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Dog on board: 10 tips for fun and safety


If the dog stays on land on a boat tour, it’s not just the four-legged friend that is missing out.

It is said that dogs are usually just as crazy about boating as recreational captains. So it would be a shame if you left your four-legged friend ashore as soon as it says “Cast off!” When packing a sail bag or fishing gear for the next trip, a dog leash and food bowl should also be with you. Read how it will be fun for everyone.

1) Store enough fresh water: It is well known that dogs cannot sweat, so they have to drink plenty of water to cool off.

2) Leash off: You can risk that, but only as long as you trust your dog not to jump off board into the cool water at the first opportunity in one leap. Usually a dog does not jump from a moving boat, except perhaps inadequately trained hunting dogs or puppies. Because dogs are curious, they need freedom of movement to make their tours. But be careful when anchoring, because once the ship has stopped, many four-legged friends cannot resist the temptation of the water.

3) A carpet helps: Lay out a piece of hard-wearing patio carpet (or a patch of artificial turf) in the cockpit so that the dog has “solid ground” under its paws. Dogs can hardly find a hold on smooth GRP decks.

4) Don’t forget leftover bait. If you like to fish and leave freshly cut bait lying around carelessly, invite the dog to self-service. And then you have another problem with fish breath. Yuck!

5) Secure the blinker! A loosely swinging blinker with sharp barbs is not a suitable dog toy.

6) Dog toilet: Before casting off, go around the harbor to give your dog the opportunity to do his business on land. Nothing is worse than having to and not being allowed to – or not being able to – travel.

7) Turning back in bad weather: Dogs can get seasick just like humans. Even if this happens relatively rarely, it is by no means excluded. Do not plan long tours in heavy weather before your dog has got used to violent boat movements and you can be sure that he will not turn green when the going gets tough.

8) Pamper Them With Treats. Positive encouragement is the best way to teach the dog something. This helps when the skipper and first mate are busy, for example with an anchor maneuver, changing sails or mooring in port.

9) Consider a dog life jacket. In its simplest form it is a life jacket for the dog, but there are also neoprene vests that protect the animal from hypothermia, e.g. when you are out and about in cold water. This measure pays off especially with setters, because they always seem to want to get wet somehow. They like to jump a bit too early, that’s a specific problem for this breed.

10) Get on and off the ship. This should be done in a controlled manner. If possible, use a ramp or gangway; if necessary, carry the dog. Especially at low tide, jumping down from the jetty or jetty onto the deck can cause injuries.

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