LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Teaching a Dog to Use the Companionway Stairs… Not the Rocket Science We Expected

Oliver is a poodle (mix).

Poodles are super duper smart. Gifted if you will.

Apparently, learning to climb the companionway steps isn’t the rocket science we thought it would be for him. Go figure!

I wish I had a great blog post about the steps we took to train Oliver and how we developed some awesome method of doggie stair climbing training, but we got nothing.

Oliver is just that awesome.

(Please excuse the duddy iphone-ography.)

Here’s how it went down:

Oliver’s first time on the boat, we carried him down the steps. Jereme went up into the cockpit, and Oliver followed right behind him. Easy peasy. We continued to carry him down the stairs thinking we would need to train him. (Plus, we were worried he would hurt himself.)

Oliver’s second time on the boat was with our close friends Chris and Heather on board too. Chris (aka The Dog Whisperer) walked down the steps and Oliver followed right behind him like the little professional stair climber he is. No training needed. Hah!

There have been a handful of tentative climbs up or down, but overall Oliver knew what to do and how to do it. Let’s hope that doesn’t change.

We must’ve seriously won the dog lottery because Oliver is just that amazing!

UPDATE: Oliver has lost a lot of his stair courage and has been a wee bit tentative on the climbing lately. Not good for us.:(We’re going to have to install something on the stairs that gives a bit more traction.

Click on the monkey’s fist to read others bloggers on this topic.

The Monkey


JackieAugust 27, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Haha, funny you mention Oliver’s sudden halt in companionway progress. Our German Shorthair had no problem getting up the stairs at first but has since had to be “assisted” (or pushed) up the stairs. And forget about any effort on her part when we’re underway and moving! It’s a good thing they’re so cute or they wouldn’t get away with half as much as they do 😉

LahoWindAugust 28, 2013 - 2:35 pm

We’re thinking about adding something to our stairs so there is more traction. And hoping that does the trick. 😉 We’ll see…

[…] may remember this post about teaching Oliver to use the companionway stairs in our boat. And how it went “oh so […]

Battle of the Bilge! Bilge Cleaning…A must-do unless you enjoy the smell of sewer.

Turns out, a dirty, dark, and damp bilge smells just like a sewer when left to fend for itself. Not the most pleasant way to maintain it if you ask me. Although our boat was fairly well maintained, we are not quite sure if the previous owner ever really cleaned the bilge. And the bigger question really is…why the heck is it dirty in the first place?

Well, the smell alone was reason enough for us to make cleaning the bilge a top priority after purchasing the boat, but it is also important to keep the bilge clean to prevent growth of unwanted bacteria and prevent rust and corrosion that can pop up on key equipment in that area of the boat…ahem the engine.

And aside from the foul smell, a closer look at the water in the bilge led us to believe that there was old diesel or oil in there too. Not good in terms of cleanup.

So, the only cure for said dirty bilge was to…CLEAN it. And I mean really clean it. This “not-so-lovely” maintenance was one of the top priority boat projects on our list just days after s/v LAHO officially become ours.

But how the heck do you clean a bilge?  And get all that dirt, grime, and grease out of there? As super beginner boat owners, we certainly had no clue.

Like most things thus far, we did some research and DIY’d the heck out of it.

We decided we needed some serious cleaner to do the trick AND a little ingenuity to get the oil out before we pumped the bilge out overboard. (Remember, it is illegal to pump oily discharge overboard. If you find oil in your bilge water, you need to turn off the bilge pump and find an alternative way to dispose of the oil. The test for illegal pollution is simply a “visible sheen” on the water.)

It definitely didn’t help to see THIS many cleaner options when we browsed for a solution at West Marine. I mean really…did we need bilge cleaner concentrate, a degreaser, etc etc etc.?

After randomly selecting an appropriate cleaner, Jereme had to squeeze his girly figure (jk!) down into that hatch (you can see him poking out in the photo above) and alternating soaking up the oily water with diapers and hosing down the area with water/cleaner.  After many repetitions of this process, the bilge seemed much cleaner. And luckily, the awesome “sewer” smell went away.

Oliver did a great job “supervising” this project. 😉

It’s important to note that if our trusty float switch was working properly in the first place, then there would have never been any fluid in the bilge. Hence, no foul sewer smell. Next up on the never ending project list = FIX the float switch! ASAP.

[…] getting to know where various parts were on our engine and cleaning miscellaneous pieces, like the bilge.  But neither of us really have a clue when it comes to regular engine maintenance on our 50-HP […]

Sailboat Offer…ACCEPTED!

We made an offer on a sailboat! And…it got accepted! Woot woot!

So, after roughly T-W-O solid years of researching, investigating, and educating ourselves, turns out it only takes a few days to make an offer, negotiate it a little, settle on a price and doggonit we are scheduled for our marine survey on April 1st!!!

A marine survey and haul out on April Fools Day?  Hmmm…here’s to hoping the jokes not on us!

adamSeptember 16, 2015 - 1:48 pm

how much did it cost?

Virginia HeidersbergerOctober 15, 2016 - 1:04 pm

I love your adventure since my dad crossed the Atlantic 3 times…. And I would kind of follow your footsteps.
May I ask, how much did your boat cost?


We found “the one!”


We knew it as soon as we walked down the dock and saw her.

Well, I guess we had a pretty solid feeling having done very extensive boat research ourselves beforehand. Plus, she matches up pretty darn closely with our sailboat priority list!!! And once we saw her in person, well that just did it.

Say hello to this pretty lady…Ms. Roxy! …A 1982 Endeavour 37 Plan B.

Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

Ron ChurchillAugust 23, 2015 - 2:09 pm

Great blog. I think you did it right. See the window of opportunity, experience the adventure. Then move on. Looks like your boat needed a lot of upgrades though.
Upgrades = time.

Holy moly, we’re finally boat shopping. In person.

Must be the luck of the Irish or something? Two years later and we’re finally shopping. In person. {insert happy dance here.}

You know, the kind of real life shopping where you go and see things you want to buy?  I wasn’t sure if we’d ever venture out of the online “browsing” status to actual in-person shopping. But WE DID! Yay us! And on St. Patty’s Day no less. Imagine that!

So, it only took two years of searching, learning the market, talking about buying a boat, calculating what it would cost, searching a ton more, talking about it lots more, and then FINALLY we bit the bullet and called a yacht broker for one great-looking, fits-our-budget, lines-up-with-our-priority-list kind of boat we came across on Yachtworld.

*Al Pollak with Massey Yacht Sales in St. Petersburg, Florida was amazing to work with! I would highly recommend his expertise to any serious sailboat or yacht shoppers out there.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.