I think many of us are reminiscing about places we have visited, longing to be able to travel and have more adventures again. As a Phoenix native, I have been dreaming of spending time on a beach, packing up the pups, having fun digging in the sand, splashing in the water and relaxing.
This made me think about the last few times we visited California. Of course we had to check out the dog friendly beaches in each city but I had some anxiety since I generally dislike dog parks and all the rude interactions and bully play I see when I am there. I have to admit I was really surprised to see happy, engaged dogs and their parents as far as the eye could see. There were a few very minor altercations with the resident “bully” (and by bully, I am not necessarily referring to bully breeds, just dogs acting like complete meatheads!) looking for trouble but the dogs sloughed them off easily enough and they moved on without incident. Wow! Why was the beach so much better than the dog parks and day cares I have visited?
I have a few ideas. First of all, there is endless space. Dogs can get away if they want to and do their own thing. No one was cornered, felt trapped or ganged up on. How lovely is that?
I also noticed almost immediately that the dog parents were very engaged with their dogs. Most of the time when I visit dog parks I see the humans in one big group having social hour as their dogs run wild. The dogs go looking for something to do and sometimes those ‘things to do’ are not in their (or another dog’s) best interest. At the beach, people were swimming with their dogs, digging holes with them, running with them, playing Frisbee, etc. And because the humans were so closely involved with their dogs the Frisbee (and balls) were rarely an issue. Wow!
Because the people were so engaged with and relevant to their dogs, if there was any kind of issue (like an older terrier mix who was trying to boss a shepherd puppy running around having a great time), the parents were right there and intervened immediately before anything could even get ugly. Very casual, very cool, just aware and redirected their dog back to them. Wow!
It was really fantastic to see all kinds of dynamics with so many different types of dogs having fun, being appropriate and respectful with one another but my favorite thing was to see so many people who were having SO MUCH FUN with their dogs! How cool is that?
So when we start planning new adventures with our pups again and if you think your pup might enjoy playing in the sand and surf, you may want to consider a trip to a dog friendly beach. It might be the most fun you OR your pup have had in a long time.