This week, we decided to head for somewhere completely different to give Margot a new experience. I can’t remember if ‘the beach’ was on the socialisation list as a location in either ‘Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy’ or Graham Hall’s book I referred to in earlier blog posts. According to the Oracle, some dogs absolutely love the sand and the sea and others don’t. We wondered which side of the fence our pup would be on. It didn’t take very long to find out…
It should have been the postponed puppy play date on the Saturday with my brother and his dogs, but I was paranoid that Margot’s eyes weren’t completely better – G and I agreed that it was better to be safe than sorry.
Heading to the Beach
In the car on the way to the coast, there were times where it seemed as though Margot knew we were going somewhere new and exciting. At other times she lay down and went to sleep… (She is clipped in to the seatbelt on the back seat, I promise.)
First Time on the Sand
Although there was the usual coastal wind to contend with, the skies were blue and the spring sun shone. It was perfect for our first foray onto a sandy beach. Near to the car park on a large grassy verge, there were quite a large number of dogs, both on and off the lead so plenty of distraction for our young pup as we crossed over to find the sand. We chose to walk on the beach where there were fewer people, but on a day like today, it was always going to be busy. Time to practise that recall over and over again then…
Playing on the Beach
It was so lovely to see Margot’s excitement and exuberance at having the freedom to frolic about on the sand. She and P chased each other and there was a bit of interaction with a couple of other dogs. The one in the picture below was very friendly; the other I didn’t get a photo of was a bit too friendly and had to be dragged away by his owner. Still, no actual harm done. As predicted, we had plenty of opportunities to practise her recall and she came straight back 95% of the time. Nobody on either end of the age spectrum – children or people with walking sticks – were approached or jumped on by our pup. I’ll take that as a win.
To start with, Margot stayed very much on the sand and the sporadic piles of shingle thrown up on the beach by the waves. However, it didn’t take long for her to dip her paws into the water, especially when P started to try her hand at skimming stones. Margot would chase them, but never brought any back.
Loving the Water
When the sun shines down onto the surface of the water, the sea always looks incredibly inviting. In reality, it is really cold at this time of the year, but that didn’t stop Margot from running in and out of the waves. Fortunately, there was no complete immersion although she did get very wet.
We had a few concerns when we saw her drinking the sea water – apparently it can cause a stomach upset or diarrheoa even with the smallest of amounts. I remember having mouthfuls of salty water when swimming in the sea as a child. It’s certainly not a pleasant taste so I was surprised Margot would even try it to be honest. Or perhaps having tried it, making a conscious effort not to ingest any more. (Either she didn’t drink very much sea water at all or her stomach has an iron constitution. Another win in my book.)
Once we had all had enough of strolling up and down along the sand, we made for the grassy verge behind the natural sand dunes. At this point the portable water bowl was vital – I’ve never seen Margot so thirsty before and she guzzled the lot. She also has this odd way of lying on the ground sometimes. We call it the ‘Superman’ even though this position is the antithesis of flying. Surely it can’t be comfortable.
If you google taking dogs to the beach, there are plenty of safety precautions to consider: firstly, checking that the beach is dog friendly; looking out for broken glass or sharp objects; discouraging your dog from eating sand and sea water; being aware of the tides and currents if they go into the water; taking great care when walking on a clifftop and protecting your pup from heatstroke. We didn’t have to worry about that last one on this occasion, but I did read a few warnings about washing the salt out of their fur after a dip in the sea. (I think if I’d done the googling beforehand, we may not have ventured that far. But it’s fair to say that we all really enjoyed it, especially Margot, so I’m really glad that her first experience of the Dorset coastline was a positive one.)
In the Forest (again)
Over the weekend we also took Margot back to the forest. Here we came across a six-month old labrador puppy which was much larger than our pup. I couldn’t believe it when the owner said that her dog was a month younger than Margot. It made us realise just how petite she is and that the 25% of miniature poodle in her heritage may well make all the difference. I do hope so – she looks really cute being the size that she is. I’d love it if she didn’t grow too much more to reach her full adult weight. However, I realise that there is still a fair way to go yet. I’ll keep you posted.
Margot Asleep (or nearly…)
‘I had so much fun at the beach. There was so much space to run around on the sand and on the edge of the water. I couldn’t understand why it tasted funny and sometimes it kept chasing me. I do hope we go back there again soon.
I’m still enjoying walking around the open space near our house. The big person walks around the circuit at least twice but I don’t mind because she lets me explore and only calls me over when I am a long way away. Sometimes I watch her walk on ahead to see how long it is before she looks back to check where I am. It’s never that long.’
Next week… more spring fun!
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8 responses to “Dog Blog #21 – At the Beach”
It looks like you had beautiful weather for your beach trip. Blue skies seem to have been few and far between, lately!
It really was the perfect weather to hit the beach! And a welcome break from all that rain…
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As the days get longer early mornings and sun rise will be great for beach trips. Not all beaches are dog friendly in summer so you will have to do some research. Great pictures this week😀
So pleased you liked the photos this week. It was a lovely spring day with blue skies which helped…!
Lovely pictures. We are so lucky to have these great walks on our doorstep.
Hi Kirsten. Good to see you this morning. Patch seems quite tired now! Look forward to seeing you both tomorrow.
Margot and I both enjoyed bumping into you and Patch again too. All that chasing earlier definitely tired her out. See you tomorrow.