Sailing with Dogs – a photo essay

Honey won’t swim.

But so far she has ridden in kayaks, been on ferries, cruised on river boats and now, she has sailed.

How did she like it?

Let’s check the photographic evidence.

Honey the Sailing Dog

We saw a little bit of this:

Honey the Golden Retriever goes sailing.

I don’t mind the motion, but I sure could use a pillow.

And we saw a little bit of this:

Honey the Golden Retriever tries to nap in the sailboat cockpit.

It’s a bit crowded but it’s definitely softer. Now if only I could turn down the volume and get some sleep.

And the next evening, we even saw a little bit of this:

Honey the Golden Retriever is dog tired of sailing.

All this sailing is hard wo–zzzzzzzzzzzzz!

I’ve looked at dozens of pictures and only see relaxed ears, a soft mouth, and a sleepy dog.

Looks like we’re successful in expanding Honey’s comfort zone with new things.

And now I need to give thanks where it’s due.

It Takes a Village to Sail a Dog…

When I first cooked up the scheme of sailing as a family, I knew Honey would find it tough.

We got help from a local trainer, Russ Hollier, who taught us how to make slow and steady progress in building Honey’s confidence.

The first time we met with Russ, Honey was afraid to walk on a ramp lying flat on the ground. Now look what she can do:

Honey walks down the pier to go sailing.

Don’t be afraid. I’ll lead the way.

After months of using agility equipment to simulate the motion of sailing, how would she would handle the noise of a gybe or the heeling of a boat? And who could we convince to allow a sweet but steadily shedding dog on their boat?

Amy Burkert directed me to her article on dog-friendly Provincetown on the Take Paws blog at Go Pet Friendly. And there I found out about Captain Ro and Dog Gone Sailing Charters.

Yes, a charter captain who loves dogs! And who is willing to invite dogs aboard! Hallelujah.

We had a beautiful half day sail on Tuesday followed by a lovely sunset sail on Wednesday. Captain Ro, First Mate Silvie, and canine crew member, Mini Mate, were very welcoming and we had a wonderful time.

Thank you to each of you for helping us take another step toward our dream.

The crew of Moondance II and Dog Gone Sailing Charters.

Who wouldn’t want to sail with this crew?


Something Swagging This Way Comes Giveaway

Honey the Golden Retriever admires BlogPaws swag.You are so awesome! I’m loving all the helpful comments coming up in my two surveys.

What? You haven’t taken the surveys and entered to win one of two great prizes?

What are you waiting for? You only have until Monday, June 3 to answer a few questions and be entered in our drawing.

You can win one of these prizes:

  • Readers outside the United States will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.
  • U.S. readers will win my big bag o’swag from BlogPaws for their dog or the shelter or rescue of their choice.

Don’t forget, you need to enter both surveys to be eligible to win.


Terms and Conditions: The giveaway ends Monday, June 3 at 7:00 a.m. EDT. Open only where allowable by law. Two winners (one foreign, one domestic) will be selected by and be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only to contact the winner.



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  1. Wow, looks like she did pawesome! I guess she’s got her sea legs! Good job!

  2. I bet I would love sailing…that motion, speed and wind in my fur. As a puppy I got to ride in the car on the Autobahn a lot so I am used to lots of motion and stuff and I have been on a jet ski and a speed boat. I hear that some dogs don’t handle motion well. Lucky for us mom’s dogs have always done fine with it. The only issue I see with sailing is finding a good poddy spot way far out on the water :)

  3. That sounds like quite an adventure! I work with a woman who spends most weekends on a boat with her husband, and their rotti, Nyla. Nyla is quite the sailor, and loves life on the open sea! Who knew dogs would love boating? lol

  4. Max's Ma says:

    So happy Honey seemed very relaxed and to be having a great time!!! Yea!!

  5. The picture of her sleeping on your lap is just precious. We took Cali white water rafting once – a friend of ours told us that his friends dog loved it – Cali was terrified and it was all I could do to keep her in the raft when she would hear the rapids coming. On the calm areas, she would sleep. That is our BIG “what were we thinking” adventure. Poor dog.

    I’m glad Honey is enjoying sailing!!

  6. Yay for Honey! And yay for you, paying so much attention to her stress levels.

  7. How wonderful that Honey was able to adapt so nicely…she looks pretty happy to be there with you…Props to Captain Ro for her dog-friendly business

  8. I think that’s so great that you took the time and patience to get Honey accustomed to a boat. She looks like it doesn’t phase her.

  9. Honey is a champ! If she could survive BlogPaws, she can survive anything!

  10. Honey, you are awesome. What a great traveler you are. It’s proves you can sleep anywhere.
    Hugs and licks, BJ Pup

  11. Looks like she did great! I’m not sure how much my guys would like sailing, though I can’t say I know how I’d like it either! Glad to see that you had a great time. Hopefully you got some more beautiful pictures. :)

  12. That Honey Dog is one amazing pup! Way to go, girlfriend!

  13. That is just great! I love that you expose Honey to so many different things!

  14. Honey has come such a long way :) Didn’t she do great! It’s awesome to see all your hopes and dreams coming to fruition, not without lots of hard work and love on your part though. But anything worth having is worth working for :) Well done everyone.

  15. Sue at The Golden Life says:

    I’m with Julie — the picture of Honey asleep with her head in your lap is precious!!

    Our big adventures with Callie and Shadow were rides up to the Blue Ridge Mountains, walking the easy trails because our knees can’t handle the harder ones any more. When I get Ducky more comfortable around people, and less prone to chewing on the leash/harness, maybe we’ll take her too.

  16. Oh those pictures do my heart good. You worked so hard to bring her confidently to this point. What amazing work – I’m so glad it paid off.

  17. How FUN! I rode in a boat 2x when we were in HI. I had a tendency to jump and prefer swimming rather than being in the boat. The motion/movement made me fall asleep too. Does Honey have her own life jacket? Please let us know as we have an extra (new one) we are trying to give it away. Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  18. My husband used to have a nice fishing boat and our dogs Maggie and Kobi absolutely loved it. All our dogs now accept for Kobi don’t care much for car rides and are probably too timid to go boating. Nothing in the world phases Kobi. I bet he misses it.
    I am so glad Honey is doing well for you, and it’s so great you found a place that would take her.

  19. Looks like all of you had a great time!! I am so glad to see Honey able to enjoy sailing with y’all.

  20. Yes she sure does look calm and happy, just like her mom and dad.

  21. Oh Pamela! Just seeing these pictures made me smile. I think she liked it!
    I wonder if she will be much more enthusiastic the next time? I am just cheering like crazy over here. Congrats. All your hard work paid off. :)

  22. Looks like great fun!! Typist thought about you the other day, her and her other half want to get a two person canoe with space for their dog, but while looking remembered your post so wisely suggested they look to hiring boats for a few days to ensure their dog would be happy before looking at spending the money!

  23. So you, Mike and Honey are ready to sail into the sunset? How do you think she will do on a boat full-time?

  24. Those photos are so wonderful. All that hard work to help her relax while sailing seems to have really paid off, and how cool that you found a captain willing to take you all for a spin (glide?). So happy to see this! :-)

  25. Diana E. says:

    Congratulations on such a big and well-thought-out adventure! I’m so pleased to see Honey wearing a life vest each time she’s out on a boat. That’s very important since even a strong dog-paddler could get tired eventually if it was people and pup overboard. Here’s to many more great times on the water. <3

  26. Love the picture of Honey sleeping on your lap. As one who gets nervous in new situations myself, I think it’s great how you helped your dog adjust to sailing. I’m sure being with you is a huge part of the reward.