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  • Writer's pictureAna

Sailing with a dog - first experiences

The Co-captain and Ella enjoying cuddles on our first sails

Since we have Ella I've always wanted her to be more cuddly with me but in the end, she's a daddy's little girl, and John gets all the attention except when Ella feels sick, pukes or gets her self into trouble with other dogs. In those occasions, only Mummy serves of any good.

Although we knew that sailing with a 2 years old dog (that has never sailed before) was going to involve some hard work and time for us to adjust to that reality, what we didn't expect was for Ella to become a super Velcro dog that needs my constant attention and close contact, leaving John in the position of having to do much longer shifts at sailing than me.

The Co-captain and Ella enjoying cuddles on our first sails

I guess that's what happens to couples that sail with babies, one of them will be more focus on caring for little ones while the other absorbs more of the actual sailing tasks.

We're lucky enough to have the ability to leave Ella unattended (in her safe spot) to have both of us engaged in a specific task since she's permanently strapped to the boat on a safety anchor point by the companionway, where she can't get herself into trouble unless she manages to chew her safety line/leash, which she did even before we left the marina on our first sail.

Slowly she's getting used to the noises caused by the sheets, sails and rigging. To me going below deck to run errands and checkups and even allowing me to be at the helm for short periods without her crying.

Ultimately we hope she learns how to be and behave in the cockpit during passages making difference between those moments and the anchor/dock time where she can run freely up on deck.

As for now, we're happy she doesn't seem to get seasick, that she already knows where to find her water bowl both below and up on deck, and that she accepts to use the AstroTurf tray when the boat is not moving.

Ella the sailor dog having a snooze

We're missing major work training on using the tray at any time and basic commands during passages.



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