Aussie On A Boat?

Hi, My husband and I are looking for a medium sized dog that will be happy with our lifestyle. We have a soft spot for Aussie but are also considering other breeds and ideally would like to find our dog at a rescue shelter. Any advice would be much appreciated.

A little about us...

My husband is a general contractor and I work in our office/warehouse space doing the desk work and running errands. We live in North Vancouver, BC, in our boat (a 40' power boat) and work is a 25 minute walk along the sea wall from the boat. Their is a large park right beside our marina that is right on the seawall and there are a great number of large off leash dog parks and trails within a few minutes drive. Our dog would come with me to work Mon - Fri and would get a walk at lunch as well as to work and home (and at night). In the summer we spend a lot of time on the boat at anchor on the weekends and we can dingy to shore easily enough but it would be ideal to have a dog that loved swimming so that some of the exercise could be via swimming from the boat (and off our marina dock). As an Aussie is a herding dog I worry that he may need more land to call his own. Our office is 2000 sq ft but our boat is small. Also, in the winter our walks/doggy park time may be less frequent. I could get a doggy treadmill beside my computer at work as a possibility. I also worry that we don't have “a job” for our Aussie, like farm dog would.

Has anyone had experience with a boating Aussie? I want to be sure we can meet all of our dogs needs (whatever breed it is) before we select the right dog. I do plan to enroll our new dog in obedience classes (so that I can be properly taught as well as the dog). This will be my first dog and my husband's third dog although his two previous dogs were family dogs and not his own.

Another possibility would be an Aussie cross from a shelter. We have also heard of Aussiedoodles but don't have a local breeder and they seem to take after the poodle genes more then the Aussie's. The Aussie seems like the quintessential dog but I am not sure that we would be the quintessential Aussie owners as we don't have a farm or a doggy job. Any thoughts???

Comments for Aussie On A Boat?

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Re:Aussie companion
by: Anonymous

I think you and your husband would be great aussie owners. Aussies dont HAVE to be herding dogs or do agility.As long as you offer your aussie a fulfilling life he/she will do just fine. You have obviously thought this through very well. All of my aussies but one (I have owned 7) have loved the water(unless its a bath) Being raised around water or being introduced properly is going to be the key,although this will not guarantee he/she will like to swim. As long as your aussie has plenty of opportunities to excersise, he/she will be a well adjusted happy dog. Aussies are happy just to be with their families regardless of where they happen to be. You will know when the right dog comes into your life regardless of breed.

Aussies are great boat dogs!
by: Anonymous

I think an aussie would be just fine with your lifestyle. I agree Aussies need to be with you all the time. We liveaboard with our year old male aussie and he loves it. He gets crated when we leave (which is usually just an hour or two per day while I run errands). He's great with rambunctious kids. That said, he gets a bit neurotic (chases tail, starts chewing random things, stares at us while we try to relax) if he doesn't get a good romp on the beach everyday or every other day. It's easy to make up jobs for him, and jumping up and down off the boat and around the boat is like his own private agility class :). Only downside: dog hair, hair, hair!!! We love him anyway!

by: Anonymous

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your comments and encouraging words.

We did get an Aussie (a 10 week old blue merle, girl) and she is now 4 years old. She absolutely loves the boat and people always comment on what a happy dog she is. I think it is because she gets to spend so much time with us. She really loves being a part of everything. When my desk job gets too demanding and she is looking board, or hyper, an easy solution for me is to take her to doggy daycare to play with her doggy friends for a few hours. We started taking her a couple of times per week to develop her social skills when she was just a puppy and she really enjoyed it. So now we just take her as needed...if we are going to be out all evening (they are open 24 hrs - lucky us!) or she is just looking like she has too much bottled up energy. And it works like a charm. She is exhausted and happy when we pick her up.
She is a real sweetheart, with lots of energy when it is playtime but also lots of calm and cuddling time when it is just my husband and I. She will sleep in all day if we do.
With company she almost never stops playing. She loves people, especially kids as they will play with her for a long time. She is a wonderful dog and is incredibly smart and loving..not to mention funny and just sooooo darn cute. But yes, hair everywhere. And yet she is so very worth it. :)
We are incredibly happy we got an Aussie, especially this one. She is a real darling.
Back to the boat issue, she loves swimming (can't get her out of the water) but only from shore. She won't jump off the boat even though we encouraged her for a while. But now we think this is a good thing as she never jumps off when we are docking or when it is time to go to work etc. We have to lift her off and onto the boat each time. But the minute we are close to the shoreline she is in the water waiting to play fetch. She absolutely loves to play fetch. She loves balls so much that she often has two balls, one in her mouth and the other at her feet to play soccer with. And of course she has that great Aussie smile.

by: Dream Tree Aussies

We are getting ready to take one of our Aussies on the boat for the first time. She loves being in her pool but a lake may be a different story.
Any advice?

Puppy Vs. Adult integration
by: Nick

I'm really glad I found this thread! I have an opportunity to get an aussie puppy from a great line of chill-demeanored dogs. My hesitation though is that I've not yet moved aboard, and wont be for another 5 months minimum. My knee-jerk reaction is that introducing a puppy to a live-aboard lifestyle would be no big deal, but what do you guys think about a year or so old dog being introduced to that kind of change? My plans are for a 40-50 ft double cabin with a decent aft-deck, so she'd have plenty of room, and there's a dog park right near the marina.

In response to Nick
by: Anonymous

Hi Nick, I am probably reading this far too late. If not though I say go for it. We have found that most dogs that come onto our boat love the water, the breeze, and all the sights along the way and at the marina (regardless of their age). It seems to mellow them out and put a great big smile on their faces. Our Aussie still loves being on the boat. We had a 40 ft boat and recently upgraded to 50 ft. More than enough space in both cases. She loves to sit out on the deck and can even do that at night which is nice for her to have the freedom to sit outside on her own. She loves watching the birds. She never jumps off the boat unless we are leaving. I believe it is because she always wants to be with us..she is a herder after all. :) Aussies are lovely, affectionate dogs and they do seem happy wherever they are as long as they can be with you as much as possible and get some play-time/exercise in. The biggest problem for them, from our experience, is if you let them get bored. They just need to be engaged in something, even if that is just hanging out with family. They are also very agile which is a plus on a boat. :)

Good to go
by: J

I’m a liveaboard on a sailing cutter with my 4yr old 40lb mini, spend a decent amount of time on the dock, also will spend a good time at sea on long tacks where the boat will be heeled 15-25 degrees for days at a time, on dock I work during the day so my pup will be alone on the boat, zero issues, he always goes for a run in the AM and then in the PM, at sea he does great too and does his business on a square of AstroTurf that I chuck over with a line tied to it for a good wash.

A well trained Aussie does great.

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