Houseboating with Your Dog

Tips to living with your dog on a houseboat

May 2018 Feature Sarah Zayn Web Exclusive

A lot of you have probably wondered how to live with a dog on a houseboat. At first, it might seem difficult, the logistics are too complicated, and you just don’t know where to start. But don’t worry, training a dog to be a boat dog is actually easier than it seems.

So, how do you live with a dog on a houseboat? Follow the guide!

1.   Keep your dog on a leash to start

If you have just adopted a dog or moved to a new houseboat, chances are, your best friend is definitely not used to living on water. So just to be careful, keep your dog on a leash for a few days and always be around them when you take it off. Some dogs are curious and would get excited and jump into the water which is not always a good thing.

So, to be sure your dog is safe, keep them on a leash. After a few days, they’ll get accustomed to the houseboat life, and will move around more confidently without taking an unexpected plunge.

2.    Buy a dog vest

Sure, your dog can’t live his whole life on your houseboat wearing a vest, but for the first few weeks, we’ll say it would be better to be safe than sorry. This is especially important if your dog is a Retriever or a mix of a Retriever and another breed (such as a Siberian Retriever), since they are extremely curious and energetic animals that will do anything to get a bit wet.

3.    Potty train your dog 

Another important thing you’ll have to think about is where your furry best friend will do his business. While living on a houseboat, it might not be convenient for you to take him on walks several times a day, so you will have to get smart and crafty, and make him his own potty time spot, right in your boat.

As we already know, dogs need walks not only to keep them energized and happy, but also to allow them to do their necessary business. But, what to do when you live on a houseboat where going to shore a few times a day can be difficult or just plain impossible? Well, we have a solution for you! Most boat dogs are actually trained to do their business on a piece of carpet or Astroturf somewhere on the deck, and your dog can learn to do the same. The best way to train him, of course, is with treats. Sure, your dog is probably going to pee or poop in the wrong spot at the beginning but keep showing him the turf and encouraging him to do his business there. And, whenever he does, give him a treat!

A final solution would be to get an old turf from someone else who has a boat dog. Your best friend will automatically know the smell of another dog and understand that this is where he has to go if he needs to. Do not underestimate dogs, they are very smart animals, and will catch up with a good habit pretty quickly with your help.

For more tips, check out No Longer Wild

4.    Provide your best friend with a good bed

A good bed is the secret of a happy, well-rested dog, especially on a houseboat. A quality orthopedic bed is the perfect choice, since it supports the joints of your furry best friend, gives him a comfortable place to rest, and kind of works like his own little house. This kind of beds offers optimal support to your dog, no matter his weight, which makes it perfect!

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