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Barking Mad


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We've been leisure boat cruising for about 6 years spending about 5 months on the boat each year.  In the past we had the most wonderful, endearing and lovable mum and son Irish Setters, sadly gone for well over 10 years.  My good lady is using her womanly wiles to convince me that another dog would be perfect for our narrow boat existence but I'm not convinced - mainly on the practicalities.  In no particular order:  Does the boat smell? We already spend the day dodging each other down the boat without a dog being exactly where I want to be.  What happens when dog needs a pee (or bigger) without anywhere to moor?  What happens when I'm blind sided and dog escapes boat and does a number 2 against neighboring boat (hate...hate..hate).  Summer months can be un-bearingly hot inside the boat hot, is it fair to impose that on pooch.   All reasonable arguments (with many others) I believe but deaf ears can be gargantuan!!

 

Thoughts and other reasons not to indulge or perhaps an alternative view.

  • Greenie 1
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We have small dog Jack Russell pug cross now 1 year old and he is no issue for any of the issues you are worried about. If he needs to get off he will let you know in plenty of time. I’ve stopped under a bridge he gets off has his per then jumps back on. Number twos are first thing in the morning pick up and bin it so no issue there. We leave him alone for up to 4 hrs with his water without problem. He is my wife’s dog for sure but wouldn’t be with out him now. 
 

  • Greenie 1
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In no particular order:

  • we don’t think our boat smells doggy but it probably does and I don’t care - I prefer my dogs to visitors anyway
  • only you can tell whether there is enough room on your boat - we accommodate 2 people (one of whom is a wheelchair user) and 2 large dogs but we had the boat designed with this in mind however our longest cruise to date has been 5 weeks
  • one of our dogs pretty much wees and poohs on demand so takes advantage of every stop - he has been going on boat trips since he was a puppy, the other one seems to be able to last all day!
  • because the dogs lie on the floor they seem to stay quite cool, plus we only have portholes and put the bungs in on the sunny side if it starts to get hot
  • ours only ever travel inside the boat and only get off when on a lead 
  • in the autumn it gets more challenging - mud, wet dogs and ‘last wees’ in the dark can be trying 🙄

 

 

  • Greenie 2
  • Haha 1
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If you love dogs and a dog lifestyle then go for it.

Totally agree with Beo's first comment. We took our lab/lurcher with us from a pup and our rescued greyhound after a few months of getting used to us. We have just got a lab puppy who will be joining our explorations asap. For me boating is an ideal way of life for a dog. The lurcher used to sulk like mad and refuse to go to the car when we returned to the marina. She was a very handy size for a narrowboat, loving to walk with the wife alongside the boat.  The greyhound didn't like it when we weren't together. We thought he would be too big for the boat but we found it improved his agility. He was too big to get under your feet so you wouldn't trip over him. We never found any difference with toileting than walks from home. You do have to plan stops when you're on a river but have never had a problem on the canal. Most adult dogs have a pooh time which I have always found predictable so you plan for it. The lurcher if she got desperate for a pee would jump off at a bridge hole, pee and walk herself to the next bridge hole to get back on.

The dogs have always been happy to stay on the boat while we went out just as they would at home. Temperature depends on the design of the boat, we have always found on the move to be coolest with front and back doors open. The first year of retirement was too hot for us so we found shade during the hottest part of the day. The dog will find the coolest place, usually the floor, and you can use damp towels or cool mats to make it more comfortable for them. If it is that hot I wouldn't shut a dog in the boat.

  • Greenie 1
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Sydney, our little poodle cross mongrel, loved being on the boat. He really took to being on the boat.

 

He isn't a smelly dog so we never had a problem with a smelly boat. But that will vary from dog to dog. He very quickly learned where the best place for him to sit or lie was where he wouldn't be in the way.

 

We took toilet stops for him every few hours if we were travelling for longer distances, much the same as we do in the car on a long journey. We just had to think ahead where they would be.

 

When it was hot he would go and find the coolest place for him to lie. Dogs are not daft, they will find a cool spot. Luckily the inside of our boat stayed fairly cool with the windows and roof hatches open.

 

We don't have the boat now, but Syd is just as happy on the motorhome going to explore new places and just like on the boat he knows where his places in the van are where he can get comfy and tucked up out of our way.

  • Greenie 1
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