Has anyone sailed with their dog?


Thread starter #1
We have a new family member, a one year old Boston Terrier. He is very agile and loves to be at my side. I would like to try to sail with him, trusting he stays in the cockpit of which he does when the boat is on the trailer in my backyard. I am a trailer sailer. My neighbor swims and boats with a border collie that has an actual "canine pfd". My top deck is in good condition with some tiller rub scratches and the former owner gave it a couple of fore scratches with the tack bolt so some dog nails will not hurt my boat. I just wondered if anyone has tried a dog, small to medium size, as part of their crew in a Sunfish.
PS: I am not sure what would happen as we pass some mallards, swans, or seagulls.

Mark P

New Member
I saw a guy last Friday in one of those little Hobie Wave things. He had a full grown, although still a pup choclate lab. The pup looked like it was having a blast. They had a K9 pfd on it too.

I saw the dog trying to get on the boat at one time and just kept pushing it into the hydrilla, eventually getting them stuck in the weeds... Pretty funny sight, with the kid telling the pup "No, no, No" over and over. The kid had to get out in the weeds, put the pup on board and pull the boat and the dog out of the weeds...
If you take your dog out, please put a PFD on him/her! You can get them through PetSmart. It should be less than $20 for your sized dog. (I just bought new ones for my dalmatians and they were $19.99 for their size.) I found that the "outward hound" ones sold at PetSmart are more comfortable for the dogs versus the one I bought a few years ago through LL Bean.


Thread starter #4
Thank you Jennifer and Mark. I have looked at just the same K9PFD at PetSmart. Yes, the little guy would not be out there without it. From what I can tell, when fully rigged in my backyard on the trailer, the lower boom will clear him standing or sitting anywhere in the footwell. When he stands with two paws near my ratchet it may be a problem. Like Mark's recount of the story of saying No or Down, down, DOWN....maybe some sail lingo the dog will learn besides "coming about" and "Duck". I really only would take him on a lazy sail day and not attempt a day where turtling may occur. My guess he would leap into my lap as I would hike out and dig me or have a "DOG OVERBOARD" maneuver to go practice. Thank you again for your input.
I sailed with each of my dogs. I used a dog lifevest on each in case they went over for any reason (slipped or went after a duck). The dog lifevests have a handle at the top of their back - handy for hauling them back in if necessary. (I've needed it from the fishing boat.) It was too cumbersome for me - dogs kept getting in the way of the lines but my dogs are bigger than a Boston Terrier. If your dog really enjoys it (mine weren't that thrilled), try a rubber bathmat on the bow. Your dog can get a better "grip" and won't scratch the bow.
GJacquestry a rubber bathmat on the bow. Your dog can get a better "grip" QUOTE said:
Ahh! Eureka! Great idea. Not for my dog, but for my butt. The foam gardening pad has to be repeatedly repositioned.
I used to sail all the time with my golden retriever - he LOVED IT. Different dogs respond differently - definately use a pfd and maybe some dog treats in a waterproof bag for incentive. Make sure the dog is comfortable - whatever that might be for his personality- fav toy or something to get started. My golden needed nothing - probably because he was a water dog.
I sail in my "car topable" Snark on ponds with my 90 lb. Dobe and my 5 1/2 lb. Minipin. The both wear life jackets. It's quite a scene. When I pull out the boat, they go wild but both are good sailors which means they sit quietly. Dobe's paws are the equivalent of fists for swimming but with the life jackets, they do well and love the surf. It's always a great day.
Forgot that once my friend was in trouble in his small boat and he started yelling.......my Dobe let out a cry and jumped in the water to "save" our friend. Needless to say, we had to save the Dobe first and then our friend.