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Thread: Dogs On Boats

  1. #1
    Member GolfNut's Avatar
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    Default Dogs On Boats

    I am looking for input/experiences taking dogs out on overnight trips in PWS. I have two 11 month old labs and a 28' aluminum boat. I am new to boating and the first trip out this spring I left the dogs at home. Looking at taking the family out next time and don't want to have to board the dogs. More than anything trying to figure out the logistics of getting them to shore for bathroom breaks and a little exercise so they don't drive us crazy with all their energy? Will this be the nightmare I think it's going to be?

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    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Our dogs go out on our 28' Bayliner all the time. However, they are miniature Australian Shepherds under 30lbs. We don't even take them ashore, as we trained them to "go" on "potty pads" like the ones used for housetraining. We spread the pad out on the back deck and let them know that it's "outside" and okay to "potty". We bag the pads and bring them home with us to the dock. Works well for us, and we never have to go ashore.

    Given how rambunctious young Labs are, coupled with their love of water, that may not work for you. I've seen lots of "boat dogs" in PWS, and many folks anchor up in bays with easily-accessible gravel beaches and row or motor the dogs ashore in an inflatable.

    I love Labs and have owned a few myself, but they are like crazy toddlers until about 18 months of age. I understand your concerns :-). It may be a good idea to have them leashed up with a harness or shut in the cabin while landing fish until you see how they react to splashing salmon or halibut. Labs love to "fetch", and you don't want one with a hook stuck in its face :-).

    Take them along, and spend the trip with a focus on acclimating the dogs to their new environment. They'll either do well and have a great time, or they won't get to go along on future trips! Have fun!!!!

  3. #3

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    It will be a learning experience for all of you. But with patience and experience they'll become an integral part of your boat life. And you can expect them to mess up about as often as you do while you're all learning. Expect the first hour or two, and maybe the first day or two to be a train wreck now and then, but it will pass.

    Best I've seen is when the dogs claim "their" spots, both for resting and for emergency relief. They'll also decide when it's okay to be part of the action and when to sit it out. But you can help guide their choices. Emergency relief will be used less and less with experience, but it's a good idea to have a place for them to do it. Their instinct is to get off the beaten path a little, and most dogs on boats I know for this use the bow. The most experienced boat dog trainer I know starts by selecting a mat just for the dogs, rubbing it in their waste just a little before taking them on their first boat trip, then putting it in the bow or wherever fits the boat/people best. He then makes sure the dog sees and smells it first thing. That's the place they'll remember and head for the moment they can't hold it any more. Watch for signs they're getting restless, and head for shore, and pretty quick they'll quit using the mat except in emergencies if they know a shore trip can happen several times a day.

    Play is a big thing for dogs, and you have to build it in. Swimming means wet dogs, but that might be a part of it whether you'd prefer or not. Often "play" is nothing more than remembering to stop and spend a few minutes with them every so often.

    Sleep on overnighters is easy. If they have a favorite blanket or something from their bed at home, bring it along. "Bed" is wherever you put it.

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    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf1 View Post
    ...... I understand your concerns :-). It may be a good idea to have them leashed up with a harness or shut in the cabin while landing fish until you see how they react to splashing salmon or halibut. Labs love to "fetch", and you don't want one with a hook stuck in its face :-).
    Just a word of caution about leashing your dogs.

    I’ve known one person who had a dog that kept jumping its kennel fence. So the owner put it on a leash. During the night it jumped the fence and hung its self.

    My daughter had a dog in our river boat on one of those retractable leashes. The dog jumped out of the boat, the leash reached its end and almost pulled her out of the boat. The dog was a “little submarine” until I got the boat stopped.

    So anyway, leashing will work but pay attention to its length and where your dogs could end up.

    Kelvin

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    My labrador wentt out with me for almost 8 years. He would not relieve himself on the boat so I had to take him to shore. Hauling his 135 butt over the bow and onto shore was a chore. Luckily on a 8-10 hour trip he usually only had go to go once.

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    Member GolfNut's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies. I think we will take them and give it a shot. We won't know until we try. Our planned two night trip may turn into a day trip but we shall see. I had thought about the flopping fish on deck and the shrimp, and the hooks, etc. Knowing these two they will definitely be kept int he cabin during these times. They think everything belongs in their mouths and ultimately in their stomachs. The black lab decided a large rock was on the menu two weeks ago and it ended with a trip to Pet Emergency and a $450.00 vet bill. Ah, the joys of pet ownership. I had considered getting the potty pads but our dogs were never trained on those so I'm thinking it won't work for us. I hadn't thought of rubbing a pad or mat in their waste like suggested but that might be a viable option as well. If not, guess we will be taking them to shore multiple times a day, which is a chore, but that's the way it goes. We do have a dinghy and motor as well, but just getting them out of the boat into the dinghy might be a YouTube moment. I will post on our return. Thanks for the caution on the leashes as well.

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    My dogs go everywhere with me. OB is the only requirement to get on my boat. No reason in the world no to take them in my opinion. Duckdon

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    My experience is that dogs are a PIA on the boat. I put mine inside when fishing and shrimping to keep them out of the stink, and then outside after things get cleaned up. I sometimes take a kennel along and put it on the roof with a strap to have a place for the dog to sleep at night without having to worry about it jumping overboard after something while we sleep. Normally I take the dingy down once for a trip to shore, with the dog you take it down all the time. My friend joked they like it when I have the dog since I am always first to put the dingy in the water so that they can borrow mine.
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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Our dogs are part of the family. We take them on all of our outings. That is just part of the deal when you get a dog. The people that complain about it haven't done there part in my opinion. If you have worked with your pups and they have been obedienced trained, it won't be a problem. You might consider a neoprene vest or one of those doggie life vests with a handle. It will make loading into the tender and back to the big boat much easier.

    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    This was my first year for my German Shepard on the boat as well. She loves the boat and has already claimed her spot. She sleeps in the cab and spends some time on the beach every morning and every evening. So far it has been a very pleasurable experience. We make sure and take toys for her to chew on and that keeps her busy and gives her something to fetch on the beach.
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    I take our 90 Lb German Sheppard - Malamute mix with us on the boat. Sasha is a wonderful dog. She gets in the way constantly, refuses to do her business on the boat and at times has been known to swim back to the boat when left on shore with a family member. In addition she gets her hair all over the place as she sheds constantly and when she gets wet she stinks. She also has a shy bladder and even after hours on the boat will not quickly do her business on shore. She seems to have no problems with going 24 hours with out a shore trip but we try to do it at least every 12. I am going to try a floor mat for her to see if we can get her to take care of business on the boat when she needs to, but I don't hold out much hope.

    Here is a photo of the beast, watching me go to shore after I took her. She is thinking I am never coming back and she is never going to eat again.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    My pooch loves being out on the boat. He also rides on the back of my one man cat.
    We go to shore every now and again but he can manage with only one washroom break per 8 hours on the water.
    He likes tha cat because he gets out at new places quite often.




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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    We camp out on the weekends with the boat & I see a lot of people anchor up in the bay for the night just row ashore in the dingy & repeat again first thing in the morning with no problems what so ever. One thing I would say is a must is the life jacket with handle on the top. Both in the salt & the river ours has gone over & if there are any kind of seas you will need it as to pull them back in.
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    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    I have a dog named marley (45 pound pit) and he goes each and everytime I go. He has his spot on the boat and wears a lifejacket as well. I think it would be weird not to take him... Don't know if you saw the picture of the dog with the hooligan in his mouth from last years jetboat gathering but he knows how to fish (and catch em) too.. "fishon"
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    Member skybust's Avatar
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    My lab goes all the time with me wouldnt think of leaving him at home
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    Member GolfNut's Avatar
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    I am feeling better about taking the dogs after these posts. I think I will invest in the life jackets with the handles, not a bad idea. Seems a little odd to get life jackets for labs but I can see the benefit when you are trying to lift them into a boat. Thanks again for the input, hope to see some of you out on the water. My boat will be open for cocktail hour to anyone who doesn't mind a couple of hyper labs!

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    We take our 4 and they are just fine. Gets a little crowded by they adapt well.


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    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rambling raven View Post
    We take our 4 and they are just fine. Gets a little crowded by they adapt well.

    Those are some beautiful labs you have!
    Such a great dog breed.

  19. #19
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    We take our dog as well and she has never had any issues. I have to either make trips to shore or put the dinghy in the water for my wife and kids anyways so she just goes to shore when they do and has a blast running around. When she is on the boat she has her spot she has claimed and stays there when under way or when she wants to sleep. We got a new dog last year which is much bigger and has a lot more fur so this should be interesting.



  20. #20

    Default Give it a try

    We have two hyper husky-mala-mutts (4-5 yr old) and have just begun boating PWS with them this year. I had the same concerns about bringing them on the boat as you do. They do way better than I thought they would. I bring them to the dog park the morning or night before a trip to burn off some energy. Early in the trip I anchor near a good beach to take them ashore in the dingy. They run like the wind and afterwards they don't bug us much the rest of the day.
    Onboard they just need to be given a space to curl up and be told to stay there. 11 mo old labs will definitely be more of a challenge than older dogs/other breeds. Especially with the chewing that you mentioned. Bring some pig ears/ bones to keep em occupied. Our dogs are great swimmers but the life vests are a must due to the handle. I have to grab it and pull them into the dingy and then lift them back out. They will sometimes pee on the back deck but otherwise I have to go ashore again when anchored for the night. (I like the potty pad idea). If you plan to do a serious fishing trip then consider leaving them home because you will need to devote a few hours going ashore with young dogs.
    Yes, hair will get everywhere, they will get in the way and do dumb stuff but hey that's what dogs do. Watching them have the time of their life running on a gravel beach makes up for it.

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