Ah, the beach! There’s nothing more relaxing than taking a dip in the warm salt water, sun bathing, and just watching the world go by. Not a summer day goes by without me thinking about how wonderful the beach is compared to my stuffy apartment. And of course, the beach is too good not to share. So why not bring the puppy along?
Always check the rules of the beach
While you would think that everyone loves to see the joy of dogs running across the beach, begging for another round of fetch or going 0 to 60 down the sand, most beaches actually don’t allow dogs or at least dogs off a leash. It’s important to check with either a ranger station, a website, or even the locals to see if you can take them. In my town, we actually have a beach dedicated to dogs. Here, dogs are free to run around on the beach and frolic to their heart’s content. And then there are some beaches where they are allowed, but only on a leash.
When we first took our dog, we made sure to have our leash, the choke collar (if he decided not to listen to us), doggie bags, and water. For some reason, our dog likes to go to the bathroom on the beach more than anything! Thankfully, most beaches that allow dogs have a dog bag station. Anyway, we wanted to make sure that Jackson would listen to us on the beach just as if we were hiking, playing frisbee, or taking a walk through the park. We took him to a quiet beach that allows dogs on a leash the first time we went. Honestly, just be prepared for any reaction out of your dog. At the end of the day, you know your pup the best, so you can make decisions for them perfectly!
If you want to take your dog to a dog beach, just remember that many of the other dogs will become an instant distraction. Your puppy will want to play and play and play and most likely not want to listen. But again, you know your limits of your dog. Just remember that a quiet place might be better when you’re first starting out.
It’s all about the time of day
Timing is important for many reasons. When you first take your dog, it might be better to go at a time of day where there aren’t too many people or other dogs. This will help your dog not get overwhelmed with all of the distractions. Remember, the beach should be a positive place, but too many activities all at once can be a negative thing. Bringing them to the beach in the early morning, or even during the late afternoon, could potentially help with lowering distractions. The first time we took Jax, we went during the early evening and made sure not to bring any toys. We wanted him to get familiar with the ocean, the waves, and the sand. Now, he loves nothing more than chasing the waves and becoming soaked by the water!
Another reason timing is important is because you don’t want it to be too hot for them. Obviously, they are at a beach, so it’s easy to dunk them in the water if they overheat, but what if they end up not liking the water? To be on the safe side, I usually go to the beach sometime other than the peak heat of the day.
Make this a family affair
If you know your dog is social, and is good with other dogs, take them to a community dog beach! If you’re not sure about how your dog will act with the plethora of puppies running and playing in the waves, I would strongly recommend taking them to a dog park or interacting with friends’ dogs before taking them to meet total strangers. Timing also is good in this case. Nonetheless, a community dog beach is so much fun, both for you and for your dog! You can meet tons of friendly dog owners while your dog occupies himself with fetch and chasing other dogs around in the water. The other dogs could also contribute to a more positive situation because your pup can see others having fun. Jax used to be afraid of the waves, but when other dogs started jumping around in the water, it was easy for him to see that the water was okay. (Dogs are pack animals, they like to see other dogs do something if they are too scared to do it!)
But most of all, have a blast!
The beach should be just as much fun for them as it is for you. Bring toys, bring treats, bring other dogs, bring whatever you want to make this a great time for you and for you puppy! Now that we have been a few times, Jackson starts whining when we take the exit for the beach. He absolutely loves it, and loves fetching tennis balls in the ocean! Maybe your dog won’t dig it, so maybe the beach isn’t the best place for them to hang out. Maybe your dog will love it so much he wants to be the next dog surfer. Who knows? At the end of the day, just trust yourself with your dog, and have fun!