freewheelin

Boat Dogs - What to look for?

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This working from home and self-quarantining has us missing our dog more than ever. He passed last November, and we were going to take a year off of pet ownership for easier traveling, cruising, etc. this summer. Well, that is out the window. So we are considering adopting again. Our last was older, and 90 pounds with some hip problems by the time we got our boat. He also got really car-sick. So we knew he wasn't a sailing dog. We want our next one to be able to cruise with us.

I know that plenty of people take their dogs sailing - every other sailing vlogger has a dog. Some look happy, some look miserable. We have a small boat (30 ft, and fairly narrow) but would prefer a medium sized dog. We want to adopt a dog, probably 6 mo - 1.5 years old. But we would really like the freedom to take it cruising on the weekends, or for a week or two at a time - and we don't want it to be scared, sick, or miserable. But as we look for dogs, how can you tell?

I am sure there are people out there with experience. Any advice? Any traits to look for? How do you train a dog to go (and love) weekend sailing?

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buy a small bitch puppy with short hair that does not like swimming

bitches have great bladder control

short hair dries fast

a puppy is a blank sheet -a rescue dog has usually been rescued from idiots

I would recommend a Jack russel bitch

I now own a black lab - she is lovely, friendly, good to be around but a pain in the ass on a boat

D

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A cat.

Dogs are not boat animals.

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Dunno - my Border Collies all hated swimming and hated boats (loved riding in trucks).  They grew to tolerate motoring or downwind sailing, but were completely miserable when things started heeling.  But they came to boats relatively late in life. A friend had one who loved their boat. Maybe gotta start 'em young.  Also, sailboat ladders are tough on older dogs. 

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Cats are terrible

they do not even like people

 

they just use them

 

and they smell worse than dogs

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My boat isn't big enough for me and a litter box.

Funny thing - last summer I was spending a night on a guest dock. Got up early and this cat was calmly sitting on the dock, next to an old MoBo.  He was there all the time I was fixing breakfast. Presently, the MoBo stirred. An old guy shuffled off onto the dock, and hooked the waiting cat up on a leash. Then they calmly headed off on their morning walk.  

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A little bit at a time. Only partly kidding, it's a very powerful part of dog psychology that the familiar is safe, the more familiar anything is, the more they will accept or even like it.

Size- I've had 90 lbs dogs on boats, and our last dog was 70 lbs. They're infinitely adaptable (with enough support and patience) but they can't change their size or weight. A big dog is darn inconvenient on a small boat. And they have limits to their agility, even with long legs they often cannot manage the companionway steps... or they can go up but not down. So I would recommend a dog whose legs were about the same length as the c'way steps, so they would be more likely to be able to manage it. Also, a dog not bigger/heavier than you can tuck under one arm and carry, for those times when the dog simply cannot go (either by reason of agility, or for example when you are rafted up alongside another boat and he cannot scamper across the other boat).

Temperament- IMHO healthy dogs are almost infinitely adaptable. "Healthy" includes the relationship to you, their pack leader, of course. Too many people simply cannot understand how to cope with a dog and the dogs are at a bit of a loss with them, too. But usually the dog will shrug and do his best anyway. But picking a dog from scratch, obviously you want one with a more calm, accepting temperament. If you have a conventional dog advice/training source, just follow their recommendation for choosing a puppy. I have only chosen three dogs in my life (although I've had nine) so I'm not the expert.

Bringing a dog aboard- that I can tell you a lot about, and most people do it all wrong (same as they approach baths or cutting nails all wrong). The first time you go to the boat, don't even bring the dog aboard. Bring it's bed, and some treats, and a toy it likes. Then take the dog for a long walk, exercise it in some vigorous play, then go to the boat and set the bed or crate on the dock next to the boat. Then you go aboard for short while, let the dog see you on the boat, then you get off and sit next to the dog petting it. Do this at least three times, even if the dog seems calm. If he doesn't seem calm the third time, keep doing it until he does. Then (after another long walk & exercise) bring the dog (and his bed or crate) onto the boat, and set it someplace secure like on a cockpit seat. Sit next to the dog, let it feel secure with you ON the boat. Then back ashore. After at least 3X, then let it stay in the cockpit (the dog should be well trained to "stay" at this point) while you walk around the deck and it watches you from the cockpit.... this is where I always had problems, because our dogs had more confidence and wanted to walk the deck right behind me (or under foot, more like).

Anyway, you get the idea. Take it very very gradually. Only take the dog out sailing after it accepts being on the boat as normal and OK, and will carry out all it's normal behaviors and interactions with you just like it was your own living room.

Potty on the boat- this is another sore point. We trained out last two dogs, and it never really "took." I suspect this was because they were adult dogs when we took them cruising. They liked the boat well enough but would "hold" for up to 48 hours before pottying, and it was upsetting to them even though my wife and I made it clear all was OK. Some couples I know have trained their dog to pee on the sole of the head, but they started as a puppy. Ours went on the foredeck or side deck, with the assistance of a pine straw mat they'd peed on in our yard at home (sorry if that sounds disgusting, but it's the facts of life).

 

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Dogs are such great companions. I've been extremely happy to share our adventures with our last two, which y cobining lessons from all our previous dogs, managed to make fairly successful sea dogs out of them. Whether I'll get the chance to have another is still an open question.

Good luck!

FB- Doug

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27 minutes ago, dylan winter said:

Cats are terrible

they do not even like people

 

they just use them

 

and they smell worse than dogs

My wife adopted 2 barn cats 18 years ago.  They outlasted all their litter mates. We just put the female down a couple months ago. Advanced brain disease.

The male seemed confused and lonely so I took pity on him. I am now his best buddy. He greets me at the door like a dog. He sleeps on my back at night. He vocalizes to me quite a bit. We sing to each other. He does not give two shits about my wife anymore. He's awfully spry for 18 years old but he's knappy and bony. Petting him is like petting a furry bag of sticks and pebbles. He drools when I rub his ears.  I have appended various nicknames to him:

  • Captain Butt
  • King of Leisure
  • Sultan of Sleep
  • Duke of Drool

He's an attention whore. He'll approach any visitor for lovin's.  I can smack him around and he'll fight back.

He's a good little guy but I still don't want him or a dog on the boat.

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A simple query answers all of this;

Have any of you ever read or heard of a "Ship's Dog" in the age of sail?

How about a "Ship's Cat"?

'Nuff said. :ph34r:

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^ Yes, and Yes.

I've also read a number of "round-the-world memoirs" in which someone takes along a cat, for company.  It never ends well for the cat.

I should also mention that the above-mentioned friend's Border Collie went overboard out in San Juan Channel, when nobody was watching.  Two boats searched for hours with no sign of her.  Finally they had to give up.  Tears were shed.  THEN the dog was spotted running up the beach on a nearby island.  So maybe it really was a cat and had an extra life to spare.

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How about a parrot?

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21 minutes ago, Bull City said:

How about a parrot?

A Norwegian Blue would be perfect. They are very quiet.

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Way back in cowlege, there was a stray cat that moved into the crew barn and adopted the rowers.  She would be up in the bow of the boat at 0600 every morning, soaking wet. If the crew had to swim, so did George (Pocock) Cat.  She was smart enough to pick the most stable boat to ride, usually.  

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Miss our Portuguese Water Dog, who loved being on boats (or cars, or any other conveyance).

A lookout on small boats, on larger boats (or cars) he would just find a spot to lay down. Started as a puppy "crewing" on a Thistle. A working breed, they are very active, but seem able to turn it off when traveling. Never had a dog so easy to take on trips, boat or otherwise. 

  • About 45 pounds
  • Does not shed
  • Very tolerant of small spaces
  • single coat, quick drying- but not super fond of cold.
  • did I mention does not shed?

 

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4 hours ago, Bull City said:

How about a parrot?

You have to nail them to their perch.

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We have a rescue greyhound.  On the surface possibly the worst boat dog imaginable - can't swim worth a damn due to 0.001% body fat, nervous, large, long & spindly breakable legs - like having an antelope aboard.  

On the other hand, they don't shed, and they sleep like 23.5hrs per day.  

We haven't taken him out yet, but I'll report back.  

Some have had luck with the miniature version of our dog, a whippet.  

 

 

Francis.jpg

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I'd look for something that doesn't shed. My father in law has a collie, loves the boat. Problem is I spend the entire time spotting gelcoat cracks that turn out to be dog hair.

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30 minutes ago, European Bloke said:

I'd look for something that doesn't shed. My father in law has a collie, loves the boat. Problem is I spend the entire time spotting gelcoat cracks that turn out to be dog hair.

I agree

Jill brings the labrador on the boat - which is why I now tow a rigid tender.  For the following six weeks I am fishing black hairs out of my tea. 

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I have had a number of working Spaniels, current one is 3/4 springer, 1/4Cocker. Quite happy so long as he is near me at home or on a boat /Car. 

Able to swim ashore do whatever between HW and LW and swim back to climb the steps. Shed hair is a problem, but it ensures that we sweep/hoover daily. 

 

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12 hours ago, freewheelin said:

This working from home and self-quarantining has us missing our dog more than ever. He passed last November, and we were going to take a year off of pet ownership for easier traveling, cruising, etc. this summer. Well, that is out the window. So we are considering adopting again. Our last was older, and 90 pounds with some hip problems by the time we got our boat. He also got really car-sick. So we knew he wasn't a sailing dog. We want our next one to be able to cruise with us.

I know that plenty of people take their dogs sailing - every other sailing vlogger has a dog. Some look happy, some look miserable. We have a small boat (30 ft, and fairly narrow) but would prefer a medium sized dog. We want to adopt a dog, probably 6 mo - 1.5 years old. But we would really like the freedom to take it cruising on the weekends, or for a week or two at a time - and we don't want it to be scared, sick, or miserable. But as we look for dogs, how can you tell?

I am sure there are people out there with experience. Any advice? Any traits to look for? How do you train a dog to go (and love) weekend sailing?

My condolences on your loss. I said ‘see you soon ol mate’ to my best friend in December.

Cat V’s Dog is similar to Cat V’s Monohull. I feel in matters of the heart, go with it. But for boat wise practicality i would have two main criteria:

Physical size limitations for yours and the creatures comfort.

&(kind of related) Insuring its nothing thatd leave Large life ‘Shat’tering landmines around..

With those two criteria in my mind and my tongue in my cheek, ladies and gentleman i submit my top two choices for future onboard pets/travel companions:

The Otter:
(Reasons-Fishing guru and cute).

The Monkey: Can be trained like any crew, expert in the rigging, potential to pirate and Cute. 
 

Good luck in your individual search. Stay safe. 

 

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14 hours ago, freewheelin said:

This working from home and self-quarantining has us missing our dog more than ever. He passed last November, and we were going to take a year off of pet ownership for easier traveling, cruising, etc. this summer. Well, that is out the window. So we are considering adopting again. Our last was older, and 90 pounds with some hip problems by the time we got our boat. He also got really car-sick. So we knew he wasn't a sailing dog. We want our next one to be able to cruise with us.

I know that plenty of people take their dogs sailing - every other sailing vlogger has a dog. Some look happy, some look miserable. We have a small boat (30 ft, and fairly narrow) but would prefer a medium sized dog. We want to adopt a dog, probably 6 mo - 1.5 years old. But we would really like the freedom to take it cruising on the weekends, or for a week or two at a time - and we don't want it to be scared, sick, or miserable. But as we look for dogs, how can you tell?

I am sure there are people out there with experience. Any advice? Any traits to look for? How do you train a dog to go (and love) weekend sailing?

 

I applaud you for adopting before. Consider a puppy though if you want to take it sailing. The odds are almost all in your favor that a puppy that started sailing will love it for life. But with patience and adoptee could be a great sailing dog. 

2063225968_ToerailTommy.thumb.jpg.fec632d490eb37e16b6b929c64f08c5e.jpg

Then I think on the medium size of the dog - which is a matter of what breeds you like and are familiar with - weighed against the fact that a light animal, less than 20 pounds, is just another 12 pack of beer to haul on deck. 40 to 50 pounds can be a task but you love the dog you have. 

 

We've sailed most of coastal miles with dogs, a medium Springer for years and these days, 2 Jack Russells. They love it and have been onboard seasonally since puppies. They have no trepidation of heeling and will simply find the leeward side of the cockpit to sleep. They don't fight the motion as good sailors don't. 

 

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Dogs can be a nuisance at times, just as our children can be. Some of us are cursed and put up with the needs of these strange beings nonetheless, because, we're dog people. 

 

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On breed: I'd never been a small dog person until my family went looking for another dog after we lost a beloved Springer. I only said, make a small dog that will be easy to take sailing. 

 

That worked fine so the got another one. Sailing is a feast for a dogs sense of smell as the wind on the water is such a pungent world. They see the world through their noses. 

 

1491437993_DogsapproachingPulpitRock.thumb.jpg.fd23cd04231723e2f7b33623230c38ae.jpg

 

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11 hours ago, Zonker said:

Schipperkes are sooo noisy. 

...    ...

 

Yes. I've known about half a dozen, the best of them was much yappy-er than I could stand in a dog of mine. That can be overcome with training, to as much an extent as you have the time & patience. But genetics will out... a retriever will ALWAY love to retrieve, given the chance; and yappy little dogs appear to love the sound of their own voice as much as some people do.

FB- Doug

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I echo everything Kris Kringle said - particularly about portability.  Getting on and off a boat with a dog you can throw under your arm isn't even something you have to think about; doing it with a 75-pound lab requires actual logistics.  I'm also a neatnik, particularly when it comes to the boat, and so I'd strongly recommend a non-shedding breed, but you'll know if stray hairs bother you or not.

We adopted Kirby from a shelter when he was nearly three years old, but if anything he seems to love the boat even more than we do.  Bichons frises were sea captains' dogs in the Renaissance, which isn't a surprise when you have one.

BTW, what a great excuse for a dog photos thread!

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Having lived with a cat on rivers and canals, there's no way I would have one on a yacht. He fell in at least 4 times a year, once attempted a flying leap to go attack birds in London Zoo and was rescued by a tramp. Also after falling in he would immediately dive under the bed covers for warmth, the little sod. In fact the first night on that boat the water was lightly frozen and he thought it would be sensible to go for a walk.

Sneaking off at locks and then looking at you like death when you came back 2 hours later after finding somewhere to turn (UK canals usually narrower than a boat is long) 

Being 'rescued' by do gooders because they don't expect to find pedigree cats on the towpath in some god forsaken post industrial English town.

Also if they are male they will be in fights all the time if you are around other cats, usually they get used to each other's wanderings and learn to not be in places where the other cats are likely to be. Bad injuries from his last match meant he went to live with my ex's parents for our sanity.

 

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We've had 3 Aussies, all pure bred, all eager swimmers, all hated the boats. I don't know if it's genetic or that we just didn't introduce them to boating properly, but they all seemed to withdraw and act uncomfortable while aboard. We could never train any of them to pee and poop on board, which meant frequent stops. Plus, the long hair coats everything and carries an enormous load back aboard after running on the clam flats.

Love the breed but wouldn't recommend them as boat dogs.

Not a happy looking dog...

enhance

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I have loved all my dogs but I have NEVER been blessed with a dog who was particularly intelligent, obedient, or well behaved.  They've all been perfectly satisfactory suburban house pets but none of them would have adapted well to boat life. My final dog, a rescued beagle absolutely hated the boat, even at the dock. He just seemed terrified.

I'm certain that all you mo-fo's that have these wonderfully trained, portable boat dogs that sleep and poop on command, are brilliant trainers and have also been blessed with dogs of the proper temperament. I'm a terrible trainer and I have terrible luck.

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2 hours ago, Kris Cringle said:

 

I applaud you for adopting before. Consider a puppy though if you want to take it sailing. The odds are almost all in your favor that a puppy that started sailing will love it for life. But with patience and adoptee could be a great sailing dog. 

2063225968_ToerailTommy.thumb.jpg.fec632d490eb37e16b6b929c64f08c5e.jpg

Then I think on the medium size of the dog - which is a matter of what breeds you like and are familiar with - weighed against the fact that a light animal, less than 20 pounds, is just another 12 pack of beer to haul on deck. 40 to 50 pounds can be a task but you love the dog you have. 

 

We've sailed most of coastal miles with dogs, a medium Springer for years and these days, 2 Jack Russells. They love it and have been onboard seasonally since puppies. They have no trepidation of heeling and will simply find the leeward side of the cockpit to sleep. They don't fight the motion as good sailors don't. 

 

558743919_Cockpitmanholeaccess._.thumb.jpg.a6bf40c13d3a8b20427cb06530ca037b.jpg

 

Dogs can be a nuisance at times, just as our children can be. Some of us are cursed and put up with the needs of these strange beings nonetheless, because, we're dog people. 

 

608253333_ShiversanchorageTommy.thumb.jpg.edf190f9674fdeac1537b048206235e6.jpg

 

On breed: I'd never been a small dog person until my family went looking for another dog after we lost a beloved Springer. I only said, make a small dog that will be easy to take sailing. 

 

That worked fine so the got another one. Sailing is a feast for a dogs sense of smell as the wind on the water is such a pungent world. They see the world through their noses. 

 

1491437993_DogsapproachingPulpitRock.thumb.jpg.fd23cd04231723e2f7b33623230c38ae.jpg

 

LOVE your photos....especially the last one.....true joy!

 

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20 hours ago, freewheelin said:

This working from home and self-quarantining has us missing our dog more than ever. He passed last November, and we were going to take a year off of pet ownership for easier traveling, cruising, etc. this summer. Well, that is out the window. So we are considering adopting again. Our last was older, and 90 pounds with some hip problems by the time we got our boat. He also got really car-sick. So we knew he wasn't a sailing dog. We want our next one to be able to cruise with us.

I know that plenty of people take their dogs sailing - every other sailing vlogger has a dog. Some look happy, some look miserable. We have a small boat (30 ft, and fairly narrow) but would prefer a medium sized dog. We want to adopt a dog, probably 6 mo - 1.5 years old. But we would really like the freedom to take it cruising on the weekends, or for a week or two at a time - and we don't want it to be scared, sick, or miserable. But as we look for dogs, how can you tell?

I am sure there are people out there with experience. Any advice? Any traits to look for? How do you train a dog to go (and love) weekend sailing?

All my dogs have been "boat dogs", some more successfully than others.

Here is my advice:

1. Get a dog in the 30-50 pound range. After decades of hoisting 100 pound dogs in and out of the dinghy, our first "small" dog at 40 something pounds was a revelation. It was SO much easier to move her on and off the boat and my back thanked me!

2. Get a dog that can swim. I know this is like "well no shit", but your dog may be a DOB (dog over board) one day. The dog does not have to like to swim, but the dog needs to be ABLE to swim. Some breeds are very likely to drown themselves, see dogs like bulldogs and pugs. The "smashed in face" dogs can hardly breath right on land and will suffer badly on a hot day even if they don't fall in and drown.

3. Look for low maintenance low shedding dogs. After having Goldens that took a few towels and a shop vac to dry, or first Chessie seemed like magic. A few shakes and their water-repelling coat was already half dry before I even grabbed a towel. I don't always follow my own rule, my Belgian Sheepdog is a hair dispensing machine :rolleyes:

4. A warning about "water" dogs, they may like water TOO much. I had to do many a DOB retrieval when one of our Chessies saw something in the water he wanted to get and off he went. Getting their 100 pound asses back on the boat was a pain.

5. Even dogs from the most nautical lineage need to learn for themselves how to deal with sailing, they are not born knowing. For one example, my first Chessie would run all around the boat under power, but lie down on the low side cockpit seat under sail. One day I was motorsailing, he thought "engine" and took off for the foredeck, and the became irate when a gust healed us over. His barking was like "WTF are you DOING, no heeling under power you idiot!"

6. Dogs can get just as seasick as people. We had one dog that on her first boat trip that turned out to be a rough beat decide to go up to the v-berth. Soon enough the dog was sick as a dog and throwing up on my wife, who was not pleased. I called her out to the cockpit and pointed out at the horizon - LOOK THERE. She visibly relaxed and was never sick again, she always would look out at the horizon if she started feeling bad.

7. Teach dogs useful tricks if you can. The dog on the left below was my docking assistant. I would tie the dinghy painter to her leash and once within jumping range she would leap onto the dock and I would gently pull myself up. Shoreside people loved it.

sunIMG_1128.JPG

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17 hours ago, Zonker said:

Schipperkes are sooo noisy. ....

That’s not a bug, it’s a feature...

At least on really foggy days.

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Medium size mutt, best dogs.

Lazy ones are alot less work.

Any pet is a shitload of work on a boat but dogs more so.  That said every boat we have met with dogs would not have it any other way.

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15 hours ago, Oceanconcepts said:

Miss our Portuguese Water Dog, who loved being on boats (or cars, or any other conveyance).

A lookout on small boats, on larger boats (or cars) he would just find a spot to lay down. Started as a puppy "crewing" on a Thistle. A working breed, they are very active, but seem able to turn it off when traveling. Never had a dog so easy to take on trips, boat or otherwise. 

  • About 45 pounds
  • Does not shed
  • Very tolerant of small spaces
  • single coat, quick drying- but not super fond of cold.
  • did I mention does not shed?

 

This. x100. I've had dogs all my life, but once living aboard full-time, I took a break from dog ownership. Couldn't imagine dealing the hair and the smell on a 33' cutter. Then I read some posts from Bob Perry about what great boat dogs PWDs are. The wonder dog is a mix, half Portie, half standard Poodle. Best dog I've ever known. Smart. Swims like a fool. Doesn't shed, or smell when wet (good thing, cause she's wet a lot). Best of all, she never barks. Never (except when people she knows are in the water and then she wants to save them all. 

ScoutSailingWickford.JPG

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Our first boat cat was an orphan who we adopted in Mexico. He fell/jumped overboard >35 times (we stopped counting at 35). 

We have many, many stories....

We believe he was not pure domestic cat. On the Baja peninsula there was a now extinct breed of wild cat that was called a fishing cat. Our cat managed to catch fish in crazy ways. He's jump in the dinghy and some days would swim back with a fish, or call out until he was pulled back to the mother ship. He was VERY clever, and knew several words.

When we took him to a vet in Vancouver to get a health certificate to allow him to fly back to Panama she freaked out. "What's that?" she cried. "Kitty cat?", we said.

"NO it bloody isn't". She proceeded to show us his enormous canine teeth, his double coat and the tufted ear hairs sort of like a Lynx. She was truly scared of him (he was >25 lbs and did NOT like being in the vet office). She reluctantly gave us his certificate but said we should never have him around children. He did puncture my biceps once - because I was sitting on the settee and he was all "Who you lookin' at muther-fucker". Basically an unprovoked attack. He was like that.
 

We took him on a road trip to see my sister and he managed to find her Koi fish pond. He jumped on a rock in the pond and gently patted the water until he caught the fish's attention - they were slowly approaching the ripples on the surface when we caught him.


He went missing in Annapolis over Halloween. Friends who were out walking their dog from another marina were told to call his name because he would reply. After 3 days missing they thought it was a long shot but dutifully tried. They hear him reply - from up a tree with no branches for 15'!  We had to steal a boat yard ladder and hold it vertically like a circus act to get to the cat! (*Again >25 lb cat)


One winter he didn't return after his nighttime pee walk in the marina. We started looking at midnight with no success for 2 hours. Until we heard a cry. He walked across the frozen ice of our creek to a work barge. We had to borrow a work skiff, break through the ice with a shovel and row out 100m to put a ladder up the side of the ladder for him to get down.
 

Dog was chasing him on the marina dock. Cat made a tight turn with his claws, dog couldn't make the turn and ends up breaking his leg. Owner wanted us to share costs - when the dog was the culprit.
 

One day my wife hears all these ducks outside and goes to check on the cat. He's sitting on the dock, looking scared and awkward as a bunch of ducks were dive-bombing him! She picks up the cat and juvenile duck he had been sitting on, flies away unharmed.


We had the distinction of being the only domestic cat in Maryland being charged with being a dangerous animal. We had to go to animal court to plead his case. The bailiff went and checked because he didn't think there had ever been a kitty cat charged in Maryland.


While at the Pedro Miguel boat club in the Panama canal, he slipped under the fence separating us from the canal. A passing Vietnam freighter going through the lock had a crew on the aft deck trying desperately to call him and encourage him to join the crew. We were on the other side of the fence calling him, saying they only wanted him for his body. He eventually wandered back but it was clear he was thinking of upgrading boats.
 

We had a friend with us visiting while we were in Mexico. She was sleeping in the saloon when in the early morning we hear a scream, a thud, and "FUCKING CAT BIT MY NIPPLE". He was only a kitten at the time.


When we eventually had a kid, he was pretty nice to her when she pulled his tail or whiskers, right until they got to be about the same weight at kid age 2. After that he started being a bit more forceful in warning her to be nice.
 

He liked fish of all sorts, tortillas, mangoes, cookies, melon, rum drinks (with fruit juice only), spaghetti sauce, and was not a picky eater. We loved him, the evil bastard. 

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How did he finally pass?

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Something else to ponder - dogs are NOT hot weather animals. They tolerate heat less well than humans, they do not sweat like we do. Shade is essential. Dogs are not welcome in all places and you CANNOT tie a dog up outside in the summer sun. Depending on the dog's tolerance for being left on the boat, you may encounter some limitations on your ability to eat and shop ashore.

When with dog we ended up eating a lot at the Crab Claw in Saint Michaels, not because it was our favorite restaurant, but because you could east outside in the shade and have your dog with you. One time we tied her up outside and ate dinner at Ava's in town and they had all their windows open. We are inside digging into a superb pizza when movement caught our eye. Our dog had slipped her leash and was climbing IN THE WINDOW and had her front paws right in the middle of the table there. We ran and got her before she got in far enough to eat the food she was about to get in range of. Everyone was :lol: and the chef took a break to out and entertain her.

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2 hours ago, Zonker said:

Our first boat cat was an orphan who we adopted in Mexico. He fell/jumped overboard >35 times (we stopped counting at 35). 

We have many, many stories....

We believe he was not pure domestic cat. On the Baja peninsula there was a now extinct breed of wild cat that was called a fishing cat. Our cat managed to catch fish in crazy ways. He's jump in the dinghy and some days would swim back with a fish, or call out until he was pulled back to the mother ship. He was VERY clever, and knew several words.

When we took him to a vet in Vancouver to get a health certificate to allow him to fly back to Panama she freaked out. "What's that?" she cried. "Kitty cat?", we said.

"NO it bloody isn't". She proceeded to show us his enormous canine teeth, his double coat and the tufted ear hairs sort of like a Lynx. She was truly scared of him (he was >25 lbs and did NOT like being in the vet office). She reluctantly gave us his certificate but said we should never have him around children. He did puncture my biceps once - because I was sitting on the settee and he was all "Who you lookin' at muther-fucker". Basically an unprovoked attack. He was like that.
 

We took him on a road trip to see my sister and he managed to find her Koi fish pond. He jumped on a rock in the pond and gently patted the water until he caught the fish's attention - they were slowly approaching the ripples on the surface when we caught him.


He went missing in Annapolis over Halloween. Friends who were out walking their dog from another marina were told to call his name because he would reply. After 3 days missing they thought it was a long shot but dutifully tried. They hear him reply - from up a tree with no branches for 15'!  We had to steal a boat yard ladder and hold it vertically like a circus act to get to the cat! (*Again >25 lb cat)


One winter he didn't return after his nighttime pee walk in the marina. We started looking at midnight with no success for 2 hours. Until we heard a cry. He walked across the frozen ice of our creek to a work barge. We had to borrow a work skiff, break through the ice with a shovel and row out 100m to put a ladder up the side of the ladder for him to get down.
 

Dog was chasing him on the marina dock. Cat made a tight turn with his claws, dog couldn't make the turn and ends up breaking his leg. Owner wanted us to share costs - when the dog was the culprit.
 

One day my wife hears all these ducks outside and goes to check on the cat. He's sitting on the dock, looking scared and awkward as a bunch of ducks were dive-bombing him! She picks up the cat and juvenile duck he had been sitting on, flies away unharmed.


We had the distinction of being the only domestic cat in Maryland being charged with being a dangerous animal. We had to go to animal court to plead his case. The bailiff went and checked because he didn't think there had ever been a kitty cat charged in Maryland.


While at the Pedro Miguel boat club in the Panama canal, he slipped under the fence separating us from the canal. A passing Vietnam freighter going through the lock had a crew on the aft deck trying desperately to call him and encourage him to join the crew. We were on the other side of the fence calling him, saying they only wanted him for his body. He eventually wandered back but it was clear he was thinking of upgrading boats.
 

We had a friend with us visiting while we were in Mexico. She was sleeping in the saloon when in the early morning we hear a scream, a thud, and "FUCKING CAT BIT MY NIPPLE". He was only a kitten at the time.


When we eventually had a kid, he was pretty nice to her when she pulled his tail or whiskers, right until they got to be about the same weight at kid age 2. After that he started being a bit more forceful in warning her to be nice.
 

He liked fish of all sorts, tortillas, mangoes, cookies, melon, rum drinks (with fruit juice only), spaghetti sauce, and was not a picky eater. We loved him, the evil bastard. 

Any photos of the hellcat?

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29 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Any photos of the hellcat?

The kid in the photo is pretty new, about 7-1/2 lbs.  The cat's head was about the size of a softball. 

He died of cancer at 12. Happened very quickly. His ashes reside on Chesterfield reef, and uninhabited atoll near New Caledonia covered with thousands of birds. 

1451307836_Travisthecat.thumb.jpg.fab80ddc3a1ce8c036bd9f669dced4a4.jpg

 

P1010022.jpg

More info on cruising cats:

http://maiaaboard.blogspot.com/search?q=travis

 

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6 minutes ago, Zonker said:

His ashes reside on Chesterfield reef, and uninhabited atoll near New Caledonia covered with thousands of birds. 



May he slaughter the unwary for eternity, that was a hell of a kitty.

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On 4/17/2020 at 2:45 PM, SloopJonB said:

A cat.

We loved our cat.  She hated the boat.  Got seriously seasick, although she was self-tacking.

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1 minute ago, jamhass said:

We loved our cat.  She hated the boat.  Got seriously seasick, although she was self-tacking.

We tried to take our #1 cat cruising for a couple of weeks. Survived the first day sorta OK but day 2 involved motoring into waves, and Geordie's response to one very bad slam was to run around the inside of the boat twice and dive under the stove. Where he stayed for the next 12 hours.

He was so freaked that we had to offload him to my luckily close-by folks the next day, and they took care of him.

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Ours always wanted a bigger boat.  When she went missing, we would first look at the biggest boat on the dock.  Usually a good guess.

On advice from a vet, we tried Valium on her.  Once, at the dock.  Next we saw her, she was a mass of salt water looking up at the boat from the dock.  The Valium left her with little control over her hind end.  She wandered up to the bow, fell off the boat and still got herself out of the water.  A real scapper.

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Not to spoil the dog thread but we wouldn't know what to do without our cat, been there since the beginning, kid and cat are both 16 now.  last one is our friends boat dog Mudd, you know a good boat dog it it will hang out with a boat cat.

January 06 135.jpg

Nemo the cat.jpg

IMG_0679.JPG

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Great pics. I love the top one, and the bottom one should be captioned.

Cat: The dog is not there. No dog. When I open my eyes, there will never have even BEEN a dog

Dog: Oh goody, I can't wait, I just know me and the cat will be bestest friends...

FB- Doug

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If you zoom in on the top one you can almost see that the kid is covered in scratches, it was right before X mass pictures and she was a self professed cat wrestler, her arms and face were thrashed, but they had alot of fun.

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55 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

......you know a good boat dog it it will hang out with a boat cat.

Yep.

o16tZeY.jpg

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43 minutes ago, Panope said:

Yep.

o16tZeY.jpg

Man, and I thought Zonker's cat was weird looking...

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My BIL is a veterinarian and we've spent a bit of time in Mexico together, where he has volunteered in vaccination clinics.  He says that you want a Mexican dog.  They are intelligent and have learned things.  

When left alone, all dogs tend to revert back to their beginnings:  Something about 35 pounds, short light brown fur, pointed ears, curly tail, and a great temperament.  They know how to survive.

 

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10 hours ago, Anomaly2 said:

This. x100. I've had dogs all my life, but once living aboard full-time, I took a break from dog ownership. Couldn't imagine dealing the hair and the smell on a 33' cutter. Then I read some posts from Bob Perry about what great boat dogs PWDs are. The wonder dog is a mix, half Portie, half standard Poodle. Best dog I've ever known. Smart. Swims like a fool. Doesn't shed, or smell when wet (good thing, cause she's wet a lot). Best of all, she never barks. Never (except when people she knows are in the water and then she wants to save them all. 

ScoutSailingWickford.JPG

But does she sing?

Our PWD didn't bark once in the first couple of years, but would let out with the most expressive verbal acrobatics over about three octaves. Would sing along with my wife at the piano.  

Only found out he could bark when a sketchy solicitor he just didn't like came to the door. He had quite a sensitivity for people. Loved babies and toddlers, and was gentle and patient with them. Would spend hours with a friend's autistic son who could only throw the ball a few feet. 

Did have a bad habit of chewing up fenders. 

1032864010_MOCHABALL.thumb.jpg.935268f4595a20da302172f2e03075d6.jpg

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On 4/17/2020 at 5:31 PM, Ajax said:

My wife adopted 2 barn cats 18 years ago.  They outlasted all their litter mates. We just put the female down a couple months ago. Advanced brain disease.

The male seemed confused and lonely so I took pity on him. I am now his best buddy. He greets me at the door like a dog. He sleeps on my back at night. He vocalizes to me quite a bit. We sing to each other. He does not give two shits about my wife anymore. He's awfully spry for 18 years old but he's knappy and bony. Petting him is like petting a furry bag of sticks and pebbles. He drools when I rub his ears.  I have appended various nicknames to him:

  • Captain Butt
  • King of Leisure
  • Sultan of Sleep
  • Duke of Drool

He's an attention whore. He'll approach any visitor for lovin's.  I can smack him around and he'll fight back.

He's a good little guy but I still don't want him or a dog on the boat.

I was never a cat liker but appreciated those that would hunt.  We were gifted a Siamese as a wedding gift who turned out to be more wild than tame.  However, she gifted us a litter of kittens and promptly contracted distemper and she and all the litter except one died. That one little survivor became my friend. She was all but inseparable.  She would play fight with me, stay with me and studied with me when I was earning my Bachelor degree.  Tears hit the ground when she died at an early age.  We’ve had some good cats and bad cats, we’ve had good dogs and bad dogs but or Dog....our half Lab loved boats.  I would take him fishing with me and he would enjoy being with me.  

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We're on our fourth Lab (Chocolates all) in 25ish years and the current junior assistant dog is the only one we've taken sailing.  She is small for a lab at about 60 pounds, so would not be too bad to haul in in a dog overboard situation, and she is cautious as well, which helps prevent the situation in the first place.  The current sailboat is a smallish catboat, so it lends itself a little better to entertaining a large dog onboard than the decrepit Etchells would have, and permits a much better field of view. as well as insuring you won't be getting too far away from any dog which goes over the side.  The look on her face when she realized we were moving through the water with no engine noise was worth the price of admission

All of our dogs have loved being on any boat they were allowed on - and several they weren't - and they all love to go lobstering with me.  The first one, who ran at 90 -100 pounds in his adult life, was absolutely horrible at it, going over the side at any excuse " Hey! you dropped that! Let me get it for you!" , but I was still young enough to wrestle him in over the rail by the scruff of his neck.  He also possessed the ability to navigate a 12  meter's companionway, both up AND down.  Fortunately for world peace, he was one of a kind.

As much as I love my Labs, if I were choosing a dog for extensive sailing, I would go with a Jack Daniels Russell.  They are smart, trainable to some extent, and the ones I have known can swim amazingly well for a terrier as well as having a huge personality.

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OTOH my experience with Jack Russells would have me using them for bait in short order unless you LIKE being in a confined space with a totally ADHD spastic toddler. My current dog and her departed sister (adoptive) both loved to sleep underway and would not spring to life until the anchor was down.

I am wary of terriers in general, they were bred essentially as bigger cats to be let loose to hunt on their own vs. being human directed like a retriever. Some of them are about as hard to train as a cat too.

YMMV

PS - I would not count out a Poodle as long as it was a bigger one. They are actually water retrievers believe it or not and don't have to look like escapees from Big Gay Al's Gay Pet Disco (NTTIAWWT). They don't shed and are very smart.

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12 hours ago, view at the front said:

My BIL is a veterinarian and we've spent a bit of time in Mexico together, where he has volunteered in vaccination clinics.  He says that you want a Mexican dog.  They are intelligent and have learned things.  

My friends from Manhattan Beach and La Paz have rescued over 150 dogs from Mexico...great people.

 

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32 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Some of them are about as hard to train as a cat too.

Cats; hard to train?? Surely you must be kidding.  Why cats love to train.  The train everyday.  I have to admit, it does take them a bit of time to train thier humans to act right.

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4 minutes ago, Santana20AE said:

Cats; hard to train?? Surely you must be kidding.  Why cats love to train.  The train everyday.  I have to admit, it does take them a bit of time to train thier humans to act right.

My current cat has trained the dog to give her a bath.

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Dunno... our family got linked in to a strain of very dog-like cats.  (Some of them looked more Siamese, some more Tortoiseshell, but they all had a common grandmother.) But that strain seems to have died out (all got spayed & neutered.)  I got my kitten along with two puppies, and they all just thought they were all puppies.  One was just better at climbing and slower at running.  He knew his name and half a dozen words.  Not so many as his sisters, but then, they were Border Collies, so had an unfair advantage. 

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4 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

...  I would not count out a Poodle as long as it was a bigger one. They are actually water retrievers believe it or not and don't have to look like escapees from Big Gay Al's Gay Pet Disco (NTTIAWWT). They don't shed and are very smart.

One of our closest cruising friends had a standard poodle. He was an awesome boat dog. Cleanly, agile, active but not obstreperous, good company but not fawning... hard to think of a canine virtue he didn't have.

The man said jokingly that the dog could take the dinghy ashore to fetch the morning paper, but I'm not entirely sure the dog couldn't.... it's a shame they never gave the dog a chance.

I wouldn't trust the dog's navigating though

FB- Doug

 

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8 hours ago, Santana20AE said:

Cats; hard to train?? Surely you must be kidding.  Why cats love to train.  The train everyday.  I have to admit, it does take them a bit of time to train thier humans to act right.

Y'all know the difference between cats and dogs, right?

Dogs have masters

Cats have staff

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21 hours ago, view at the front said:

My BIL is a veterinarian and we've spent a bit of time in Mexico together, where he has volunteered in vaccination clinics.  He says that you want a Mexican dog.  They are intelligent and have learned things.  

Too True!

We were walking through Sta Rosalia (port on the Sea of Cortez) and were followed all over town by a chihuahua.  That damn dog never barked, stayed about 5 feet away and followed us for near an hour.  Waited outside the local museum for half an hour, and tracked us down when we came out a different door.  All this as we climbed up and down, often with many steps certainly taller than the dog.

Had we not already had our cat, we would have let him adopt us.  He clearly wanted adoption... or food.

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The most important thing is to start them young.

crystal_canoe_480x800.jpg

A more recent photo.

crystal_canoe_800wide.jpg

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57 minutes ago, jamhass said:

Too True!

We were walking through Sta Rosalia (port on the Sea of Cortez) and were followed all over town by a chihuahua.  That damn dog never barked, stayed about 5 feet away and followed us for near an hour.  Waited outside the local museum for half an hour, and tracked us down when we came out a different door.  All this as we climbed up and down, often with many steps certainly taller than the dog.

Had we not already had our cat, we would have let him adopt us.  He clearly wanted adoption... or food.

Some older Sta Rosalia dog told him to look for a good American family!

He probably already knew you had a cat BTW. Their noses tell them a heck of a lot about us.

FB- Doug

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The adopt a dog thing is pretty tough, all over Mexico and on Carenero right now there are some amazing smart animals looking for homes. There was a half pug half chiuahua  snaggletooth guy in Peurla that hung around the Jazz restaurant, the kid really wanted him.  Our friends had a poodle, the medium size ones and it's seemed like a great boat dog.

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Just in case, which dogs taste best? Recipes?

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8 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Just in case, which dogs taste best? Recipes?

I used to say- "I love cats, I just can't finish eating a whole one by myself."

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2 hours ago, Kris Cringle said:

Tommy.jpg.ca718aca34be805808ffa0f222ac8a67.jpg

that looks says" I'm very dissapointed in you Ishmael, very, very disappointed.

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My neighbor has a Habanese(?), that has had the life force bred out of it.  I was in waste deep water pushing logs off my beach with a pike pole.  The dog ran out on one of the logs and fell in.  She tried to get back on the log three times, and then gave up and sank.  It took me a couple of minutes to get to her, reached under water, grabbed her, and shook her violently.  She started breathing and then ran up the log back into her house and into her kennel for her own time out.

Do not get one of these.

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3 minutes ago, view at the front said:

My neighbor has a Habanese(?), that has had the life force bred out of it.  I was in waste deep water pushing logs off my beach with a pike pole.  The dog ran out on one of the logs and fell in.  She tried to get back on the log three times, and then gave up and sank.  It took me a couple of minutes to get to her, reached under water, grabbed her, and shook her violently.  She started breathing and then ran up the log back into her house and into her kennel for her own time out.

Do not get one of these.

Havanese. The national dog breed of Cuba:  https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/havanese/

What would you expect from a dog bred by the Bureau of Central Planning?

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My buddy has a Havanese. He is not nice to anyone but his own family. I would not pick one for boat duty. A boat dog needs some social skills, you will be doing things like eating at the outdoor tables in town and everyone will want to say high to your dog and not get bitten. Also good if the dog does not start fights with the dogs at the other table ;)

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Everything on a boat should have 2 purposes.

Both cats were nicknamed "E.R." - emergency rations

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p.s. pro tip for your ditch bag:  take little takeout packages of soy sauce and a tube of wasabi

If you catch a fish in the liferaft everybody will be happier to eat sashimi and not the cat/dog

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On 4/18/2020 at 2:40 PM, kent_island_sailor said:

The dog on the port side in my avatar was half Schipperke and half German Shepard. She was an amazing dog.

After all the comments about noisiness, I wondered if they were bred to be watchdogs on barges.

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55 minutes ago, SemiSalt said:

After all the comments about noisiness, I wondered if they were bred to be watchdogs on barges.

Yes and rodent hunters too. Our girl was am amazing huntress, she bagged rabbits without even putting in much effort and liked to get raccoons and break their necks. She would even grab mice if the cats didn't get them first. She even got a low flying bird once! She was not a huge barker compared to other dogs, but she was only half a Schipperke. She HATED being left on the boat alone though.

 

boatdog1.jpg

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Swimming cats, eh?

***  WARNING: REALLY BAD JOKE AHEAD ***

There was an English Canadian cat, named One Two Three, and a French Canadian cat named Une Deux Trois. They decided to have a swimming race. Which cat won, and why?

.

.

.

.

One Two Three, because

.

.

.

Une Deux Trois Quatre Cinq!

 

(Sorry.)

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On 4/18/2020 at 3:39 PM, Zonker said:

His ashes reside on Chesterfield reef, and uninhabited atoll near New Caledonia covered with thousands of birds.

Sounds like cat Valhalla. :cool:

My best beachcat dog was a Newfoundland (my second of three). He would lack across the front of the tramp and enjoy the smells, sound, and sights... and with him and two humans aboard he was insurance that we'd never dump or drown. 

Newfies are awesome... but they take forever to dry. That might not be so great off a trampoline and inside a boat.

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On 4/18/2020 at 7:34 AM, Willin' said:

We've had 3 Aussies, all pure bred, all eager swimmers, all hated the boats. I don't know if it's genetic or that we just didn't introduce them to boating properly, but they all seemed to withdraw and act uncomfortable while aboard. We could never train any of them to pee and poop on board, which meant frequent stops. Plus, the long hair coats everything and carries an enormous load back aboard after running on the clam flats.

Love the breed but wouldn't recommend them as boat dogs.

Not a happy looking dog...

enhance

Might be because there's *zero* Aussie in an Aussie - they were developed and bred in Boulder County, Colorado.

They do love mountains and snow, though. ;-)

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When I was a tyke engineer, our department would rotate through local restaurants for lunch, always with an eye on value (we were engineers, after all). Our weekly Vietnamese stop was in a commercial duplex that shared the space with the local animal shelter. Naturally, we assumed there was a pass-through in the dividing wall.

We spent hours speculating which species and breeds we were consuming every Tuesday. "I think today's special is Persian. There's a hair in my soup". We never truly knew.

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8 hours ago, randii said:

Sounds like cat Valhalla. :cool:

My best beachcat dog was a Newfoundland (my second of three). He would lack across the front of the tramp and enjoy the smells, sound, and sights... and with him and two humans aboard he was insurance that we'd never dump or drown. 

Newfies are awesome... but they take forever to dry. That might not be so great off a trampoline and inside a boat.

Newfies are great dogs, but the ones I have seen were the size of a pony!

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Newfies are great dogs, but the ones I have seen were the size of a pony!

We have a Newfie puppy. I'm hoping we can train her to come to windward whenever we tack :-) ... Boat acclimatision training is currently on-hold, though, for obvious reasons. Still wondering how we're going to tackle boarding, especially in D.O.B situations... On the plus side we may not need an outboard for the tender, though dealing with a 60Kg sponge coming onboard may also take some planning...

Cheers,

               W.

 

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On 4/19/2020 at 12:44 PM, kent_island_sailor said:

OTOH my experience with Jack Russells would have me using them for bait in short order unless you LIKE being in a confined space with a totally ADHD spastic toddler. My current dog and her departed sister (adoptive) both loved to sleep underway and would not spring to life until the anchor was down.

I am wary of terriers in general, they were bred essentially as bigger cats to be let loose to hunt on their own vs. being human directed like a retriever. Some of them are about as hard to train as a cat too.

YMMV

PS - I would not count out a Poodle as long as it was a bigger one. They are actually water retrievers believe it or not and don't have to look like escapees from Big Gay Al's Gay Pet Disco (NTTIAWWT). They don't shed and are very smart.

Jack Russells aren't for the faint of heart.  They are smart, scheming, demanding and a bit neurotic at times.

We have our second one, this means we have been sailing with a JRT for 20 years or so.  

We cruise in a fairly unpopulated wilderness area.  Perfect for the JRT's.  Lots of hiking, hunting, swimming, etc.

Good size for a boat.  Good swimmers.  But not without their challenges.  First one didn't like thunder or the anchor windlass.

 

 

Becky_Sleeping.jpg

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