The World’s Best Dog who is Entirely Resistant to Boat Training…
…and her mother who is feeble.
So it’s time to talk about The Worlds’ Best Dog on a Boat. Grace is twelve years old and has spent all her life being a boat dog. When she was younger she mastered the boogie board with the children, rides in the dinghy and staying onboard. All these journeys were in fair weather or with marina tie-ups. Not bad for a lab mix who never swims voluntarily!
This however has been her first extended cruise which involves being “boat trained”. I mean, what are we to do in inclement weather? For goodness sake I held an umbrella over her during Hurricane Matthew last year so I couldn’t see how this would work if she could not get to shore. But other people can train their dogs so why not us?
In my usual fashion I delved into research, I read a book. Didn’t seem too difficult and Grace is a smart dog, right?
Here’s how it’s supposed to work. Buy a mat, a carpet square size, and “season” it with dog pee. Put it on the boat, show it to the dog who will recognize it as an acceptable place to pee, and Bobs your uncle. A dog is never too old to learn new tricks, right?
The reality is this portion of the adventure went somewhat off script.
At home every time Grace needed to pee I raced out with her and stuck the mat under her rear end. A move she totally ignored, as she should. Even involved my neighbor collecting samples from her dogs to add to the aroma. Finally considered the mat seasoned enough and took it to the boat. Now the hard part. Having decided today was the day and there is no going back – THAT dog does not leave the boat until the mission is a success!
So five hours into our first long day I put her leash on, walk her around the deck and point to the mat. “Go pee” I say encouragingly. Grace looks at me and says “what here?” Hour six, the same. I was even spotted by some folk who live on the Intercostal walking my dog on the fore deck on her leash, bet that gave them a chuckle! Hour seven no result. I am beginning to think I read the wrong book!
Maybe it’s me, I muse. Seem there is a pattern here, I once read a book on child-rearing which gave me some advice on how to take the argument out of a conversation. Don’t ask if they would, decide they are and give them a choice. “Claire, would you like the red pajamas or the blue ones?” Claire considers this and tells me very seriously she does not want pajamas, thank you very much.
Hour eight Grace finally heads to the bow of the boat, ignores the wretched mat and pees as far from us as she can get. She heads in, much more comfortable and defies me to mention it. After all we trained her not to “go” in the house and it’s a thin line between this boat house and the house house. So that’s it right?
Well no. The bow of the boat is no place for a pup in five foot seas, a fact she is well aware of, so now I am convinced Grace is a camel in dog skin because she can hold on for ever for a nice sandy beach. I have rolled the mat up and may give it as a gift to a boat person who is training a new pup.
I will not, of course, mention my failures, but wish her health and happiness with her new fur baby!