One of the topics among dog owning boaters is how to train a dog to use Astro Turf / plastic carpet for relieving themselves. Finally I can answer the question.
Before learning the technique, I went to extreme measures (and expense) to provide a comfortable means for our Pomeranians, Sable and Dottie, to pee and poop while spending time on our boats.
Back on Lake Norman, near Charlotte NC. Diann and I owned a Catalina 30. I actually used a low profile plastic 24-bottle drink crate as a container for sod. Yep, I took a chunk of grass sod onto the boat and applied Miracle Grow to try and have a grass patch on board. After two weeks of that joke, I took the sod back to Hickory and put it back into the lawn from which it came!
Soon afterward, we bought our RIB dinghy with 15 hp Mercury four stroke- on which the dogs were carried to shore for their business.
Fast forward ten years. We now are on board Yacht A Fun. Zoey the girl dog, our current Pomeranian, was not interested in trying the 3’ by 4’ Plasti-Grass that Diann had edged on her SailRite sewing machine. Edging the cut material keeps it from unraveling. Zoey was unimpressed. She held her water from Monday morning at Oriental until Wednesday around 3PM at Wrightsville Beach.
Successful Plasti-Grass training did happen though. The method we used is simple. When we arrived in Wrightsville Beach, Diann took Zoey, from the boat, in her arms so Zoey’s feet could not touch ground. I carried the Plasti-Grass carpet.
We placed the carpet on the pet area lawn at SeaPath Marina. Zoey was placed on the carpet, but allowed to walk onto the real grass. As soon as she began her business, I gently picked her up in mid poop and placed her on the Plasti-Grass. The result left her poop odor on the carpet.
She then decided to pee on the real grass. In mid squat, I picked her up and she finished on the carpet.
Odors were on the carpet and her mission was complete. We returned to the boat.
Upon arrival at South Port Marina on Thursday afternoon, we took her to the lawn and repeated the process.
Friday morning the Plasti-Grass was placed on the bow bridge deck of our Gemini catamaran. Zoey was placed on the carpet. She first walked the fiberglass. She then returned to the carpet and sniffed her pee odor.
She squatted and peed.
Both Zoey’s, and our, missions were accomplished.
The immediate result of our successes also included Diann, who got a smile on her face- and Zoey who got people food cereal as a treat!
We have victory for sure. Zoey walked out the door and performed without prompting. Plasti-grass training can be done, even for a four year old dog.