Whether you live on a houseboat, or you’re coming to visit friends or relatives at the harbor for the day, if you have a dog, it’s vital for both their safety and the safety of everyone else that you help them to stick to some important etiquette rules.
If they have been well socialized, most dogs will adapt quite easily to new surroundings and places, so the harbor shouldn’t be any different for them; especially for dogs who love water!
Etiquette in the Harbor
When you enter the harbor you’ll need to keep your dog on leash.
A lot of dogs love swimming so become excited when the see water, and the last thing you want is for them to jump in for a swim.
Not only would this be dangerous for them, but also for everyone in the harbor.
Only take your dog to a harbor if you are sure that they are well trained and will respond well to busy areas, with lots of people around. Your dog should know the following basic commands:
- Wait – to make sure they don’t push past people / small children
- Leave – in case they are interested in something on the pier which you don’t want them to get!
- Heel – so they walk safely alongside you a footpath or jetty
- Stand – so other people can pass safely on the dock
If your dog is not at this point yet, you can get them familiar with being around lots of people and water at a local beach, lake or reservoir.
You might find that certain harbors have dedicated areas where you can take your dog to stretch their legs, get some exercise and take toilet breaks. Research each harbor before you take your dog to make sure you know their specific rules and regulations.
Tip: You should consider buying a floatation device (i.e life jacket) for your dog, especially if you plan on boarding a houseboat and heading out for the day with them.
Once you are sure your dog is safe, well-trained and has basic manners the next etiquette is to keep your dog on a leash while you walk them onto the houseboat, ideally with their floatation device on. As a responsible dog owner, you should always carry a poop bag, keeping the harbor clean is basic etiquette.
After your dog is following basic etiquette – you should too. Just as you would be vigilant with children, stay vigilant with you dog too. Don’t let him go in places that could be dangerous or any areas where he is more likely to fall in. Pay more attention to your dog than your smartphone and you will both be safe.
Staying Safe on the Houseboat
It’s important that when you’re in a new space, your dog is given a place of his own to help him settle in.
This gives him a place to call his own, until he feels comfortable to explore all the new smells, sights and sounds onboard the houseboat.
Whilst on the boat, make sure your dog isn’t jumping up at the sides of the boat, or resting his paws on the bow. It only takes one jolt for them to fall overboard and in a busy harbor, this is extremely dangerous.
If you allow your dog to swim in the water when you’re out at water, make sure the water is safe. There shouldn’t be any strong currents, dangerous animals and the water should be clean. Don’t ever let your dog swim in a body of water that you wouldn’t personally swim in.
Try to keep your dog’s first trip to the harbor short so that they can take in the sights and not become overwhelmed.