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Old 20-02-2012, 14:02   #1
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How to Train a Dog Onboard

How do you boat train a dog?
We have a cocker pup of 4 months and would like to take him sailing. But how do one boat them?
How does one deal with their toilet training onboard?
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Old 20-02-2012, 14:39   #2
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

We have tried everything with no sucess. Piddle pads, Grass, Astroturf etc. . Friends have smaller dogs (Ours is 40 pounds) that do just fine with a little pad or carpet patch. One of our boater friends has two Portugese water dogs that use a litter box!. It seems to work well with smaller dogs if they have a defined space for it like a fordeck or aft deck area. Our Lucy has gone over 36 hours and we cant take the looks. So, now we simply do not go more that 12 hours in any one leg of a trip with an ocasional 18 or so if necessary. Good luck
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Old 20-02-2012, 14:49   #3
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

We've taken our dog 'for a walk' on the fore deck when he starts looking anxiously towards the shore. We've also used a fake grass mat and tray which after a while became his go to spot. It takes persistence but should work out in the long run.
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Old 20-02-2012, 14:54   #4
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

The younger you start the better.
Most dogs will want to use a spot away from where they usually are, bow as opposed to cockpit, etc. Praise them when appropriate.
Aside from that, whatever works. I knew one boat that had a dedicated piece of astroturf. When they were at anchor they added a potted plant.
Like I say, whatever works.
You don't say where your are. If you have a short sailing season you may have to repeat the experience the next year.
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Old 20-02-2012, 15:03   #5
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

We have a dachsund that loves to sail but will not go onboard. We have tried walking him around the deck with a leash, fake grass, etc. We just keep our passages to 12 hrs or less.
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Old 20-02-2012, 20:22   #6
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

With Splotch, (my avatar) I guess I was mean.

Firstly, since he was a puppy when we went for a walk I was pro-active and told him 'go potty' rather than letting him really decide. On walks if he didn't go after about the third 'go potty' then we went back in and he'd have to wait a while.

on the first long haul boat trip, I took him up on the fordeck and told him 'go potty' and he looked at me like I was nuts. so we went back.

About an hour later he was a little whiny and looked uncomfortable so I did it again. After about the third 'go potty' I gently pushed on his bladder. After about thirty seconds he let'r go and I gave him a very affirmative good boy! and he got a treat.

After that I could never stop him, we were in a fancy marina in Redondo Beach, below a busy sidewalk with all the tourists walking by looking at crap on our sailboat
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Old 21-02-2012, 06:02   #7
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
With Splotch, (my avatar) I guess I was mean.

Firstly, since he was a puppy when we went for a walk I was pro-active and told him 'go potty' rather than letting him really decide. On walks if he didn't go after about the third 'go potty' then we went back in and he'd have to wait a while.

on the first long haul boat trip, I took him up on the fordeck and told him 'go potty' and he looked at me like I was nuts. so we went back.

About an hour later he was a little whiny and looked uncomfortable so I did it again. After about the third 'go potty' I gently pushed on his bladder. After about thirty seconds he let'r go and I gave him a very affirmative good boy! and he got a treat.

After that I could never stop him, we were in a fancy marina in Redondo Beach, below a busy sidewalk with all the tourists walking by looking at crap on our sailboat
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Old 21-02-2012, 07:23   #8
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

I've heard that you need to "scent" the pad for your dog to take to it. I'd be discreet if you're in a busy marina
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Old 21-02-2012, 07:43   #9
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
With Splotch, (my avatar) I guess I was mean.................
I used a similar technique with our puppy while at a young age. I certainly would not refer to it as mean, but it was strict, consistent, rewarded for proper behavior and absolutely DOGmatic! I selected a specific location and command word. For us, the place was at the stern of our center cockpit for an easy rinse and the command word was "Lido". I began with a young puppy that was already, at that age, likely to leave a product anywhere and I tied him to the stern with the command, "Lido....Lido"! When he performed I gave him a treat, praise and returned him to the cockpit. Occasionally I would take him back to the stern, calling out "Lido" and restricting him until he would perform. Now, at anytime, we can call out "Lido" and he runs to the stern. If he doesn't leave a product, he will wait there until we tell him "OK". His common behavior is to take this trip to the stern now without command; however, he still prefers the walk about in the grass when we are at the dock.

Zorro, looking back for the "Ok" to return to the cockpit after given the "Lido" command.

Performance!

"I have been performing as a dog that does not require shore time for eleven years now. Good luck with the training! Zorro"
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Old 21-02-2012, 08:04   #10
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

We had the same problem with our cocker. She was house broken but on the boat would hold it forever and not go until she was on land which is not good for a dog. Dogs are not doing their business on your boat because they are trying to please you and think that they will suffer scolding if they poop on the boat. We tried all the advice, grass pads etc. What I finally found that worked was very simple. It's a bit easier on a catamaran. When you know your dog has been holding it too long simply take a jog (not a walk) so the dog is running, with them on a leash around and around on your boats deck. The exercising action inside your dog makes it impossible for them to hold it in and in a very short period of time they will just stop and squat. It's a bit cold, but drag them to the area where you want them to do their business and let them go. Praise them a lot and give them a treat. It worked perfectly for us and I have told several other dog/boat owners how to do this with sucess every time.
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Old 21-02-2012, 12:51   #11
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

We got our cockapoo puppy Fletcher at the end of last summer, first we got him used to the pads onboard then eventually we got him to tell us when he needed to go outside. He would let us know by jumping up and down at the steps and making a noise.

Actually, that's what he still does. We've only been on one trip with him so far, which was a 12 hour sail and he did really well. I took up for a walk on deck and he did his business and was easy enough to clean up.

We'd like to get him to go at one specific part of the boat while we're out so, we'll be working on that this summer with him I'm sure. Actually, we're planning on going off the hook for a few days next month so we'll see how well he does then.
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Old 21-02-2012, 14:19   #12
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A big thanks for all stories and suggestions.
We will try and see how it goes.
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Old 21-02-2012, 14:47   #13
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

We had the same problem. The magic moment was when we collected some soil that he had peed on, double bagged it in ziplocks, and then placed the bag on the foredeck, no need to open it, he sniffed, and then it was as if he had been there before. He still had problems in stormy seas, but we always took him up there with a harness on both him and I. Sometimes we had to turn downwind a bit to make it easier for him. Praise him when he is done, and clean up immediately.

As an aside, once we were at sea for 14 days, then stopped at St Helena. All the way there, the genoa was on the port side. I had developed an easy flick with the pooperscooper to fling the turd over the side. We left for Brasil, and had the genoa over the other side. Yep, thats right, I forgot, and flung it straight into the sail.

Lots of pictures of Jack on our web page...

Good luck.
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Old 21-02-2012, 18:56   #14
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

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I used a similar technique with our puppy while at a young age. I certainly would not refer to it as mean, but it was strict, consistent, rewarded for proper behavior and absolutely DOGmatic!
Yeah, except the poking his bladder when he was obviously uncomfortable He didn't like that part so much
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Old 22-02-2012, 03:50   #15
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Re: How to train a dog onboard

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Yeah, except the poking his bladder when he was obviously uncomfortable He didn't like that part so much
Sure, I didn't include "bladder poking"! I noticed this was first described as "gently pushing" and now you've confessed to bladder poking. I'll concede,- you are the most dogmatic trainer!
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