A dog is much easier to accommodate on a boat than a child. They really don’t need to be amused. The biggest struggle is training them to go to the toilet on board. Whiskey only goes on board, if she is bursting at the seams. She has held bowel movements for days and some days hasn’t urinated for over 24 hours. Whiskey has always presented a problem when training, as she was born deaf. Commands were taught using hand signals, and I just haven’t figured out one yet for body fluid elimination! Although I haven’t resorted yet to pouring pee on mats, there is a really helpful article on the Boat Galley site on potty training your dog. It might be worth a try to collect dog pee and pour it on a mat to take on board. I just need the right kind of mat.
Otherwise, Whiskey has been a gem. She eats dry dog food, omega-3 dog treats and dental dog treats, as well as left overs. She is our pre-rinse for the dishes. My goal is for her to weigh in at each annual vet visit at less than 10 lbs, so for a one month period prior to an appointment, we restrict her left overs intake to nil and consequently has a month of straight dog food. On the boat, she uses a dog dish for food, and a small bowl that came with a toilet brush for her water and we keep it just at the foot of the companionway. She has a small, flat and lumpy pillow for a bed and she sleeps on that either on the floor on on the bed. She does sleep with us in bed at home at our feet, but on the boat she has a spot beside me in bed. She is half Pekingese and half Pomeranian and the cross breed is often referred to as a Peekapom. She has white hair, with a few black spots on her skin, and beautiful blue eyes. She is a natural inside guard dog. Her sense of smell is stronger than that of hearing dogs, so she remains on guard in the house continuously. But on the boat, where she rarely picks up any unfamiliar scents and feels comfortable enough that she lets down her guard, she is completely relaxed and very content and quiet.
The primary acquisition for a dog on a boat, is a life jacket. It doesn’t matter how good they can swim as there is nothing to grab on to them, if they are bobbing in the water, unless they are wearing a jacket. Another thing, is that we always keep her leash attached to the jacket. That gives us another item to grab onto in an emergency situation. It is only at night when we sleep, that the jacket is removed and sometimes I forgot to do it then. Having the leash attached to the jacket allows us to quickly lower her down below, when needed! Very versatile. She is also equivalent to a hot water bottle in bed, so if I am the tiniest bit cold, I just snuggle up to her. She is very much a hospice dog, so if you are in bed, she is curled up with you, anyway.
She loves it on the water, and always finds a comfortable place to rest.