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in Dog Friendly San Diego, Training and socialization

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

  • August 29, 2016
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
  • 0 Comments
Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Tips on how to keep your dog safe at Dog Beaches

We’re not generally a fan of dog parks.  We’ve observed that there are typically one or two dogs that are left unattended and the owner’s face is stuck in their phone.  And seen too many close calls to feel that dog parks are a safe place for our dogs.

But we LOVE the beach.  And San Diego has quite a few epic off leash dog beaches.

One of them we just discovered is the Ocean Beach Dog Beach Park.  Here’s a few of our favorite factors about it:

  • I’m going to guess that it’s over 5 square miles in size.  So it’s big enough that the dogs have space to roam in.
  • Another plus is that it’s right where the beach meets the river.  So not only do you have the beach front … you have the beach area alongside the estuary to walk by.  The water is flat and calm.
  • Water quality is clean.
  • When it’s low tide you’ve got a huge area of space for the dogs to run around in.

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

So without further ado, here’s a list of safety precautions for dog beaches:

  1.  VISIT AND DO A SITE INSPECTION.  Visit the beach prior to brining your dog to see what kind of dogs go there.  Because our dogs are smaller we avoid beaches that have bigger dogs.  An example is the Del Mar Dog Beach.  It’s iconic and in a great location but the last few times we went, the dogs were larger dogs that had prey drive and resource guarding.  So we didn’t feel that it would be safe to bring our dogs there.
  2. MAKE SURE YOUR DOG KNOWS RECALL. We waited until the dogs were older before we started taking them to public off leash areas.  Primarily because we had to make sure they would return to us when we called them.  Maggie seems to be the more explorative type and it’s taken me a while to feel comfortable that she would come back to me to the point where she stops mid run, and then returns irregardless of what distraction may be in front of her.
  3. KEEP YOUR DOG ON THE LEASH UNTIL YOU GET TO THE BEACH.  The parking lots are very busy.  So we are not the type of dog owners that let the dogs out of the car off leash.  They stay ON the leash until we’re on the sand.
  4. UNLEASH YOUR DOGS ONCE ON THE BEACH.  Believe it or not there are dogs that are leash reactive.  So take the leash off once you feel you’re far enough from the parking lot’s distractions.
  5. CREATE A BOND ONCE YOU TAKE OF THE LEASH.  At the park, at the beach, it’s the same.  It’s a celebration once the leash is off but before I release them.  I “jackpot” them with treats (5 small treats one after another) so they know where all the goodies are.
  6. SURVEY THE LANDSCAPE.  I keep my eyes on
    – Owners that are not paying attention to their dogs.  I stay away from them.
    – Dogs that are ball obsessed.  Because if my dogs want to go after their ball that dog may get upset and cause some trouble.
    – Dogs that have prey drive.  As in my dogs look like rabbits and want to chase them.
    – Big packs of dogs. If a large pack of dogs are headed towards us I get in front of my dogs and calmly take them in a different direction.   I don’t want a pack to come and check out my dogs as a pack.
    – Rough play.  I break it up and do not allow it.  I don’t want it to escalate to something more.
    – In the water … I look out for stingrays.  Some beaches such as Coronado and La Jolla Shores are notorious for sting rays.  I don’t let the dogs get in too deep in those areas.
    – Equal play and role reversal.  I look for the dogs to be alternating who chases who, if they do the play bow, if they are soft and floppy and playing nice.  Anytime I don’t feel comfortable I break it up and take my dogs away.
  7. PRACTICE TRAINING.  There’s a lot of distractions in an off leash public environment.  I typically will do quick 3 to 5 minute training and play sessions so that I deepen the connections I have with my dogs.
  8. BRING WATER.  Keep the pups cool and make sure you have plenty of water for them.  In extremely hot days I bring coconut water for quick hydration.
  9. TOOLS FOR THE CAR.  I typically have several towels in the car and I have a brush and dustpan set ….. so that I can brush the sand off the pups and off the back of my SUV as well.

When we go to the beach, it’s typically so that my two can have fun running in a large area of space.   And it’s my job to make sure they are not hurt in the process.   Ideally our favorite times to go are low tide during the sunrise.  We find that dog owners that come during this time are as committed to their dogs (and waking up early) and generally seem to be more attentive.

Off leash dog beaches are safe and fun under the right conditions.

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

Safety Precautions when taking your Dog to the Dog Beach

By MaggieLovesOrbit, August 29, 2016
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