Think of a houseboat as a slow-moving RV that takes a long time to turn, and you get an idea of what piloting one is like. Some rental companies require designated navigators to have previous boating experience, although most will accept novices. At any rate, you'll be put through an extensive orientation before shoving off.
When it comes to dogs, policies vary from rental company to rental company and even from boat to boat. Some operators limit four-legged passengers to just their oldest, least desirable watercraft, while others welcome them aboard every make and model. Before you get your heart set on that deluxe rig with rooftop hot tub, faux fireplace, water slide and big-screen TV, be sure to ask.
And be flexible with your timing if you can. Rental rates vary hugely according to season, size of the boat and amenities. Fuel and tax are extra, and hefty deposits are required. Mid-June to mid-August is the high season, while good deals along with good weather are to be found in the shoulder seasons, with September considered an optimal time to go houseboating. Regardless of time of year, most companies require a two- or three-night minimum rental.
So what happens with Lola when nature calls? Most houseboaters spend their nights tied up to shore, so it's easy to hop out and take your pup for her morning constitutional. What if she can't wait? Have pick-up bags and bucket at the ready and be prepared to sluice.