat. For those with dogs:

1. how have you got your dog used to the boat?
2. I have a center console, fiberglass deck, will the dog be able to stand if it is rough or will they just slide everywhere?
3. How long have you had your dog out on the water and what if they have to "go"?
4. Any other tips for dogs on a boat?

Much appreciated.
1. i trained him in a ton of different environments, situations, noises, etc. he goes where i go. there was not much for him to get used to. in fact, he loves boating and will jump out of the car in the parking lot, run down the dock, jump on my boat, and wait for me to come. i started keeping him under better voice control and at heel because at one point we were at a marina and my boat wasn't there and he decided to jump on someone else's boat.
2. depends on conditions. if boat is stable, dog typically fine. if rough, can get tossed around, i typically keep him at my feet, or sitting with someone on bow cushion, or rear of boat (nowhere to slide) with someone
3. i let him jump overboard or dropped him in and he would swim to shore, do his business, and swim back. now that i have a dinghy and nice cabin, i typically do runs to shore in the dinghy to keep him dry. just watch out for ticks!
4. i always have life jacket on my dog when under way or he is allowed to walk around. reason being because it would be nearly impossible to get him back in the boat without the handle on it and its a bright color in case he does go overboard. since he is getting older, i also bought an inflatable camping mattress which i fold in half and that gives him some cushion. i would be careful on hot days and in sun. dogs can overheat and get sunburned. if your dog is going to be in the sun a lot, i'd also suggest doggy sun glasses. plenty of fresh water, and no drinking the sea water.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:42 PM
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Started Maddie out in the small boat when we first got her as a rescue 12 years ago. She was a bit skittish about her footing at first but then it was game on. She loved the boat.

Once we got her on the Pursuit she adapted quickly and it became ''her'' boat. She would bark at any boat coming around us and would do laps around the deck that would make a race car driver dizzy! She would jump up on the bow and ride there until she had to jump down and go check out what was happening at the stern This would go on ALL day.

About 2 summers ago she started slowing down and now she has a hard time even keeping her balance on the boat although she is right there at the dock when it is time to go for a ride.

Sad to see her slowing down because I know she loves the boat sooo much. We put towels down on the floor now so she has something to grip onto and that helps, but I know the inevitable is coming.

She has been a great boat dog and it really didn't take any type of ''training''. Calm waters in the beginning so she wasn't afraid of the new environment then it was off to find a sandbar.

Word of caution, playing in saltwater will give your dog the wet, runnies from ingesting the water. Those that know...KNOW!

Here is a couple of pics one from the beginning and one from last summer where she is waiting for her ride!
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Old 01-23-2018, 03:49 PM
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Ours loved it from day one. I keep her on a lead while running that is short enough that she could never go over. While trolling or idling I take her off it. Good luck!
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:08 PM
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We have been boating with dogs for many years.
I had to laugh at:
"
3. How long have you had your dog out on the water and what if they have to "go"?
The answer for us was across the Atlantic Ocean at 6 knots..with a large female American lab. For six months with two English labs when we were in Central America, when there was a red tick epidemic and lots of Weil's disease. Dogs swam every day for exercise, and "went" on the boat.

Dogs "went" on astroturf. I had grommets on two corners, with a line tied to the turf, so I could dunk it overboard and then use the residual dripping water to clean the deck.

Do not expect the dog to "go" in your living area. (We made that mistake)--the dog is house trained, and does not want to soil where it spends most of the time. We moved the turf to the foredeck.

Most difficult and humorous time was during a severe storm with hurricane force winds and waves up to 40 feet and breaking. The 62' boat was on auto pilot, with only a storm jib up (Less than 10% of usual sail area, just enough to keep bow down wind)--and engine ticking over at 1200 RPM to keep flow across the rudder. I would go to on deck steering station, head the boat straight down wind, and watch the waves, when it appeared we would have a set which were less than the average, I would rap on the cabin top--and my wife would bring the dog up--clip the dog's and her safety harnesses onto the jack lines we had running along the deck to keep us from going overboard. No astroturf needed in those conditions!

If you wait long enough and have adjusted the dog to "going" on astro turf--they will go...harder on you than the dog!

Currently we have a med sized poodle who loves the boat and water--she often rides on the leaning post along side me--but she will slide on the fiberglass. If It is going to be rough, I'll tie in a piece of outdoor carpet forward on the center console in my Caracal Cat so she has traction on that.
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by berettadog View Post
I keep her on a lead while running that is short enough that she could never go over. While trolling or idling I take her off it. Good luck!
Your referring to the dog, correct?
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