Jeter: We got on the beach for the first time in 2017 last weekend! We went on Easter Sunday, when the crowd was a bit more sparse than what a typical Sunday crowd would be. New Jersey doesn’t allow dogs on most of their beaches, but there is a stretch of beach on Island Beach State Park where we are allowed to go. It is so much fun – we get to play in the sand, meet new dogs, etc.
Alanis: It also represented the first time I ever went to a beach. It was so relaxing, and so much fun. I didn’t even bark when I saw so many people and other dogs. I guess there is something about the beach that calms everybody down. I even met a new friend – a tiny hound dog mix who came running up to me as I was sitting in the sand.
Jeter: Many people let their dogs go off leash, even though the rules say you shouldn’t. It isn’t a big deal, of course. That little dog was cute…
Alanis: So cute that you snapped at him!
Jeter: Let me explain: Mommy and I walked all the way down the beach, and came back to Alanis and this other dog playing and sniffing each other. I wanted to get in on the action, but I am a little nervous when I meet a new dog 🙁 On top of that, Mommy and Daddy know that I am protective of other dogs in my pack, and I was likely trying to help Alanis, even though they were only playing and sniffing. I have great intentions!
Alanis: As proven by the other dog you met…
Jeter: Correct! There was a much taller version of me walking down by the water, and Mommy brought me to that dog…Alanis stayed behind. When I was sniffing that dog, there wasn’t any snipping or barking. That is likely due to a few reasons: 1) My pack mate wasn’t with me, so I had no need to protect anyone; 2) I was the APPROACHING dog, instead of the dog being approached. I like it better when I get to make the call on whether I want to say hi to you.
Alanis: Everyone knows you are a sweet dog, Jeter. We all have our little quirks…
Jeter: And it isn’t like I actually bit the other dog. I was just a bit “snippy”.
Alanis: I wasn’t fond of the water. I was scared of the waves.
Jeter: Josh was never a fan of the water, either. He wasn’t scared of the wave, but he had no real interest in getting his body wet. Me, however…
Alanis: Jeter loves to run into the water, and even drinks some of the salty crap. Ewwwww!
Jeter: That is still better than running away from the big bad waves, you chicken shit.
Alanis: All I know is that my family was very proud that I handled my beach experience very well. From early impressions, they think I may be a “beach bum” type of dog that doesn’t really have a need to walk on the beach, but loves to lay down in the sand.
Jeter: I loved the walk Mommy took me on. I have never been a Golden that likes to lay in the sand. When I was younger, I played a lot of ball with daddy while Josh walked the beach with Mommy.
Alanis: Why doesn’t our schmuck Daddy let us off leash?
Jeter: He is just a paranoid idiot. He probably thinks a Great White will hop out of the ocean and take us. I don’t care, though – being on or off a leash is meaningless to me.
Alanis: Why were their people sitting in chairs with big poles next to them?
Jeter: You can be so dumb sometimes, girl! They are obviously trying to make it easier for dogs to see them so we can go greet them. Duh. Why else would they just sit there like that?
Alanis: Makes sense now. You are always so good at explaining things.
Jeter: This wasn’t a long beach session, but it was still a fun beach session. Hopefully there are more to come this summer!
Me: We were pleasantly surprised by Alanis’ behavior. She is our “diva dog”, and we were fearing the worst – a dog that would bark at everything, try to run after every dog she saw, and attempt to even steal their toys. She was none of the above. Was she hyper? Of course. But she seemed content with just hanging out. She was excellent with the tiny dog that approached us, which wasn’t too surprising as she is a playful dog. A bit rough, but playful. Jeter has always been a bit more skeptical of other dogs – he needs to be a bit more comfortable before he allows them in his domain. And, again, I think some of it is that he is protective of his pack. Once he sees you pose no threat, he is comfortable.
As for beach tips, just be aware of your surroundings. A beach full of dogs can lead to all kinds of adventures, so make sure you assess the situation – look for the dogs that are loose. Many of them have no intentions of approaching you, as they are off in their own worlds. But if they do, just make sure both your dog and the loose dog are comfortable before you allow them to play and sniff. Don’t assume the dog approaching you is friendly, and don’t assume your dog will act fine around the approaching dog. If you play it right, nobody will get hurt. We have never had a bad dog incident in our years going to the beach, and we have come across many dogs.
You will see that different dogs like to do different things on the beach – some like to chase things into the water. Some like to play chase in the sand. Some like to just lay down and chill out. Some love to take a long stroll with their owners. Just like you enjoy the peace of the beach, the dogs likely do as well. It is an adventure for them filled with enough exercise to knock them out for an evening.