So, we took the goofy dog to the beach yesterday afternoon. Although there are many beaches in the area that allow dogs ON leash, this appears to be the only one that allows dogs OFF leash. It's located in Venice, which is roughly 20-25 miles from our house. Maybe a bit farther. Anyway, it didn't take us long to get there.
When we got there (about 1:00 or so), it was sorta quiet. A few people/dogs in the dog park area that you have to walk through (multiple gates) to get access the section of the beach that is dog friendly. Thankfully, Lucy strolled on by the doggies getting hosed down (sandy); she was anxious to see what this was all about!
After a hefty crap ("Hey, ma, new place, gotta leave my load!"), we eventually made it to the beach. Most owners let their dogs off the leash from the moment they were inside the dog park; not us. We had NO idea what she'd do.
So, the beach itself. HOT HOT HOT sand. Kinda marshy (definitely not the best section of beach but still lovely); lots of folks with pooches running about with Frisbees, balls, other water toys. Blankets, towels, small beach umbrellas abounded; one set of people even had a small pup tent set up.
We dropped our gear (not much; a few towels, a mat, Lucy's water bowl and a bag of pita chips) and took her on down to the water's edge. She wasn't sure at first but she did eventually walk into the gentle surf and swim around a bit. After a few minutes, we decided to let her off leash and see what she'd do. Well, she basically ran off down the beach, investigating everyone and everything. Thankfully, she did not get into it with any dogs but she also did not listen to her voice commands to come back. We slapped the leash back on her. A little bit later, we tried again; same thing. Frankly, we're not sure if she really just didn't know what to do or if she was truly ignoring us. But, the leash went back on and stayed on. She swam a bit more and then promptly rolled around in the sand. Digging in the sand appeared to be a lot of fun, too.
After about an hour, we'd all had enough. We walked back to the dog park, hosed her off (she did NOT like this part) and then drove into Venice's main drag to stop and have a pint or two at TJ Carney's, dog-friendly Irish pub. Lucy did great there; she loves to people watch (and bird watch and squirrel watch). We enjoyed the two for one drafts.
Lucy under the table at TJ Carney's. I forgot to take my camera onto the beach.
We do think we'll take her back to the dog beach and try again. We mused that perhaps it'll just take her a few times of watching the other dogs to get the hang (sorta like me in Yoga class!) If all else fails, we could probably "pretend" to leave and that'll keep her close by.