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Posted by on Oct 31, 2011 in UK, US | 2 comments

10 Tips for Taking Your Dog on a Boat

If you have a dog and you don’t take him on your boat, poor little Fido is missing out.

Most dogs love getting out on the water as much as you and I do—and you wouldn’t leave you best friend stuck on shore every time you left the dock, would you? So the next time you grab your sailing bag or fishing rods, also grab the leash and the water bowl. Just remember to use these dogs-on-board tips, to keep the trip a fun one for everyone.

Dogs love boats just as much as people do!

Dogs love boats just as much as people do!

1. Bring plenty of fresh water. Dogs can’t perspire, and they’ll need to lap up lots of H2O in order to stay cool, especially when the sun is blazing.
2. Let him off the leash—if you trust him not to take a flying leap. Usually dogs won’t jump from a boat that’s moving (except in the case of a poorly trained hunting dog, or an inexperienced puppy), and he’ll be curious, and want to move around a lot. Note, however, that when the boat isn’t moving plenty of dogs will take an unexpected plunge.
3. Bring a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet. Lay it in the cockpit, and your dog will be able to keep a solid footing. Fiberglass nonskid decks may provide a secure footing to you and I, but they can be quite slippery to a dag’s paws.
4. Don’t cut bait, and leave it sitting out. Do so, and there’s a good chance it’ll get gobbled up. Yech—worm breath!
5. Don’t leave lures swinging from fishing rod tips. A dangling temptation with hooks is NOT what you want your pup to go chasing after.
6. Make sure the dog has a chance to relieve himself, before you leave the dock. Nothing ruins a trip on the boat like having to go… and being unable to!
7. Be prepared to turn around on rough days. Yes, dogs can get seasick, too. It’s not as common as it is with people, but it does happen. Don’t plan on a long day in rough waters until you’ve had a chance to expose your dog to rocking and rolling, and you know for a fact that he doesn’t get green when the waves kick up.
8. Take plenty of treats. Positive reinforcement is always the best way to get a pooch to do your bidding. With a handful of treats, you can get him to stay put when you’re occupied with important tasks, like setting the anchor or tying up lines.
9. Consider buying a dog vest. These provide floatation, and neoprene models also provide some warmth if you’re boating in cold waters and chilly air. This is especially important for retrievers, which almost always find a way to get wet sooner or later. In fact, jumping off the dock before you even shove off is a distinct hazard with this breed!
10. Use a ramp or carry your dog onto the boat, if it sits well below dock level. Otherwise there’s a fair chance your dog will try to jump onboard, and possibly injure himself. Boarding and disembarking should always be controlled, planned motions.
-Lenny Rudow

2 Comments

  1. Also, the pee pads work well or if possible a piece of astro turf the size of a door mat with a lanyard is great if you can get the dog to pee on it.. the dog does it’s business on it and you throw it overboard to clean and soak.

  2. Dog life vests have a feature which proves invaluable: a handle on the back. Make sure the vest fits well enough that you can grab that and feel confiednt that if need be could lift the dog up out of the water and back on the dock/boat. I make sure our dogs have those on before we step foot on the dock, the dock can actually be more treachorous than the boat itself.