I took both of my dogs sailing last week on my Getaway - it was a great time, they took to sailing almost immediately. One dog is a mix Austrailan Cattle Dog - Sydney, the other a mix short-hair collie and/or greyhound - Gandalf.
Sydney- is crazy about the water ie: no fear - Gandalf just now is becoming confident enough to swim on his own. These two dogs are polar opposites in personality.
I did purchase life jackets for them "Outward Hound" brand from Petco -no affiliatiation- The handles on the jackets were helpful - the product is well made and the dogs didn't seem to mind wearing the jackets for extended periods of time.
The first sail was a just a light breezy day - good sailing weather for a leisurely trip. Sydney wandered around the bows and in about 10 minutes fell into the water. I put the boat into the wind and she swam over and I lifted her in by the handle on the jacket.
Gandalf was content to ride on the rear tramp- laying down- he immediately lays down in the car too - not very active when riding.
(Remember polar opposite of Sydney)
We wore the dogs out playing on a sandbar and on the return trip they both slept most of the way back to camp (about 45 minutes) .
Day two the ACD did the same thing I put the boat into the winds she swam past the bow and between the hulls, I missed her as she went under the traveler bar and she immediately turned and followed the boat. Basically she came up to the rudder and I helped her climb over the stern.
That was the last time she fell out. Although she seemed to enjoy standing on the very tip/bow of the hull - so falling out was still a potential.
We sailed the rest of the week with no incidents.
Before the week was over they were jumping on board as the boat was being readied to leave the 'beach". They both took to riding on the front tramp laying down or sleeping - it was funny watching Gandalf figure out that he could even step on the front tramp - seeing the water below was unnerving until my son coaxed him on the tramp. One day the weather was pretty heavy and Sydney made a game of biting the water splashing through the rear tramp. This turned out to be a pretty entertaining game and kept her out of trouble - she is a working dog, so I am pretty certain she felt it was a wothwhile endeavor. If you have ever been around an ACD for any length of time you know what I mean. They have two speeds all the way on, or off - they are either busy - or sleeping - usually busy.
All in all they are great sailors and I know they will be participating with us on the boat frequently. Just need to find a trapeze harness for Sydney - I think she would enjoy it....