Dogs just love taking their humans to different places. From strolls around the neighborhood to hiking trail adventures, a dog is happiest when he's taking his human somewhere. And one of a dog's favorite places to go has to be the beach. And a way to enjoy your time with your dog is to have fun beach games!
In fact, this speech pathologist's clever pup let her feelings be known clearly when she was dragged home from the beach for dinner. She used her soundboard to say, "Water good. No eat. Play!" Now, that's a dog who really loves her beach time!
You could just take your fuzzy friend to the beach and hang out together, but wouldn't it be more fun to play dog-friendly beach games? We've rounded up 9 fun beach games to help you make the place even more fun for your favorite pooch.
9 Fun Beach Games for Your Dogs
Let's start with what's probably the most popular outdoor game to play with your dog. Try rolling the frisbee along hard-packed sand for a different take on the game. Oh! And use a softer dog frisbee — especially if your pup is new to this chase game.
Doggy Surfing, Anyone?
And yes, that is a thing! There are even dog surfing instructors if you don't feel comfortable teaching your dog to surf on your own.
Ordinary fetch becomes extraordinary when you play it with a floating toy in the surf! Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, you might want to put on a doggie life jacket. In any case, try to stay relatively close to shore and choose a location where the waves aren't too wild.
Find the Pirate Treasure
Bury a favorite toy while your dog is temporarily distracted. Later, tell him to "find the pirate treasure" and encourage him to dig near the spot where it's buried. It's even more fun if you help him with the digging. Wait for the next distraction and bury the toy again. After all, there's no such thing as too much pirate treasure!
You can buy this lure toy, but it's easy to make one with a 3 - 5' length of 3/4" PVC pipe, an 8 - 12' long rope, and a tug toy lure. Make sure the combo is long enough to challenge your dog to catch it, but not so long that you can't control it (or get it to the beach!) Thread the rope through the pipe and tie a large knot at both ends of the pipe. Tie on the lure at the free end of the rope and you're ready to start 'flirting' with your dog.
This toy will help your dog release hours of pent-up energy during even a short trip to the beach. It's also a great training tool that can lead to better impulse control.
Go for a Stroll Along the Shore
Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Take your dog for a stroll along the water's edge and let her explore and sniff to her heart's content. All of those exciting and intriguing scents are sure to stimulate her brain, while the water and sand will engage her other senses.
Practice a Long-Distance Recall
Early morning (before the beach is crowded) is a great time to practice your pup's long-distance recall. Use a 50 or 100-foot leash to teach your dog to come from far away. You can also practice the drop-on recall or a long-distance sit/stay. Just remember to take lots of treats and keep it fun for your pup. He doesn't need to know that he's learning skills that could save his life someday!
Race the Waves
You and your dog can have lots of fun chasing the receding waves together and then outracing the incoming waves.
If your dog has brought his pack of two-legged family and friends along to the beach, reward him with a rousing game of round robin. Spread out in a circle with everyone 20 or so feet apart and your dog in the middle. Take turns calling him and rewarding him with a treat or pats along with lots of praise when he answers the call.
Safety Tips for a Trip to the Beach
Don't let a trip to the beach end with a trip to the vet! Follow these safety tips to avoid problems.
- Try to park where your car will be in the shade when you leave or bring doggie boots. Hot asphalt and a dog's sensitive paws should never mix!
- Use a dog-safe sunscreen on sensitive areas like her nose, around her lips, and the tips of her ears. According to the veterinarians at PetMD, this is especially important for dogs with light-colored skin and short, thin, or white hair. Don't forget to reapply sunscreen after she gets out of the water.
- A sun umbrella and beach blanket will give you both a comfortable place to rest out of the sun.
- Always bring a leash, even on leash-free beaches. You may need to enforce a rest break if your dog is having too much fun! A hands-free leash even lets you do a little beachcombing while staying in control of your dog.
- Don't let your thirsty pet drink from the ocean! Instead, bring a bowl and plenty of fresh water.
- Don't forget the snacks. Your dog will be burning plenty of energy and will need some snacks to tide him over until dinnertime. Otherwise, he might be tempted to try eating that crab he just dug up. Ouch!
- Know the signs of heat distress and be prepared to leave early if your dog is showing any signs that he's getting overheated.
- Always rinse your pet off after time spent at the beach. Leftover salt and sand can both irritate your pooch's skin. Licking sand from between her toes isn't good for her tummy, either!
One of the side benefits of frequent visits to a dog-friendly beach might be less digging in your flower beds. After all, what dog wants to dig in the yard when there's a giant sandbox full of intriguing surprises awaiting his next trip to the beach?
Another perk is a calmer, more relaxed pup who isn't full of pent-up energy. We're all about making sure dogs (and their people!) get enough exercise to stay happy and healthy. Try these fun beach games with your dogs today.
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