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Monday, August 8, 2011

Indelicate doggy duties

I’ve been asked about how the dog handles bathroom duties on our small 19 foot sailboat. Many sailors have dogs, and they deal with it in different ways. The coastal sailor has the option of taking the dog to shore. Many dingy the pouch in twice a day, rain or shine. That side steps the issue of the dog doing its business on the boat, as it doesn’t. Their humans are well trained.

On our many day sailing adventures, the dog would just hold it. I bought some puppy pads to see if the dog would want to use those. It was a complete waste of money. She would not go near the things.

On our recent Lake Champlain trip, we spent a lot more time on the boat. We anchored off private property with lots of no trespassing signs. Forget about bring the dog to shore. Once again, I tried the puppy pads. I’d heard that other sailors have actually urinated a bit on the pads to give the dog the idea. In desperation, I even tried that myself. The dog looked at me like I’d somehow lost my mind. The pup held it until we beached the boat on public land for lunch -the next day.

Our last day on the lake, the dog decided she could not wait. She went to bow of the boat and urinated right there, giving me a sheepish look the whole time. I praised her and told her she was a good dog. (beats the heck out making a mess in the boat’s tiny cabin) A couple buckets of water across the bow took care of the mess. I’m glad I have a fiberglass boat.

Encouraged by my praise, the dog went back out on the bow and planted a big steamer. My lovely wife took a roll of paper towels out the hatch and took care of the mess. That went into our potty. Again, I praised the dog. Also praised the wife a lot too. Hey, someone has to have a hand on the tiller.

Okay, now I know the dog will do its business on the boat -literally as it turned out. The next step is to get a piece of Astroturf and put that out on the bow for the dog. Dragging it through the ocean will clean it up well enough.

One of my blog readers, Spud, taught his pup to do its business right over the cockpit scupper. He rigged a rinse system on a motion sensor with a delay. Spud gets the prize for ease of doggy duty.

As for me, I’m just glad the dog is willing to do its bit on the poop deck. She’s becoming a true sailor dog.



  1. Thanks for posting this. Was wondering about it. Thank God we will have a cat on our boat.

  2. I think it's pretty cool that the pup will finally utilize the poop deck!

    Like you said, better on deck than below!

  3. Gee, up until now I wondered how the Poop Deck got its name. . .

  4. Interestingly enough, that's where the "head" was on sailing ships. Up there on the bow, hence the name head. Of course, the ummm... business was directed overboard through an open port one could sit on, the "seat of ease". This concludes our nautical history lesson for today : ) Smart doggy!

  5. I'm with Dizzy didn't know what the poop deck meant.Still don't know if that's the historical meaning? But it fits.Good to hear all is going well!