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Keeping your Dog Happy on the Water

Capt. George East


If you're like most of us, our dogs are part of the family and are often aboard when we cruise and overnight. Most dogs (and cats!) do well on the water, and if you have a pet that you leave behind, your special family member is missing out.

Above, Star enjoys a ride on Rolf Klein's Zodiac


The next time you head to the boat, bring along the leash and the water bowl. Just remember to use these Dogs-on-Board tips to keep the trip a fun one for everyone:

1. Bring plenty of fresh water. Dogs can't perspire, and they'll need to lap up lots of H2O in order to stay cool, especially when the sun is blazing.

2. Let him off the leash-if you trust him not to take a flying leap. Usually dogs won't jump from a boat that's moving (except in the case of a poorly trained hunting dog, or an inexperienced puppy), and he'll be curious, and want to move around a lot. Note, however, that when the boat isn't moving plenty of dogs will take an unexpected plunge.

3. Bring a piece of indoor-outdoor carpet. Lay it in the cockpit, and your dog will be able to keep a solid footing. Fiberglass non-skid decks may provide a secure footing to you and me, but they can be quite slippery to a dog's paws.

4. Don't cut bait and leave it sitting out. Do so, and there's a good chance it'll get gobbled up.

5. Don't leave lures swinging from fishing rod tips. A dangling temptation with hooks is NOT what you want your pup to go chasing after.

6. Make sure the dog has a chance to relieve himself, before you leave the dock. Nothing ruins a trip on the boat like having to go... and being unable to!

7. Be prepared to turn around on rough days. Yes, dogs can get seasick, too. It's not as common as it is with people, but it does happen. Don't plan on a long day in rough waters until you've had a chance to expose your dog to rocking and rolling, and you know for a fact that he doesn't get green when the waves kick up.

8. Take plenty of treats. Positive reinforcement is always the best way to get a pooch to do your bidding. With a handful of treats, you can get him to stay put when you're occupied with important tasks, like setting the anchor or tying up lines.

9. Consider buying a dog vest. These provide flotation, and neoprene models also provide some warmth if you're boating in cold waters and chilly air. This is especially important for retrievers, which almost always find a way to get wet sooner or later. In fact, jumping off the dock before you even shove off is a distinct hazard with this breed!

10. Use a ramp or carry your dog onto the boat, if it sits well below dock level. Otherwise there's a fair chance your dog will try to jump on board, and possibly injure himself. Boarding and disembarking should always be controlled, planned motions.


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Above, Tucker enjoys his fan at the stern of Muttley Crew


More of your dog pictures: next page...

 

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Capt. George East
Contributer

George East has been boating since he was seventeen, has had other interests including flying (FAA licensed pilot) car racing, and snow skiing, but he has always remained an ardent boater. After earning a USCG captain's license some 25 years ago, George spent time as a delivery and demonstration captain for one of the major motoryacht manufacturers.

During this same period, while he was building a successful construction and ready mix concrete company, George still found time to own and operate several boats including two Chris-Crafts, a Gulfstar, and two Hatterases.

Fast forward to the present to find George retired from his businesses, devoting all of his energy to boats and the boating industry. George currently holds a 100 Ton USCG Master's license. His specialties are classic Chris-Craft and Hatteras yachts. George instructed with the U.S. Power Squadron for 15 years, and is now a broker with Paradigm Yacht Sales in Louisville, Kentucky and Cape Coral, Florida.

 

This article was contributed to this site by Paradigm Yacht Sales, Louisville's largest brokerage.

Whether you're looking to buy or sell a boat, you can reach them at:

Paradigm Yacht Sales
P.O. Box 1043
US Highway 42
Prospect, KY 40059

877-468-7594 Toll Free
502-292-0444
Fax: 502-292-0442

 

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