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Old 24-01-2016, 18:02   #1
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Severely anxious dog on board

Hi There,
I'm new to the forum so my apologies if my question has been answered in previous posts. I see there are many posts about dogs on board and it seems like most of the dogs are OK with actually being on board. Our one year old ridgeback is fearless in all aspects of life except for when he gets on the boat. He is reduced to a panting , trembling mess even with a few " calmex" in him. We so want him to be included in our day outings but feel maybe we are just torturing him by hoping he is going get " used" to it. Any advice would be awesome and again my apologies if this has been addressed previously. Thanks! ( we have a 10 metre Hartley motor sailer)
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Old 24-01-2016, 18:27   #2
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

Our dogs become extremely needy on the boat. They are pasted to a hip or cuddle on laps. OK but these are big dogs.


Everything you need is explained here.


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Old 24-01-2016, 18:43   #3
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

Not all dogs do get used to being on the boat. But you might try checking how YOU behave when you see your dog upset. You may be inadvertently encouagingbhis fear by your reaction. Look into the traing methods of Cesar Maylan. My son has used some of his techniques with his little biter chihuahua. He instructs guests on how to behave and this has made all the difference. Guests are now bite free.
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Old 24-01-2016, 19:11   #4
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

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Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
Look into the traing methods of Cesar Maylan.
Absolutely, positively, do NOT do this. Cesar Millan is a danger and a hazard. He has been bitten many times because his methods are unsound, unscientific, and downright dangerous. The only reason he can continue to survive in the dog training business is because hundreds of generations have bred most of the aggression out of most dogs.

Instead, look into people like Karen Pryor and Ian Dunbar. They use actual science and behavior modification and are extremely effective.
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Old 24-01-2016, 19:30   #5
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

My dog a Georga Mt. Kurr 65-70lb. and otherwise fearless was "anxious" on board also ,after the third time putting her below decks and watching her tremble I decided she was not cut out for sailing..Good luck, hope your dog works it out..
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Old 24-01-2016, 19:39   #6
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

I've had dogs and boats my whole life. It helps to start with a puppy. They grow up thinking boat movements are normal.
Try to do things that are fun for your dog. As much as possible, make coming aboard something your dog looks forward to. Like getting a favorite treat as soon as he's aboard, etc. If you can, spend some time before getting under weigh.
Get them swimming where the water isn't flat and in some current. Anything to teach them the world isn't always still.
I have always had Labs, so the swimming part was easy. I never Had a nervous problem, but some of my guests with small dogs did. Playing with them around the boat and having another dog solved the problem.
Also, all the ocean/boat smells are foreign. What they want to sniff is on land. Try having a tray with dirt for a doggy box.
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Old 24-01-2016, 19:58   #7
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

Try getting the dog some non-skid booties. Dogs' feet are not really made for slick varnished cabin soles. Your dog may also be afraid of descending the companionway, and feel overcrowded belowdecks.

We once had a Customs Alsatian aboard, a dog who was "in training." He was thrown down the companionway, and began shaking, could barely turn around, and was not capable of doing his job, poor fellow. Eventually, his handler helped him up the companionway ladder.

IMO, some dogs are really too big for small boats, and at a year old, you really can't expect him to settle somewhere. I do think taking him swimming might help, if it is the water that is frightening him. The poster who suggested making it fun for the dog is on the right track.

The dog psychology here is that the dog wants to be with you, so if you can successfully address his fear, he may be able to calm himself and join you. I would avoid putting him in the position of "failing" or of falling, for that matter.

Another source for training help is "Sit Happens", if you happen to be in Georgia, USA. I happen to know one of their trainers and have watched her work, but have no association with the organization. PM me if you're interested.

Ann
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Old 24-01-2016, 21:30   #8
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

I like the I of non-skid boots. Try Gander Mountain; Cabelas; MC Sports or other that cater to upland bird & duck hunters. Stay away from the cheap, sock-like type. They are easily kicked off and difficult to put on. Take the dog to the store and try them on. Take a camera - its a comedy riot. I trained my large standard poodle to tow me on cross country skis. (I hear you laughing!!) He hated the boots until he figured out they kept the ice balls out of his webs. After that, he went nuts any time I pulled them out of the closet. Fastest 5 miles I ever did on the flat. Try to make it fun. Take a toy your dog will chase so he can learn how much traction he has. Get him used to them on a slippery floor in your home.

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Old 24-01-2016, 21:39   #9
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

Lewis Rubber Dog Boots.


Just found this link showing another way to put boots on so they stay.
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Old 24-01-2016, 21:42   #10
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
I like the I of non-skid boots. Try Gander Mountain; Cabelas; MC Sports or other that cater to upland bird & duck hunters. Stay away from the cheap, sock-like type. They are easily kicked off and difficult to put on. Take the dog to the store and try them on. Take a camera - its a comedy riot. I trained my large standard poodle to tow me on cross country skis. (I hear you laughing!!) He hated the boots until he figured out they kept the ice balls out of his webs. After that, he went nuts any time I pulled them out of the closet. Fastest 5 miles I ever did on the flat. Try to make it fun. Take a toy your dog will chase so he can learn how much traction he has. Get him used to them on a slippery floor in your home.

Well my old dog (an intact Black Lab) was also a fearless, totally loyal, adventurous animal… who just hated boats and wasn't all that keen on water in general. If I would take him down to a marina, he'd be bounding along merrily beside me until he saw the docks or boats and then… out would come the anchors. I tried everything… including these kinds of booties. He was just miserable, and even more miserable in the boots. He would gamely but miserably sit with them on, looking forlorn, until a few minutes later he would try (usually successfully) to chew them off. Good luck with that!

In the end I gave up, and he remained happy ever after.
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Old 24-01-2016, 23:49   #11
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

My suggestion would be to forget about sailing, instead focus on getting him relaxed and at home on the boat, at the dock. Once the boat has become a familiar place, associated with good things happening, then you can try introducing the new weird sensation of sailing.

My dog regularly visits on the boat with me, stays overnight, and loves it. She knows all the neighbours and their dogs. It's a happy place for her.

We haven't tried sailing with her yet, but might need to one day.
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Old 25-01-2016, 04:50   #12
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, shanda.
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Old 25-01-2016, 05:31   #13
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

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Originally Posted by hblask View Post
Absolutely, positively, do NOT do this. Cesar Millan is a danger and a hazard. He has been bitten many times because his methods are unsound, unscientific, and downright dangerous. The only reason he can continue to survive in the dog training business is because hundreds of generations have bred most of the aggression out of most dogs.

Instead, look into people like Karen Pryor and Ian Dunbar. They use actual science and behavior modification and are extremely effective.
I wont defend. But where is your opinion coming from?
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Old 25-01-2016, 06:38   #14
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
My suggestion would be to forget about sailing, instead focus on getting him relaxed and at home on the boat, at the dock. Once the boat has become a familiar place, associated with good things happening, then you can try introducing the new weird sensation of sailing.

My dog regularly visits on the boat with me, stays overnight, and loves it. She knows all the neighbours and their dogs. It's a happy place for her.

We haven't tried sailing with her yet, but might need to one day.

I'd say if the dog as been anxious, try this. On a day with little no no wind, waves, don't run the engine etc.
Seeing as the dog may have been a little traumatized, it may take awhile
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:06   #15
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

"...We so want him to be included in our day outings..." Who wants him included? For whose benefit? Day outings? Leave the poor dog at home where he's comfortable. He'll have a nice nap and be happy to see you when you get home.
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