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How big is too big!

Living Aboard doesn't mean you have to give up your pets! Find out to keep them healthy and happy here.

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Tmart851
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How big is too big!

Unread postby Tmart851 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:16 pm

I have read a lot of post concerning large dogs as a live a board. I will admit the cons out weigh the pros, but she is my baby and it is hard not seeing her in my life on a boat. I may have failed to mention that she is a full grown German Shepard which may add some complications. I know that some RV campsites and even parks will not allow a German Shepard on their property claiming they are an aggressive dog. Is this true with Marinas? They local marina here does not have a problem with her, but I don't have any experience outside of this area.
We are wanting to travel the Bahamas but am concerned there will be an issue with my Shepard.
Thanks,
Tim

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CaptForce
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby CaptForce » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:52 pm

I noticed, many years ago, that the models shown within the brochures advertising yachts were unusually small people. I can remember thinking of how much more space I would have in a liveaboard vessel if I were 5'3" instead of 6'3". There's no doubt that a small dog would be better suited for living aboard than a big dog, but I think that challenge would be just the adapting for you and your dog. I've known many liveaboards and cruisers with big dogs in the US and the Bahamas. I never noticed any different policies with marinas or other facilities that restricted large dogs. I think dogs of any size would be well received if they were kept on a leash at the docks, well behaved, and their owners bagged their deposits on the marina grounds.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew

Erik Brush
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Your Vessel Info: I am converting a 1984 Proline Walkabout 23 into a 23' houseboat. I've cut away the cabin, I've removed the gas tank (which will be replaced with a 50 gallon plastic water tank), and I'm working on laying down the under flooring base boards.

When I get done with the boat it will be the world's first electromagnetic powered houseboat. I will have a small solar and wind powered supplemental power bank. But the primary power will be generated with magnets, taking from one of Tesla's ideas. Additionally I'm a marine biologist so I'm very conscientious about noise in the water and the destructive power of props and fuel propulsion systems tearing up grass flats, cutting manatees (I'm in southwest Florida) and dolphins, etc. So my boat will be electromagnetically jet powered. Clean, quiet, efficient, with a protective cowling around the water intake.
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby Erik Brush » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:26 pm

For many years I trained dogs. I'm licensed in 3 states and one of only about 130 dog trainers who are Federally licensed. I stopped training a few decades ago due to the owners driving me nuts. LOL. I love dogs.

I agree with the earlier poster that small dogs are better suited for live aboard dogs than large dogs are. The only concern I'd have with a shepherd are health concerns.

These are natural herding dogs. Realistically German Shepherds require 5 miles of walking exercise a day to maintain prime health. Few shepherd owners actually give their dogs that much exercise but most shepherds do have some walking distances, dog parks, or yards to help them stay fit.

Being cooped up on a boat or just at a marina isn't ideal for the breed. But I get loving the dog and making it a part of your lifestyle.

One thing I would caution you against is using water (in marine ecosystems) as a swimming/exercise tool. These days I work as a kayak nature guide, but as a marine biologist sharks are a specialty and one of the quickest ways to attract a shark is with a dog swimming.

An odd fact is that the domesticated dog swims with an irregular gait. This is not the case with wild canines. Wolves, coyotes, dholes, African wild dogs, dingos, foxes, etc all swim with an even gait.

The irregular gait of domestic dog breeds creates low frequency sounds in the water that mimic those produced by woulded fish. Sharks are drawn to this. Particularly those with greater electro sensory organs (ampuli of lorenzeni) such as greater hammerheads and makos.

As for German Shepherd aggression, some places (cities or counties) have restriction on large dog ownership. Shepherds are sometimes on those lists along with bull breeds, chows, etc. However being on the water precludes having many of the restrictions that apply to land base dwelling.

As far as actual aggression cases with GSD (German Shepherd Dogs) shepherds are known to be chromomorphic, meaning there is a genetic condition that presents aggression in the breed when there is a reduction in melanin (which produces the colour black in mammals) in these animals. For years shepherd breeders would warn buyers to select the darkest coloured dogs if they wanted good temperament and disposition.

For years the AKC refused to recognize white shepherds due to their aggression problems. The lack of melanin produced high aggression in these animals. For 38 years in a row (with only one year as an exception) the GSD was the #1 kid killer in the US. The high majority of fatal attacks were linked to white or light coloured GSDs.

Now after concerted efforts of breeders white shepherds have proven to be generally very easy going and non aggressive although a few small examples of aggression still exist. The AKC now recognises this colour since the dogs no long exhibit the problem to any great extent.

The only other physical issue that breeders contend with these days is dwarfism. Shepherds want to be a mid sized dog. Without selectively breeding for larger size within three generations shepherds produce 45-60 lbs dogs. So breeders are always selective in an effort to maintain a larger size to these dogs.

Best wishes to you and your dog. Keep it exercising and I think it should be fine. Cheers!

Erik

Topic author
Tmart851
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby Tmart851 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:47 pm

Thank you for the comment. Her well being for exercise was one of my main concerns. We have a morning ritual with a frisbee which allows her to keep fit, but not sure how that will work on a 46' boat.
I have a lot to consider!
Thanks again for your input

ka8uet
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby ka8uet » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:50 pm

Frisbee on the beach should do well for your dog. Hip displasia is another issue with shepherds. Be careful how she goes down the steps Exercise is a good protection against this, as well. Good luck, and enjoy!!
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tex
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby tex » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:13 am

CaptForce wrote:Source of the post I can remember thinking of how much more space I would have in a liveaboard vessel if I were 5'3" instead of 6'3".


Man is that the truth. In my boat choice, I’d probably be enjoying a PDQ 34’ powercat if my weight were 150 instead of 250. Too big and stiff.
When life is hard, eat marshmallows!

ka8uet
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby ka8uet » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:13 pm

Come on, Tex, you know that there's no such thing as too big for a cat! :D
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tex
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby tex » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:15 am

Helen: I guess a cat must be a great place for your precious puppy, especially the foredeck. In your boat, he could literally run laps. Still, for the sake of maintaining balance in sea conditions, I’d prefer a dog with a low center of gravity and smaller excrements just in case.
When life is hard, eat marshmallows!

ka8uet
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Re: How big is too big!

Unread postby ka8uet » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:07 am

My Behrke isn't very big. 15" tall, and a bit overweight at 20 lbs. She's too old to have much interest in running laps, and too near ;blind to be safe on the foredeck. She recently fell out of the bunk and landed on her head, then flipped over and whacked her spine on the doorsill. Her back legs aren't quite back to normal yet. Right now, she's lying on my foot.

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