It was always my dream to take my dogs to the beach and watch them play on the shore. I wanted them to sit beside me after hours of running through the sand, while we took in the sunset and the sound of gently crashing waves. My first trip to the beach did not go this way at all.
I took my dogs to San Diego with me when I decided to visit the Whaley House. I had learned that San Diego had many dog friendly beaches, unlike my experiences further north in Venice/Santa Monica. I settled on taking them to the Original Dog Beach, since it was the closest to my hotel. We arrived at the beach just at sunset, and I thought everything was going to be cool. It wasn’t. That’s not to say it was terrible experience; it was just more stressful than it needed to be. If I had planned better, it would have been more enjoyable for me and my dogs.
Taking a dog anywhere can be a lot like taking a child anywhere. Both can be difficult to get in the car, and both can be difficult to manage once in the car. In both instances, you have a better chance of success if you don’t freak out. Not only that, dogs can pick up on our emotions and respond accordingly. If you keep your wits about you, you have a better chance at directing your dog. Before you leave, keep in mind that you’re going somewhere calm and fun. There’s no set time when you have to arrive or when you have to leave, so take your time and remember to take a deep breath.
Take them to the car first.
Dogs can get excitable when they know they’re going somewhere. If your dog gets wild right before you go on a car ride, get them in the car first. I tried to leave with them and my bags all at once, and I ended up forgetting the bag with their treats in it. To make up for it, we had to make an impromptu stop at Walgreens. If you take your dogs to the car first, that will allow you the few extra seconds to ensure you have what you need.
Make sure they poop before you leave.
If you don’t, you run the risk of them pooping as soon as you arrive. This isn’t quite as bad if you are with another person, and you didn’t forget your dog bag. That said, it is difficult enough to walk through sand by yourself, back and forth to get tissue and to pick it up, then proceed to your spot on the sand.
Introduce them to the water slowly.
The waves can be rather intimidating to a dog, especially the smaller ones. Mine were curious initially with the wet sand and algae, but once the tide rolled in they ran off in a hurry.
Be mindful of leash laws.
The Original Dog Beach was the first leash-free beach, but some beaches do have leash requirements so keep that in mind before you travel. Some beaches have certain areas where dogs are allowed off-leash as well.
Let them explore along the shoreline, play with them, let them run and kick up sand. Bringing your dog to the beach is meant to be fun for both of you; if you focus on that and not on what you forgot or what’s gone wrong, everything else will fall into place.
Sometimes, taking just one dog to the beach can be stressful. Taking multiple dogs to the beach can be especially stressful. But, if you plan ahead and take your time, it can be a lot of fun for the entire family.