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Old 12-02-2020, 11:32   #1
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Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Does anyone have any tips for keeping dogs from scratching the gelcoat and cabin sole up? I've got two large dogs and me and my wife plan to liveaboard this year. We've never had the dogs on the boat for a long period of time and occasionally my 7 year old husky likes to play. Our hardwood floors have scratches all over them in our house, which is ok, it comes with the territory, floors can be refinished but I'm wondering how the gelcoat and teak 'n holley cabin sole will handle it. Can the teak & holley sole be sanded and refinished prior to resale? 50 foot Hanse btw
thanks,
EM
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:37   #2
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

TeaI and holly is I believe much softer than oak. If they scratch oak, they will likely destroy teak and holly. I believe it’s most likely that the teak and holly are a veneer, and you may not be able to sand very deeply.
I would say rugs is your best bet.
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:44   #3
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

We use a mat over the gelcoat and onto the boat so when they Jump up they do not scratch the Gelcoat , which they do (ask me how I know)
Down below we use a waterproof running rug so that they do not scratch the floor and have some traction , but like the house your boat will get scratched eventually
It the down side of ownership ,
both my Dogs are around 60lbs so not small , also always take them on the boat,
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:24   #4
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

It is just like having children, you should know and expect your house will be destroyed until they are old enough to know better. Unfortunately with a dog, they remain as toddlers forever so set your expectations.

I like the carpet idea for inside the boat, but that likely won't help out on deck. Can you get them to wear rubber shoes? probably not. Good luck.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:25   #5
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Highly recommend that you cut there nails short, and flat, and frequently, there will be less damage as they will tend to put more pressure on the pads of their paws and less on the hard and sharp tips of the claws. Trim the hair on the underside of the paw. Also the dog's traction will be improved if they put pressure on their pads because the friction of the claws is not as great on hard surfaces. We have all seen dogs try to gain traction on hard surfaces, claws don't work well like the do on turf and dirt.

Anti slip dog socks with rubber bottoms aid a lot in traction and inhibit nail contact. An alternative to socks are dog boots.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:53   #6
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Hello! I think I agree with many people who have posted here. Some damage is likely unavoidable. But I agree with Montanan regarding cutting nails short and rounding/flattening them by filing, and trimming hair in between their pads.

We sailed and were full-time liveaboards with 2 (85 lb each) Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. We just kept their nails short and rounded, and we never noticed gelcoat or inferior scratches.

As for some comments about the booties or socks... we've used them in certain (very specific) situations... but from our experience, I wouldn't use them as an every-day thing to protect your floors/ gelcoat. Because of the constant moist/humid environment on the boat, our dogs were prone to yeast infections between their pads on their paws... one had them more chronically and severely than the other.... not fun for the dog -- or their humans trying EVERYTHING to make it go away! Think about having chronic athlete's foot, and never being able to get your feet dry to cure it (aka: trench foot).

Good luck!
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Old 12-02-2020, 22:09   #7
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Hello, Selliott,

I am one of those people who think big dogs don't belong on boats: they have a hard time with the slick surfaces, and some are prone to seasickness. ....and sometimes the owners will have trouble with the excessive hair shed by double coated dogs.

The Customs in New Caledonia once brought a large Alsatian drug dog on board our boat. I felt so sorry for him, he barely had room to turn around, he needed more room and quivered the whole time till they lifted him out (he couldn't cope with the companionway.) Some people make passerelles for their companionways, so the dogs can get in and out by themselves.

However, I do understand that you want to have them with you, and that you recognize the need to protect the very thin veneer of your cabin sole. If you want to see the cabin sole, you will be limited to clear vinyl. It will scratch, but protect the floor. Another option is indoor/outdoor carpeting. However, you should plan to remove it for the season you are not using the boat, and, beware, because both options will hold moisture.

Just to be clear, I do not think this is a good idea; it is merely what I would try. It will be a bit of a pita to measure all the surfaces accurately and cut the vinyl to fit. I have been successful butt joining it and stitching it together with ptfe thread; the seam will lie flat.

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Old 12-02-2020, 23:56   #8
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Reminds me of the old saying, "you're why we can't have nice things".

Honestly, you can mitigate a bit with rugs and planning to refurbish periodically but they will do what they do.
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Old 12-02-2020, 23:58   #9
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

An obvious thing to think about as well is just making sure you run the hell out of 'em whenever and however possible.

I kept a 60lb West Siberian Laika tired and reasonably happy for many years onboard by logging at least 10 miles a day with him on a folding bike. A bit of an extreme sport steering with one hand, leash in the other, while he darted after squirrels enroute, but he was tired enough over all those years where he only chewed into a few small areas of the teak toerails
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Old 13-02-2020, 05:04   #10
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

And I agree with Laika... we won't do it again.

We're land-based until our current dog lives out his best years (youngest of the 2 we took sailing).

Then we'll start boat shopping again.
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Old 13-02-2020, 05:58   #11
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Many say we are terrible for doing so, but we left our Daughter’s big chocolate Lab with a friend.
We took her to the boat one weekend for our Daughter to see, Brownie was miserable on the boat am her hair got everywhere, it’s amazing how much a large Lab can shed.
We didn’t leave the slip, but there is simply no way we could have gotten her into and out of a dinghy short of hoisting her on a spare halyard.

After missing a dog for about two years, I finally figured out that due to family constraints etc it’s unlikely I would be able to realize our dream of the South Pacific and got my wife a little Havamalt puppy, small dog that doesn’t shed, and being a youngster he is adapting to the boat well, but it’s taking time, at first he hated being underway, got seasick etc. we never let him out of the cockpit and even then he’s on a lease connected to the binnacle, we do not plan on deck netting, we plan on never allowing him on deck.
He really didn’t like motoring, I believe’s he’s convinced we have a Dragon that lives in the closet under the stairs, but for some reason he’s always liked the dinghy.
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Old 13-02-2020, 06:11   #12
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Growing up, we had a golden retriever on the boat. She was usually pretty tired after traveling, but she loved just being on the boat. Tons of fur, so we generally didn't let her down below (powerboat, so adequate deck space for her to be happy). She never had an issue scratching non-skid gelcoat. As she got older and her grip got a bit worse, she started to have trouble jumping on and off the boat. So we got her sneakers and that solved the problem.

Our current standard poodle loves the boat just as much if not more (same boat). And unlike the golden, he thinks the boat moving is just about the coolest thing ever and just sits and watches stuff go by. He's pretty bad about sliding around and not caring about it, so he's worn sneakers from the first day he stepped on the boat. The sneakers look a bit funny, but he's got plenty of grip, no claws to scratch anything, etc. He only comes down below at night, but other than the galley and heads, the cabin floors are all carpet on this boat. So it needs periodic cleaning, but no scratching concerns. And he doesn't shed. The picture below is him laying by my feet while I'm sitting at the helm.
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Old 13-02-2020, 09:18   #13
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Good suggestions on carpeting. One might also consider AstroTurf for areas above and below. I knew an owner who had an AstroTurf patch in the bow area of his vessel and had trained his pooch to poop and pee there. Easy cleanup with less risk of fouling deck.

Which segues me to a story about a Black Lab on a boat at anchor somewhere near the North Channel. The owners had left the dog on deck for I am not sure of the duration, but while out boat was anchored near, the dog would periodically go to the bow of the vessel and emit a mournful howl. A sadder thing would be harder to find. And nothing is sadder than a sad Black Labrador Retriever.
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Old 13-02-2020, 09:34   #14
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Dogs on boats are the biggest pita.
For daysailing I leave mine at home (black lab).
But when I go cruising she comes along. She is just the greatest company and steangely always agrees with me. ( unlike some people I've taken).
They're work, but worth every effort.

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Old 13-02-2020, 09:43   #15
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Re: Tips for preventing dogs from tearing your boat up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selliott View Post
Does anyone have any tips for keeping dogs from scratching the gelcoat and cabin sole up? I've got two large dogs and me and my wife plan to liveaboard this year. We've never had the dogs on the boat for a long period of time and occasionally my 7 year old husky likes to play. Our hardwood floors have scratches all over them in our house, which is ok, it comes with the territory, floors can be refinished but I'm wondering how the gelcoat and teak 'n holley cabin sole will handle it. Can the teak & holley sole be sanded and refinished prior to resale? 50 foot Hanse btw
thanks,
EM
A boat is not the natural environment for dogs. As you have decided to liveaboard for a year find them a temporary/new home.

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