Tips for fun at the off lead dog beach

With Brisbane’s lovely warm days, cool mornings, and long twilights, a trip to the dog off lead beach is an ideal way to enrich our dogs. Here are some tips to ensure you and your dog enjoy your next trip to the dog beach.

Tip 1 – Ensure EVERYONE is having fun

On the dog beach, there are several interests we need to consider – dogs and people. Everyone has the right to feel safe and use the beach in their own way, even if they don’t have a dog.

Get to know your dog’s preferences when it comes to interacting with unknown dogs and people and plan your beach visit accordingly. For dogs who prefer their own company, then choose a location and a time when you and your dog have plenty of space away from others. Please speak up on your dog’s behalf if another dog approaches and ask their person to move the dog away.

For social butterfly dogs who enjoy meeting other dogs and people, please check in with others on the beach before allowing your dog to approach and greet. If a person or dog does not want to meet you and your dog, then please respect their request and move on. When your dog does greet others, please ensure you have taught them to greet dogs and people respectfully. No one appreciates a dog jumping all over them or their dog.

Tip 2 – Brilliant recall

For any off lead activity, our dogs need a brilliant recall. That means, that when you say the dog’s recall word, the dog stops what they are doing and returns to you immediately. A recall is even more important on the beach because it is normally a larger space and includes distractions like water, birds, dogs or horses.

For our dogs’ safety on the beach, we want to be confident in their recall around distractions. You can easily do training “set ups” with distractions at home or a safe enclosed area to prepare your dog for an off lead beach visit. Set up items that your dog will find moderately distracting in the area. Moderate distractors could be a toy, a family member, tennis ball or an empty food bowl. We want our dog to notice the item but not be so drawn to it that they can’t come to you when you call. Ask your dog to recall past the distractors and reward them lavishly for coming to you. As your dog’s confidence grows increase the level of distraction.

Tip 3 – Observation skills

This final tip for a fun visit to a dog off lead beach is for the human taking a dog to the beach. This particularly applies if you allow your dog to greet other dogs. As the person responsible for the dog, we need to be masters of observing dog body language. When dogs are interacting with each other and other people, we always need to be checking that that dog is comfortable and relaxed. If our dog or another dog is showing signs of becoming overly excited or fearful, then we need to step in and diffuse the situation. This is where a solid recall is really important, so you can quickly and safely remove your dog from a situation that may become volatile.

Teamwork Dogs offers small group classes for puppies, adolescent and adult dogs on Brisbane’s northside. Our courses cover basic skills including teaching a reliable recall with distractions, polite greetings and walking nicely on lead. Our trainers also cover topics such as reading dog body language, intervening if your dog becomes over excited or fearful, and tips for advocating for your dog around other dogs.