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Tips for Taking Your Puppy to the Beach for the First Time

Taking Your Puppy To The Beach
We've already discussed taking your new puppy to a dog-friendly cafe or restaurant in a previous blog post. However, Taking Your Puppy to the Beach does entail taking a few precautions and important items to make the experience safe and positive. We also share some of our favourite dog friendly beaches.
how to take puppy to the beach
Dog friendly beaches offer a variety of new experiences for a puppy or dog to be exposed to during socialisation.

As a part of your puppy’s early socialisation process, you will want to take it to a variety of different places.

One such place is a dog-friendly beach. We’ve already discussed taking your new puppy to a dog-friendly cafe or restaurant in a previous blog post. However, Taking Your Puppy to the Beach does entail taking a few precautions and important items to make the experience safe and positive, especially if it is your pup’s first time. 

Here are some of our trainer tips that can help you make the process of Taking Your Puppy to the Beach, a more relaxing and satisfying one.

Tips for Taking Your Puppy to the Beach for the First Time

take puppy to the beach vaccination

Tip 1 – Taking Your Puppy to the Beach: Safety First!

taking puppy to the beach
Make sure your puppy has had a minimum of two vaccinations before going to the beach.
  • Check local weather conditions before taking your pet to the beach. If needed, check with a lifeguard about currants and jellyfish. Dogs can be easy targets for sting rays, sea lice, and jellyfish. 
  • Similarly, strong tides can drag the best canine swimmers, so make sure the ocean is calm before taking your dog in.
  • Always limit your puppy’s sun exposure especially if you have a hairless breed or a dog with short fur. If needed, apply some sunblock to your pup’s ears, snout and anywhere that lacks pigment.
  • The cool seawater can seem refreshing to your dog, but don’t allow it to drink too much. Saltwater can be harmful to your dog. Provide your pet with fresh drinking water in its bowl. 
  • Salt water can damage your dog’s coat. Don’t forget to bathe your pet once you’re back home to remove the salt deposits from its fur and skin. 
  • Puppy Immunisation schedule – You shouldn’t take your 8 week old puppy to the beach – they are not fully vaccinated. To protect your puppy from getting the deadly Parvo Virus at the beach, make sure your puppy is fully vaccinated before taking them to the beach. They will need to have had at least their 12-week-vaccination, but your local vet can advise on exactly what is needed before taking your puppy out and about.
  • Consider the best time of day to go to the beach, particularly if it’s going to be a hot day. This is critical, particularly for owners of brachycephalic breeds of dog that can quickly overheat on a hot day. Similarly, if your puppy or dog is easily overwhelmed by sights, sounds, and touch – avoid going to the beach when it’s full of people and activity.

Tip #2 – Taking Your Puppy to the Beach: Get Your Puppy Used to Water at Home

dog friendly beach
The beach can be overwhelming for a dog that is prone to anxiety. Introducing your puppy to water at home can be a helpful introduction.

It is a good idea to introduce your puppy to the water either in your family pool, bathtub, kid’s shell pool or even a garden hose. Some dogs love the water right away while others may get agitated or nervous

Remember, a beach or lake is a far cry from your home pool. The sounds of waves crashing birds shrieking, and the smell of seaweed can be both exciting and overwhelming to an inexperienced young puppy. 

So, make sure your dog is okay on its first beach visit. If it seems nervous or agitated, keep the visit short and try again after a few days.

Tip #3 – Taking Your Puppy to the Beach: Bring Another (Experienced) Dog Along

dog salt water

Sometimes, having another dog that your puppy is friendly with and knows how to swim can help. The experienced dog can show your puppy the ropes. 

Allow your puppy to follow the other dog, but do keep a close watch. Sometimes, watching another dog having fun with the waves can encourage your puppy to try it.

Tip #4 – Taking Your Puppy to the Beach: Introduce your Puppy to the Sea Gradually

beach training puppy
Practise training your off leash recall at home before letting your puppy off leash at the dog friendly beach.

If your puppy hesitates to enter the water, have it walk along the water’s edge on a leash. Never force it to enter the water and do not throw it in.

If needed, bring a ball to the beach and let your puppy chase it along the shallow waves. Make sure to only throw the ball 1-2 feet away from the water’s edge and have your puppy chase it on the receding wave. Once your dog is comfortable, it might want to venture in deeper, but do keep an eye on it.

If your puppy gets scared or anxious whilst at the beach, follow the tips in our guide to calming a dog down.

Tip #5 – Taking Your Puppy to the Beach: Help Your Dog Float

taking your puppy to the beach for the first time
Like dog parks, dog friendly beaches can be places where uncontrolled, large dogs are roaming. Protect your new puppy by ensuring they aren’t chased or attacked by other dogs.

Once your puppy is eager to enter the water, practice some basic precautions such as using a dog vest to help it stay afloat.

A majority of dogs can swim naturally, but some cannot. Most begin a doggy paddle upon entering the water, but if your puppy is only using its front legs, you might want to lift its hind legs to help it float. Most dogs catch on and hold their back ends up.

As always, keep the session short. Too much seawater exposure can damage your dog’s fur.

Tip #6 – Taking Your Puppy to the Beach: Use the Visit to Practice Your Pet’s Obedience Skills 

taking dog to the beach
Visiting the beach when it is quieter, can be helpful if if you’re wanting to proof obedience behaviours that you have trained at home, in a new environment.

A trip to the beach is also a good time to practice your pet’s obedience skills, especially with the different distractions around. An obedient dog is one that has been trained in a variety of environments, this enables them to exhibit good behaviour wherever they go.

Bring your pet’s toys, treats, or chew bones and have it lie or sit quietly at your feet. This is a great way to train the skill of calmness. Calmly reward your puppy for relaxing at the beach, the extra distractions could be challenging, if so, move further away from all the excitement and try the training exercise again. You can also practice ‘Heel’, ‘Come’, and ‘Stay’ commands. Always reward your puppy with praise, play or a treat and encourage your puppy profusely for good behaviour.

Our Favourite Beautiful Dog Friendly Beaches – Sydney

8 week old puppy to the beach
Sydney is home to some of the most beautiful dog-friendly beaches in Australia.
  1. Sirius Cove Reserve – Mosman, lower North Shore
  2. Clifton Gardens Beach – Mosman, Sydney.
  3. Clontarf Reserve Beach – located along the Spit to Manly walking track.
  4. Rose Bay Beach and Dumaresque Reserve – views of Sydney Harbour.

Conclusion – Tips for Taking Your Puppy to the Beach for the First Time

dog friendly beaches sydney

A trip to the beach can be a great way to enhance your young puppy’s social skills. However, it can also be overwhelming, especially for a newbie. So, keep the visit fun and short.

Repeated trips to the beach can soon get your young pup excited about the ocean and make it a bold and confident beach companion!

If your dog is reactive, anxious or generally not calm at the beach, consult a professional canine behaviourist, online dog training course or a dog trainer to guide you further.

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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney
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Hi! I’m Tres! I’m passionate about dog behaviour and training. My dog training methods are effective for all breeds and goals. I have trained dogs for protection, obedience, manners, loose leash walking, crate training and have solved common behaviour problems such as reactivity, barking, separation anxiety and more. Let’s connect, sign up to my free newsletter (above) for helpful tips and upcoming training events.
dog trainer Sydney

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