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Old 08-10-2012, 09:13   #1
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New to cruising and considering pets onboard

Hello y'all.
Just getting myself set up on the site here and getting ready to set sail out of Galveston TX at the end of October beginning a circumnavigation (basically the first time for myself on this type of voyage, although I have sailed before) 2 of us (and possibly the dog) sailing a 40' Block Island and other friend accompanying the journey on his boat.

I have a 5yr. German Shorthair Pointer that I'm debating the pro's & con's of dogs onboard.
Aside from the potty training, wondering if it's really just unfair to the dog to be cooped up for weeks at a time while underway and what the 'tricks of the trade' are so-to-speak since I don't have much experience. I know there's a lot to consider between shots/customs/ports of entry/exercise & food onboard etc.

Just wanted to tap into the thoughts/experiences of people here who may have some input.
Thanks,
Beth
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Old 08-10-2012, 15:21   #2
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

I know nothing of German Shorthair Pointers, but I'm sure you can research the characteristics of the breed to help with your question. "Potty training" has been the key for success with us. Our Schipperkye has been cruising with us for the last twelve years. The Schipperkyes have been bred as boat dogs and they do very well aboard. I can only sugest that you research the character of the breed.
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Old 08-10-2012, 15:53   #3
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by emincher View Post
Hello y'all.
Just getting myself set up on the site here and getting ready to set sail out of Galveston TX at the end of October beginning a circumnavigation (basically the first time for myself on this type of voyage, although I have sailed before) 2 of us (and possibly the dog) sailing a 40' Block Island and other friend accompanying the journey on his boat.

I have a 5yr. German Shorthair Pointer that I'm debating the pro's & con's of dogs onboard.
Aside from the potty training, wondering if it's really just unfair to the dog to be cooped up for weeks at a time while underway and what the 'tricks of the trade' are so-to-speak since I don't have much experience. I know there's a lot to consider between shots/customs/ports of entry/exercise & food onboard etc.

Just wanted to tap into the thoughts/experiences of people here who may have some input.
Thanks,
Beth

Beth, have you taken your dog out on shorter cruises yet? Does she (picking a sex) get seasick? Does she act stir crazy after three or four days?

Does she like to swim? In water without big waves and/or current, if she likes the water, she could play fetch, etc. in the water. What does her vet say?

Hunting dogs were bred to be busy. You might try some of the things zoos do to keep their hunting animals occupied -- hiding treats in places where the animal has to work some to get it, for instance. Get a number of dog toys, but rotate them. If you have nine, have three out at a time and the others hidden, so when the next three come out and the first three are put away, the "new" ones really seem fresher and newer to her.

You want to have a plan for getting her back on if she falls overboard even in rough seas. I know someone who saved his dog by swimming with her to the dinghy. The dog was able to climb into the dinghy (which was being towed), and then pulled up to the boat. But then the dog still needs a good way to get on, something she feels secure and safe with.

I've seen dogs that love to ride around in a motorized dinghy the way dogs on land love to ride in cars. Might give him some of that doggie joy of going for a good walk.

I think he should be crate trained. Then if things get very rough, you can put him below in his crate, and secure the crate, and he'll be safe. I sail with two cats and have made sure through use of toys, catnip, etc., that they like their crates, and that's the reason. They have mesh sides, and one of them often chooses to sit for hours in hers in the cockpit. It's exactly what I was hoping for. The other cat isn't quite there yet.
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Old 13-10-2012, 09:37   #4
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

Hi there,

We moved our GSP and chocolate lab aboard when they were five. Our dogs are very well exercised. We take them for long walks everyday and off leash runs whenever possible so cooped up isn't really an issue. The boat was just another place to catch up on their rest. Our GSP loves lying in the sun, watching for dolphins and sea lions, and being so close to us. You might want to check out Dogs | maclas and Dogs aboard | maclas
I blog about having the dogs aboard and answer some of the questions people ask.

Cheers! Kara
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Old 13-10-2012, 10:02   #5
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

My experience is, wherever you are... the dog would prefer to be! Dogs absolutely love going int he dingy and are excitted to explore new beaches etc. I'm sure it's far more fun for them then say a dog living in an apartment in NYC. However, taking your dog on someone else's boat and on a long world voyage, does sound like a bit of a disaster....
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Old 13-10-2012, 10:13   #6
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

We have done short cruises with dogs (back when we had dogs). I do not think I could handle a circumnavigation with dogs. Whatever you decide to do, please make sure your dog has a life jacket. We once had our lab roll off the side of the boat in her sleep (what a hell of a way to wake up). The life jacket kept her afloat and visible until we could get her back onboard. Which brings me to my second point. Have you ever tried to get your dog out of the water while off-shore. It is not an easy task. Ask me how I know this.
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Old 15-10-2012, 05:37   #7
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

Our First Mutt is fine on the boat, loves his dinghy rides, etc., but our early potty training worked too well: he won't go, while on the boat... which in turns makes long-ish transits difficult... and of course anchoring out means heading ashore at least 4x daily, no matter what the weather.

Boarding and leaving the boat can be an issue -- at some marinas during some tide conditions, and depending on the boat -- if you can't lift and carry the dog.

Outward Hound makes a really good doggie PFD. There are also simple harnesses for use when PFD isn't required... but which still offer a good handle (and rib cage support) for helping errant dog back on board. (Yep, we know.) Some dogs can be trained to climb some swim ladders...

-Chris
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Old 15-10-2012, 11:56   #8
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

I see all the answers from dog lovers. If you intend a circumnavigation I would strongly advise against taking any pet on board. You will miss so much of the shore sights if you have to deal with a pet. It is not just the "pet on board", it is the pet traveling through foreign countries that you want to visit, the pet dealing with the fact that you would like to jump a train/car/plane and visit an inland city, etc.
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Old 15-10-2012, 13:04   #9
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My wife and I loved our little Glen of Imaal Terrier Katie and for that reason we have left her with my brother to live. We travelled without a dog through the eastern caribbean for five years and watched as other cruisers struggled with the different rules in every country. We went back to land for a few years
and then headed out again a year ago on a 42 foot catamaran, purchased to make life more comfortable for Katie, and she was not happy. We took her to shore every day but it was not enough.
Every country has different rules. In Trinidad dog owners were told that they could not even take the dog off the boat or the dog would be shot. If you get hurt you do not need one more thing to deal with. If the dogs goes overboard
do you risk your life to retrieve it?
We love Katie but she is much happier living on land with a fenced in yard then she ever was on the boat.
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Old 19-10-2012, 17:22   #10
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

Cat on board and it's fun, although I sometimes "bore" him.

Sometimes I bring a second cat and often another boater brings his cat. Then they all get together like a "gang" of a sort.

One time I went out on another sailboat and Windsor actually ran down the next dock and jumped on the boat as we passed . . . he likes boats.

All-in-all, I think cats are less concern than dogs. It's not a big thing to leave them on the boat and coming back hours later.

As far as foreign countries, dogs(and cats), could be a real hassle, but for me . . . I'm happy with staying in the ole USA, so, no problem.
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Old 19-10-2012, 17:35   #11
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Re: New to cruising and considering pets onboard

If you have a pet, by all means dont abandon it to someone else. If you dont, I would go without, or just a cat. You could also rescue a kitten in the third world!
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