Getting puppy used to being on boats - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Getting puppy used to being on boats

So I'm hoping puppy will be able to come with me to work on a regular basis. Half the time I will be out to sea in a smallish boat so he will need to be OK with that. Currently 12 weeks old, would be perfect to take him out, but aside from the fact that I'm on maternity leave, the boat is in storage now for the coldest months of the year. By the time I'm back at work puppy will be 6 months. He's super chilled out and seems to have nerves of steel judging by everything he puts up with from my 1 year old daughter, but I'm concerned he will not do well with boats unless I expose him to one now. I could get the boat out of storage and all that but obviously that is a huge hassle. What do you guys recommend? Worth it?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 03:58 PM
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I'd try to find someone else with a boat that would be willing to give you and your puppy a ride...and yes, it probably is worthwhile to get her used to it early on....

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 04:04 PM
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I have had 3 Gsds get on boats for the first time as adults with no problem. The rescue honestly didn't care for it, I could tell he was uncomfortable but I had him lie down in the bottom by my feet and he felt more secure there. He did fine.

My girl got on a boat the first time about age 9 and was like "where has this boat been all my life!?"

My boy was totally neutral about it, didn't love it or dislike it, no problem getting him to jump in off the dock for the first time.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 04:35 PM
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I've taken my dogs on boats a couple times for day trips and they were all fine. They loved it. We docked on an island of sorts and they explored and went swimming. I hope to do it this summer again. I take 3-4 dogs at a time. They were all adults or almost adults.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by marwin View Post
So I'm hoping puppy will be able to come with me to work on a regular basis. Half the time I will be out to sea in a smallish boat so he will need to be OK with that. Currently 12 weeks old, would be perfect to take him out, but aside from the fact that I'm on maternity leave, the boat is in storage now for the coldest months of the year. By the time I'm back at work puppy will be 6 months. He's super chilled out and seems to have nerves of steel judging by everything he puts up with from my 1 year old daughter, but I'm concerned he will not do well with boats unless I expose him to one now. I could get the boat out of storage and all that but obviously that is a huge hassle. What do you guys recommend? Worth it?
I just wouldn't worry about it. When it's time to get on the boat just do so. If your dog is as cool as you say it shouldn't be a big deal and if he isn't you making a thing out of it will not help. Just another day on the boat.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 04:50 PM
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If he has a stable temperament, he should be able to handle this when the time comes. You just give it time. Deja was 9 months old when we first took her in a canoe. We stayed in the shallow end first and we had some 'fun'. She has rock solid temperament so she took to it quickly (even as an adolescent!) and we taught her to NOT bite in the little waves! I think what helped was her obedience levels and us being confident about what we expected from her. She wears a life jacket with ID but we never tie her, and remove her collar just in case.
I would be more nervous about a new baby (on board if you take the baby to work).

Last edited by wolfy dog; 01-20-2018 at 04:56 PM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 05:02 PM
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I agree with others saying he should be fine with the introduction at 6 months. When you say he needs to get use to being out to sea, is this for days on end? If so where does the dog go when he has to...."go"??
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, really interesting hearing your experiences! I might see if we can go visit a colleague of mine who I know is doing some winter work and has his boat on the water at the moment. But I'm not going to worry about it if I can't make it happen in the next 4 weeks. Re where would puppy do his business. I work primarily in protected areas with thousands of tiny islands where we can make a little pit stop. Thinking I should get a ramp to help him in and out of the boat. Don't want him hurting his hips jumping on slippery rocks. Will also need to work on making sure he ignores sheep because some of the islands have free roaming sheep out to pasture during the summer. As I type this he is wrestling with his sheepskin mat in his crate... Woops haha
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 05:26 PM
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Thanks, really interesting hearing your experiences! I might see if we can go visit a colleague of mine who I know is doing some winter work and has his boat on the water at the moment. But I'm not going to worry about it if I can't make it happen in the next 4 weeks. Re where would puppy do his business. I work primarily in protected areas with thousands of tiny islands where we can make a little pit stop. Thinking I should get a ramp to help him in and out of the boat. Don't want him hurting his hips jumping on slippery rocks. Will also need to work on making sure he ignores sheep because some of the islands have free roaming sheep out to pasture during the summer. As I type this he is wrestling with his sheepskin mat in his crate... Woops haha
Or leave him home...
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2018, 10:12 PM
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I train guide dogs and periodically towards the end of their training we have a client coming in that requests the dog be exposed to boats. At this point the dogs are already 16-18 months old and the majority have not been exposed during puppyhood. We look for a history of car sickness, surface sensitivities, water obsession or high bird interest - if things are clear in those areas... the dog is exposed once, maybe twice before being issued and we have not had any issues later in the field after this fairly brief process.

I feel like you’ll be fine. I wouldn’t bother with the inconvenience of finding a boat now...when the season is right, take him out a couple times before returning from work and go from there. Maybe do some practice on a variety of surfaces (wood, moving/unstable, wet, etc), and perhaps comfortable in a life jacket.

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Last edited by Fodder; 01-20-2018 at 10:16 PM.
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