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Old 26-11-2013, 06:23   #1
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First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

My wife and I spent the entire summer preparing ourselves and boat for the offshore trip from Virginia to the BVI and the thing that gave me the most anxiety was how our dog Stanley (a pug/terrier mix) would handle the passage.

I was concerned with his hydration if he got seasick, his ability to 'do his business' in heavy seas and make sure he didn't fall off the boat.

For seasickness we gave him half a Dramamine less drowsy formula every morning and he was fine the entire trip. Note that he has gotten seasick just day sailing in San Francisco Bay and on this trip seasoned sailors onboard got seasick even while medicated. . .it was pretty nasty.

As for doing his business we had initially trained him do go on an astroturf mat on the foredeck but he soon lost interest as he correlated walks onshore with potty time. If he could see land he would hold it and not use his pad, our fault for poor training. Anyhow we had his mat well seasoned and he did use it once in a while during emergencies so we had hope. We also consulted two vets who both said not to stress as they'll go before they hurt themselves though there is potential for a higher risk of urinary tract infection. Day 1 came and went with no success. On day 2 I got out some of his favorite toys and chased him around the cockpit for about 10 minutes. This I believe was the key as he wanted to play but couldn't having a full bladder, less than a minute he was going number 1 on his pad which I had brought into the cockpit from the foredeck as the seas were much to high and steep to expect him to traverse the side decks. Number 2 came the following morning and we had pretty consistent potty time for the remainder of the trip.

As for keeping him on board we have netting around the entire boat which would be very difficult for him to get through. We are also on a catamaran which is a much more stable platform for a dog who really aren't interested in wearing non-skid deck shoes.

All in all it was a great trip for Stanley; he was well fed and watered, never was sick and had no problem doing his business. We also made sure to give him attention and play as he had to skip his regular walk time.

PM if you have further questions how things went or if you'd like to know how customs went while entering BVI (the paper work was a pain, but entry was not a problem)
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Old 26-11-2013, 06:40   #2
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

Congrats, and that's good to hear. We are gearing up to spend months at a time on our boat, and we, too, are concerned about our dog. He's a ten year old Jack Russell. He loves boats. He's just never spent more than one night on one. I need to read up on training tips to get him using a mat or box or whatever.

And you didn't mention if you came through the Turks and Caicos on your trip to the BVI. I want to caution any cruisers coming through here that the people here in charge of clearing animals in and out will flat out scare you if you bring a dog in here without a titre test result and the proper paperwork. We were at our local marina working on our boat last week when a boat arrived and checked in. Younger couple, with two small dogs. Well, the Customs and Immigration people came and went, and the cruisers declared the dogs, of course and had their records for rabies etc. They were cruising from Cayman Islands to St. Maarten. They'd been through a few of these already. Well, the local gov people called the animal control people, and they came down to the boat and terrorized these cruisers about their dogs. They told them that if they caught the dogs ashore they would be euthanized. Pure and simple.

The people on the boat left in two days, when they had planned to spend a week here. Sad, but that's the way it is, here.

I suggest you avoid the Turks and Caicos Islands if you have a dog on board, unless you have all the paperwork including the titre test.
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Old 26-11-2013, 07:31   #3
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanC View Post
the thing that gave me the most anxiety was how our dog Stanley
No offence, but on my first offshore passage, if it ever happens, I'll be very anxious about many things other than my dogs comfort level. You're a better man than I. Very glad your voyage went well.
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Old 26-11-2013, 08:18   #4
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

Canibul -
We came directly to the BVI and have the titre test as it's required here. My wife did a lot of pr-eplanning to ensure we have all our paperwork in order; titre, health cert from the USDA, rabies vaccination history etc. We also have looked at each country's agriculture requirements for entry and make phone calls if necessary. Not saying what you witnessed won't happen to us, but we're are trying to meet all country's expectations before hand.

Neo-
Trust me I had anxiety about a number of things; you can wait for a weather window but you have to deal with what you encounter once you're out there . . . be prepared and no point in worrying, I built in redundancy to our critical boat systems . . . boat was ready, my crew are all hardy folks who can deal with bad situations. . . they'll take care of themselves.

So the dog was really the variable that gave me worry, I'm a sucker or dogs so I would feel awful if he was in a situation due to my decision that endangered him.
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Old 26-11-2013, 09:51   #5
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

It sounds like the two things that worried you the most were the weather window and the dog's comfort. Makes sense, since they are the two things you have the least control over. Sounds like you had everything else buttoned down.
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Old 26-11-2013, 10:14   #6
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

Glad you had a great trip, sorry your crew was sick, that is always such a bummer. I hope you have fun in the sun!
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Old 15-03-2014, 17:28   #7
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

Stanley sure looked pretty spry chasing our Jack Russell up and down the dock in Providenciales this afternoon.
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Old 16-03-2014, 17:37   #8
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Re: First Long Passage was a success for Stan (our boat dog)

Congratulations on your passage with Stan. I should be so lucky.

I'm already having a problem getting my dog on the floating dock, much less on the boat, not to mention on the boat when the engine's running.

He (Mozart) is a 10-year old, 90 lb. Newfoundland/Flat Coat Retriever mix. He's technically a "water dog" from both sides of the family, but webbed paws notwithstanding, if there's one thing he hates, it's water. He won't even walk on wet grass if there's a dry sidewalk nearby.

At first, I thought his water phobia would make him the perfect boat dog. After all, he wasn't about to jump in and play with the manatees, was he? Now, I wonder if this boating thing might not be a little too stressful for him, even on a slow-running 64' x 13' barge cruising up and down the ICW.

We'll try it and see, but unless I can find a spot to beach the boat on a regular basis for him to relieve himself, we'll have to also deal with getting him into and out of a wooden dinghy that barely weighs as much as he does...

Whoever said that "boating presents many challenges" forgot to mention this one.

Jacques
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