Off-leash etiquette

It’s amazing the variations of people you’ll come across at an off-leash dog beach these days. It’s come to the point where when a child asks “Is he friendly?” that it’s directed at the owner of the dog or dogs. 

I’m not even kidding. So, a few things for other people to consider when they are at a dog beach. With or without a dog.

Firstly, of all the hundreds of kilometres of stretch of sand across the entire coast, I’d estimate about 8 per cent of it is an off-leash dog area. 8 per cent. 8. If you don’t want to be approached by friendly dogs, perhaps go sunbake or picnic on the other 92 per cent. Don’t go yelling at owners when a daschund jumps across your face or a retriever dives into your hot chips. Both these things have happened to me and while the owner is apologetic, all I can do is laugh and respond with “I’m the one at a dog beach. Really, it’s ok.” 

Secondly, don’t take your dog to an off-leash dog beach if you don’t want it to socialise. Take it for a walk elsewhere. I’ve been yelled at plenty if times when Oats tries to play with other dogs, despite the fact they’re getting along great. Oats doesn’t bark, bite or steal toys. He just chases and licks. “Is this one yours? Can he get away? Call him. Get him away from me.”

It’s a border collie. Not a crocodile.

It’s just so strange how reactions are so unpredictable. I threw a ball which landed about 2 metres in front of a middle-aged couple without a dog and while I apologetically raise my hand, they proceeded to snap at me. I’m sorry I don’t play for the Diamonds. We can’t all aim perfectly.

And, never mind the massive air show they caught when Oats leaped 3 metres into the sky to catch the ball on the fall. A move he’s performed many times before in front of others who have been amazed and applauded. After all, it’s moments like these which can make a person’s day!

So, next time you attend an off-leash dog beach, be mindful of other people and other paws, and just enjoy it! And if you can’t do that, then consider leaving us happy dog owners alone on our 8 per cent and go take a stroll on the other 92 per cent.

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