Jump to content

A Cautionary Tale For Dog Owners.


Recommended Posts

We have had our pup for 4 months now and as a family are absolutely loving it. She is great in every way including off the lead. Whilst walking around a lake the other day my eldest asked what would happen if she fell in and could not get out. I told him we would do our best but no more......


i hope we never have to find out! Still growing at the moment but lifejacket to be bought before her first trip!


  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs on boats...some handy tips sponsored by Dylan The Boats Beagle (DTBB) and Toby The Boats Other Beagle (TTBOB).

Lifejackets for Dogs.

  • Buy these from a recognised chandlery not Ebay. Yes you can get some bargains on Ebay BUT the jackets supplied often do not have enough buoyancy in them or have far too much.
  • Make sure the jacket fits correctly. Try it on the dog before purchase. All the same rules that apply to human life jackets apply to dog jackets.
  • Make sure there is a large hooking eye on the back of the jacket so you can 'hoike' the dog out of the water using the boat hook. This is about the only legitimate use of a boat hook I can think of.
  • Give the dog an opportunity to get used to the jacket and to walk around the boat wearing the jacket before you head out on the water. The extra padding of the jacket will occasionally make the deck difficult to navigate for the dog and consequently fall in when they bounce off suddenly narrow sections of the deck.
  • Leave the jacket on the dog while you are underway. Dogs often make a break for freedom when you least expect it and you may not have time to muck about putting the jacket on and off. For example DTBB is normally calm and placid and mooches about the deck but a chance encounter with a long horned cow coming down to drink made him frantic.

Door Hooks and Latches

  • Make sure these work, work easily and lock securely.
  • When coming into moor, fasten the dog/s below out of the way to avoid them falling in or you tripping over them and falling in. I've seen experienced helms/dog owners fall foul of a sudden, out of character and unexpected lunge from a dog making a bid to get to dry land.

Dog Control

  • Dog Leads. Please use them? Your dog may be used to roaming off the lead at home in a familiar location but away from their usual haunts they can react differently to the norm.
  • Please remember that although your dog may be sociable someone else's might not be. There are folks on the Broads who have working dogs, guide dogs, medical dogs etc and Fido may 'just be being friends' or may 'only bark at other dogs when they are on the lead' but its not cute, or funny. What it is...is a pain in the bum.
  • Be wary of you dog around anglers. Twice now I have had to extract fish hooks and pike trebles from the mouths of other peoples dogs when they decided to investigate an anglers bait tin or snook up on the blind side of an angler.
  • Don't tie your dog to the boat and heave them on the bank. If the boat moves then its splash/crunch time.
  • Don't tie you dog across the bank so that other people/dogs have to negotiate getting past your dog. Not everyone likes dogs and some are genuinely scared of them.
  • If your dog is under control..chances of it falling in, being swept away, getting bitten etc are vastly reduced.


Dog Sh Poo Toffees

  • Carry a shed load of bags and pick up after your dog.
  • We carry a dedicated plastic bin with a lid for storing waste until we can dispose of it correctly.
  • I also carry a bottle of water to sluice away...lets call them 'sticky toffee puddings' of the variety difficult to pick up in a bag.
  • Organise your cruising around 'walkies' and leave plenty of time to get a mooring where your dog can get on and off the boat and there is somewhere for them to walk.


  • I got my vet to send the records of DTBB and TTBOB to the vet at Wroxham so that should they have a medical problem he has up to date records of the boys.


I have plans to build a 'feeding station' for the boys which will be a plywood box with a lid that will house securely food and water bowls. I'm building it for two reasons. The first it will make a handy step up to the deck when the id is closed and secondly it will stop me regularly kicking over the water bowl, slipping in the water, going aspect over apex and making an even bigger idiot of myself than I normally do.


Adaptil is wonderful stuff. DTBB loves boating but hates car travel. TTBOB doesn't mind car travel but is not quite used to boating. A quick spray of adaptil and the boys make good sailors and reasonable car passengers.

I know its a bit 'granny and eggs' and all that but you would be amazed at how many people don't put any thought into looking after their dogs and... dogs, just like us, love boating on the Broads!




  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to add to Timbo's excellent advice.

As well as Tink, mentioned elsewhere on here today, we have a bull dog and bull dogs can't swim, they are too heavy/dense and have no natural buoyancy.

So as to not take any chances we contacted Crewsaver direct and they supplied a life jacket based on his size and weight. Bulldog and lifejacket were then presented to a swimming pool and yes he floated exactly as required. He also sulked for a week!

Anyway the Crewsaver comes with a handle on the back and a ring for attaching a lead to or hooking the animal out of the water. You need the ring because the jacket will cover your dogs normal collar. Our ring failed. The stitching is weak in this area and when we talked to Crewsaver they told us the ring was for emergency use only even though the instructions with the jacket said differently. 

We replaced the jacket but, knowing the fault, have since seen a number of similar jackets out and about on the riverbanks with stitching coming undone and mentioned it to the owners.

Crewsaver have since changed their instructions I believe.

As an aside we had a border collie who loved water. He would fall in deliberately off boats, jetties and paths into rivers, broads, boating lakes, you name it you could not keep him out of it. When on board he always wore his life jacket and certainly tested it to the max! When he got tired, rather than come back to shore, he would just float about knowing full well we couldn't get to him. I wonder how many tides we missed or dinghy's we came close to turning over trying to round him up! 

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our Macie dog is called 'Macie' for reasons that seem to have escaped me although I do remember it was some sort of democratic decision within the Griff household that came to make this decision, one that I didn't seem to have much input in, but that is the normal way at our hovel.  Macie loves water, especially swimming in it as much as possible no matter what the weather or how cold it is.  To that end we have to be proper clear and strict with her as to when she has permission to enter the water.  Being a fully trained 'Gundog' she is 'supposed' to accept commands easily and more importantly adhere to them, to be fair to her she is quite good at doing as she is told.  This is a bonus when being afloat, however she has fell in to the water on the Broads three times now. Only the first time did she have her lifejacket on, which was handy and made it very easy for her to be retrieved (Retrievers get embarrassed if they get retrieved)  we try to be careful with her getting on/off the boats, dogs pads / claws seem to slip on painted tupperware more than the non slip paint on 'B.A's decks so that is something to be aware of.  Doggy lifejackets are fine, but I prefer them not to fall in,  in the first place





  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Imagine the "fun" we are going to have come the warmer weather! :shocked The newest member of our crew is 5 stone (and still growing at 11 months) of American Bulldog cross.

Lifejacket will be a must with this one! - if he goes in, he'll have to stay afloat until the :Sailing finish gun/horn/bell :naughty: 


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I once won a sailing race due to the K9 crew member deserting ship within sight of the finishing line! Two of us had had a darn good race all the way from Oulton Broad to Beccles for the regatta there. I was ahead and then I wasn't as we jockeyed for first place. The finishing line was in sight and, tactically and fairly I could see no way of regaining first position by the time we reached the line. Ah ha, my opposite number had a soppy dog onboard, problem possibly solved, I started calling out 'here boy' and other such tempting phrases as one might use when getting desperate. Smacking on the side of the boat finally did and Romulus, as that was his name, lurched over the side and swam towards us, good dog! Did I rescue him, did I heck, the owner had to turn and retrieve his retriever, for that was what he was. Sporting behaviour, not in the least, but we won! The owner, rather older than I, laughed about that for the rest of his life and that was how long we remained friends, such was sailing in days gone by.   

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had some friends who owned a  dim but loveable boxer named Benson. The fact that Benson got called to the phone when they gave out doggy brains didn't escape our African Grey named Joe. When Benson came to visit,  Joe from his cage in the study seemed to instinctively know when Benson had finally settled from the excitement of arrival and would whistle him up promising "Walkies," "biscuitt"s and all kinds of things irresistible to Benson . The poor dog would be running from room to room totally confused. iI he went into the study, Joe would promptly go into his totally believable Rottweiler imitation,  terrifying the life out of poor Benson, and as he returned to the lounge and settled  Joe would start the whole procedure again.. Joe lived well into his seventies and although the evil bird being a typical African Grey (they prefer men) hated me with a passion, I do miss him. He had the most amazing vocabulary but he never swore fortunately.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was young I went to social gatherings at our local church. The rector's wife had an African Grey, by the time us evil nine and ten year olds had finished retraining it the old bird could swear and talk dirty a real treat! Strong stuff back then, damn, blast, bum, widdle and poop, we were men of the world and really daring back then!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I has worry taking Archie in April and he was 7 months old and has since grown a little more, even if he's twice as big as he was planned. Yet again no issues with him in Sept 12 months old.

We take 2 sides from his cage which sits nice across Melody's door and we use the access gate. and have a flexi lead set so he can't get any higher than the pic clipped on the cage whilst moored. One of us sits with him if on the move and has his LJ on, whilst moored he has one of normal walking harness on.

I asked on here about getting him in the water and planned Salhouse, I moored on the far right 2 boat section and there was a little section between the trees and Kaz stepped in and he ended up about 5 foot out and the 4 paw paddle kicked in with no LJ on. I wasn't allowed to get him out any further (can't understand it).

One thing I had was to have the landing net ready on the roof been small he could be scoped quicker than hooked.


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of you will remember Jim Redford our terrier cross who died a couple of years ago. He was an ideal boat dog or Schippershond as the Dutch would say.....


We got Jim when he was 6 weeks old one Saturday morning and took him straight into the Hockham Eagle where the ladies descended upon him and took him for a drink............... of Adnams Southwold bitter! He spent the rest of his 14+ years drinking the tops off my pints......


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago we had a cairn terrier who, like most dogs, was adept at clearing the floor of any dropped food etc. On one occasion my great-aunt managed to empty her full glass of gin and tonic on the floor. We didn't know until we found the dog standing over something licking furiously. Then he sat down and continued licking, then he lay down - still licking. We finally realised what he was enjoying but too late, he had cleared the lot. He didn't move from that spot, just keeled over and slept for hours! No harmful effects luckily but he did seem to have a smile on his face for the next day or so. :dog: 

Watch out for slippery decks when dogs are on board. We have found that wet towels are ideal to stop paws slipping and provide grip when getting on and off the boat.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.