We've had a large dog on board our 21' sport boat
since she was a pup, and we've now transferred that experience to our trawler
. She's now 11. She's never been boating
without her jacket on, taken off only at night when we go to bed
. We've been through several jackets. We grab the jacket's strap along the back to hoist her back aboard the boat after she goes in for a dip. She loves the water
and goes in frequently while we're drifting, trading out wakeboarders, tubers, skiers, etc.
The jacket we're currently using is a Paws Aboard and is the best we've had. The nice thing about the Paws Aboard is that it has a netting support held together with velcro along the dog's underside from behind the front legs to across the tummy. It's sturdy, well made, has lasted us 4 or 5 seasons and will go a few more. If we needed a new one, I'd probably get another.
Whichever jacket you choose, get it sized appropriately for your dog, and don't go cheap
. If your dog will be in and out of the water
, ensure that the jacket is well made, its attachments to the dog are supportive, and thorough. If your dog will be in and out of the water on purpose, consider how that will be done and how the jacket will be used in that process.
Our dog is usually tethered when the boats are moving. We don't attach the tether to the jacket but to the dog's collar, much sturdier and currently a compression
type that encourages the powerful dog to not strain. She's used to being tethered and knows her limits. When the tether is removed, she waits for permission, and then gets in the water when told it's okay. She hasn't tried jumping from the trawler's main deck
to the water, but there have been a few anxious moments next to the pier when she's usually tethered. If she has a leash on while in the dinghy
, she usually acts like she's tethered even though the other end of the leash isn't usually attached to anything. She's not well or easily trained, but consistency seems to be working in our favor.
Hope this helps. Best of luck with yours, especially while boating