Taking your dog to the beach can be a rewarding experience, but there are some things to consider before you pack up your pooch and head to the sandy shore. Depending on where you live, the time of year, and even the time of day, beaches can be overflowing with other humans and dogs or dead empty. Either way, it’s best to prepare for a time you’re likely to encounter many others. Here are some tips to prepare you for a beach visit with your dog.
Perhaps the most important part of responsible dog ownership is basic obedience training. You don’t need to have the next champion obedience dog, but you do need basic commands established in order to provide clear communication between you and your dog. Many beaches that allow dogs allow them to be off leash, and if you don’t have a solid recall, there’s a chance your pup will be out of sight quickly. Your dog could run off the beach, or he could head into the water and get swept away by the current or tossed under waves. It’s important that you’re able to keep control of your dog, for his safety and the comfort of others around you. Although most other people like dogs, few want a slobbery kiss while eating their beach picnic. Maintaining control is essential to having safe, well-mannered fun.
Consider Your Dog's Sociability
In many places, dogs are only allowed on designated dog beaches. This means that all dogs, of all different shapes and sizes, are grouped together in one spot that’s generally much smaller than human beaches. This almost guarantees interaction with other dogs, so having a dog that’s social with other animals is essential. It’s also important to make sure your dog doesn’t mind sharing toys, sticks, or other beach finds. Although you can make sure your dog minds her manners, you cannot guarantee that others will do the same, and you’re likely to come across a rude or pushy dog from time to time. Be prepared to intervene when necessary to prevent any fights from breaking out, as this can be extremely dangerous. If your dog doesn’t like other dogs, you can try going to the beach at times when no one else is there to lessen your chances of interaction, but always be prepared.
Supervise Your Dog
Do not leave your dog unsupervised. Even the best-trained pup needs his owner watching after him. Mostly a safety issue, full supervision is a must in any public place. Beaches are fun but can be dangerous. Dogs can get lost or drown. You have to remember that your dog’s judgment is not always the best — although it’s great fun to chase the seagulls into the water, it’s not a good idea to go too far out if you can’t swim! Dogs, of course, only realize this mistake once they’re already out there. You’ll also want to supervise your dog to make sure he isn't causing any trouble. That's not to say that your pup isn’t friendly. In fact, sometimes the problem is just the opposite. A dog that’s too friendly might be trying to play with a dog that’s frightened or with a human who doesn’t want to play back.
Know Your Dog's Idea of Fun
Know what your dog likes. If your dog doesn’t like the water, the beach might not be the best place for her. But if she’s comfortable relaxing in the sand and playing with other dogs in the dry areas, let her do it! Try not to convince your dog to do anything she’s afraid to do. Just enjoy her for the dog she is and learn what she likes and doesn't like about the beach. She may not be the next surfing canine, but she’s certainly going to enjoy spending time in the outdoors with you.