Sunday, November 9, 2008

True Blue Dog Training

I'm half crazy over my love for you

Here is the little Princess!!

Daisy is our new Pomeranian. She just turned two years old. Our last dog, Kitty loved boating but she was not the perfect boat dog. So with our new dog came new possibilities!.

Kitty was an eternal landlubber. Sometimes our cruises took a little longer than we planned and she would be miserable waiting for us to arrive and take her to shore. We felt bad but she would never relieve herself. She wouldn't even go on a big rock, it had to be real land. We rowed her ashore three times a day. Once early in the morning, another time mid-day, and the last before bedtime;which was never convenient. Even in the summer it is dark at 9:30 or 10, which would be a good time to take her so she could make it until 8am the next morning. We could never lounge around in our pajamas before taking her because we had to be dressed in order to row her to shore.

I would like to share with you what we did in order to make our new dog cruiser friendly.

When we would first take her to the boat I would get newspapers and place them on the cockpit floor. She had been trained on newspapers as a puppy but I don't know if that actually had a lot to do with it. Because as soon as we got a doggie door at home, she went outside. So when we finally did visit the boat she didn't want to go on the papers.

Silly little dog loves her newspapers;thankfully these were clean when she decided to take a nap on them in the cockpit

I had to take clean newspapers with me on our walk when we first arrived at the marina. I would make sure that I would dip them at least a little bit in her pee and take them with me back to the boat. The other important factor was to keep putting her on the newspapers and coax her with a treat. It did take patience at first because she wanted to run around on the top-side of the boat. I had to keep getting her and putting her back and crinkling the bag with the treats. And say, “TREAT!”. I cut just a little bit of a snausage (dog treat) off at a time and she gets that whenever she goes on the paper.

Daisy looking in the companionway from the cockpit:she doesn't really want in, she's just checking on us. =)

If she didn't go I would put her back below. Then she would run back over to the stairs and want out. It didn't take long for her to get the idea that going on the paper meant treat. In the morning she will still occasionally want to go up on the bow if I don't stand there and watch her. But I don't mind because I can be standing below in a heated cabin, still in my pajamas with just my head out of the boat.

I always get worried when we are away from the boat for long that she won't remember. We are away from the boat for 5 months but it is just like old hat to her.

This last time we went to the boat in October, one of the first things I did was put the papers down. I don't have to pre-treat them any more that was just in the very beginning of her training. This time just cracked me up because no sooner did I put the paper down then did she run over and pee on them. Of course, she got a treat right away. What a great little sailing dog!!

Daisy is a lot more insecure than Kitty ever was. At first she didn't like the noise of anything on the boat, and would squeal in a high pitched frenzy. I couldn't put her down below because she would get even more frightened. Also when I held her she would try to jump out of my arms which is not a good thing when you are on a boat in the middle of the ocean. I really thought at one point that I would have to get a doggie front pack and wear it.

Daisy, safe and content on her leash system:hooked to the helm cup holder

What we ended up doing was putting a harness on her and a leash that is connected to the helm. She can run around on all of the cockpit cushions and get down on the cockpit floor but she can't get on to the top side of the boat. She use to just sit in my lap the whole time but now she will lay down where ever she wants although usually close by, depending on the weather and calmness of the sea. She rarely gets afraid now of sounds. Before she even freaked out over the sound of the engine, let alone the boom banging and so forth. I think the leash makes her feel secure.

The last time we docked I let her off of her leash but she didn't realize it. I was off of the boat walking around the marina taking pictures and I could see her just sitting in the cockpit all content. Pretty cool.

Everything on the boat (and off) has its place!
Awww.....good little Daisy! =)