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 went on board, if she was bursting at the seams. She has held bowel movements for days and some days hasn’t urinated for over 24 hours. Whiskey always presented a problem when training, as she was born deaf. Commands were taught using hand signals, and I never figured out one for body fluid elimination! Although I hadn’t resorted 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 needed the right kind of mat.
Otherwise, Whiskey was such a gem. She ate dry dog food, omega-3 dog treats and dental dog treats, as well as left overs. She pre-rinsed four dishes. My goal was 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 would restrict her left overs intake to nil and consequently had a month of straight dog food. On the boat, she used 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 had a small, flat and lumpy pillow for a bed and she would sleep on that either on the floor on on the bed. She did sleep with us in bed at home at our feet, but on the boat she had a spot beside me in bed. She was half Pekingese and half Pomeranian and the cross breed is often referred to as a Peekapom. She had white hair, with a few black spots on her skin, and beautiful blue eyes. She was a natural inside guard dog. Her sense of smell was stronger than that of hearing dogs, so she remained on guard in the house continuously. But on the boat, where she rarely picked up any unfamiliar scents, she felt comfortable enough that she lets down her guard, 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 kept her leash attached to the jacket. That gave us another item to grab onto in an emergency situation. It is only at night when we slept, that the jacket was removed and sometimes I forgot to do it then. Having the leash attached to the jacket allowed us to quickly lower her down below, when needed! Very versatile. She was also equivalent to a hot water bottle in bed, so if I was the tiniest bit cold, I would just snuggle up to her. She was very much a hospice dog, so if we were in bed, she was always curled up with us, anyway. Whiskey loved it on the water, and always found a comfortable place to rest.