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Out and About at the Beach: Dog behavior and proper etiquette

February 25, 2009

I received a request from a writer for the AKC regarding “tips for taking your dog to the beach”. I applaud them for publishing such great information. I say, the more responsible dog guardians are, the more places we will be allowed to bring our beloved four legged friends – We have so many wonderful beaches here in Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Summerland, Carpinteria etc… it would be great to keep those places dog friendly!

Some general guidelines that can help promote a safe and happy time with your dog out at a beach or park are:

  • Use leashes if they are required, and it is stated as such. If it’s an off-leash place, keep your dog off-leash as well. Leashes can cause frustration, fear responses, and even fights. If you aren’t able to take your dog off leash, don’t bring them – Unless you’re sitting stationary “camped” in one place and you’re managing their environment. 
  • Clean up after your pet. Carry proper elimination bags with you. 
  • Bring your dog to public places if they are healthy. If your dog is sick or injured, ask your vet what the best form of exercise should be.
  • Monitor your dog and their behavior. Getting caught up socializing with friends can result in your dog wandering off on their own, or getting into an altercation. 
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Unaltered dogs tend to wander more, listen less, and are often targeted more often by other dogs. Plus, they don’t have much common sense when it comes to reproducing. The last thing you want is to come home with a pregnant dog, or be the owner of the expectant father. 
  • Learn to recognize dog play versus bully behavior. Is your dog being asked to play? Targeted by a bully? Is your own dog wanting to play? Or being a bully themselves? 
  • Be careful of humans wanting to say hello to your dog, or your dog wanting to go say hello to others. This goes double for younger kids. Not all dogs do well with kids – either afraid, or wanting to play. 
  • Bring dog friendly snacks and plenty of water to fulfill those doggy biological needs. 
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on all legally required vaccinations, and that they are licensed.
  • Make sure you and your dog are up to speed with those much needed behaviors you learned in your manners classes. This includes: coming when called, “leave it”, loose leash walking, greeting politely, and dropping things when asked to (rocks are fun to pick up and chew on). If you need help with those, you can attend one of our classes where we teach all of these behaviors. 
  • If your dog enjoys going in the water, make sure they know how to swim. 

Again, I’d like to emphasize, the more responsible dog guardians are, the more places we will be allowed to bring them. Please don’t be that one person that ruins it for the rest of us! 

For additional information on training services for you and your dog, please contact us


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