A Day at the Beach
From the title, I'll bet some or many of you were expecting to see pictures of a beautiful GSD at the beach, weren't you? Nope. I just want to relate several things about our trip yesterday and hope for comments, even from some of the hypercritical advanced members who cause so much consternation on this board.
We wanted to see the beach for the first time this year as the wind forecast seemed to suggest it would be reasonably calm and the wife wanted to take the dog. We should have known better. The March April period always seems to make fools of weathermen and it was blowing like a tropical storm almost when we got there.
We had Zeus (19 mos.) with us and he's grown into one indisputably beautiful animal. He endures the 1.5 hour drive pretty well as soon as he realized we weren't headed directly to the park where we often walk him for hours and, instead, going to places unknown.
But as soon as we got there he was pretty raucous, wanted out in the most desperate way and was bit uneasy on the leash. We decided to lock up the car and walk him first while tossing a ball or a Frisbee to take some of his energy out of him. We didn't want to have to deal with a rowdy dog while we tried to erect our sun shelter in the stiff wind.
It was about 11 a.m. on a Sunday and the beach was only sparsely attended by other visitors and vehicular traffic was light. So, we could walk Zeus a bit to get by an encampment and the have plenty of space to throw a toy with him. It worked out well but for the fact that Zeus on only his second visit to the beach wanted to drink the salt water.
Some years ago I took a black lab we owned to the beach and let him roam a bit before realizing that he'd drunk a lot of salt water. I put him in the folding crate we'd brought to stop it and gave him fresh water which he too drank profusely (due to his previous consumption of salt water, I surmised). Then we set up camp for the night, put a mosquito net over his crate and went to bet.
The next morning he was in pretty bad shape and was having trouble urinating and seemed in pain. It took several days back at home for him to return to normal. So, we learned our less and applied to Zeus - NO DRINKING SALT WATER, PERIOD.
We did encounter several other dogs on our walk, mostly they were small and leashed and most of the owners who saw Zeus coming quietly and without ceremony moved their dogs into their tent, onto the bed of their truck or to the other side of their vehicle so the dogs didn't interact.
Zeus is not allowed to be dog-reactive so all went well even though some of the other dogs ultimately spied Zeus and raised a bit of a ruckus. We don't hold it against other dogs. They've just doing what dogs would ordinarily do if not trained. We just walk on by and admonish Zeus with an occasional "easy".
I also wore the T-shirt I've shown on this board (to the great revulsion of some of the more knee-jerk members of the board, especially the "titled" aristocratic, busy-body members) which warned folks away from our dog. One could see a visible expression of wariness on the part of the dog-owners as we approached and a visible expression of relief when we had passed by the first time and then again on the return trip.
I don't care what anyone here says, that T-shirt helps avoid dog-on-dog confrontations. I'll wear it regularly when my Zeus is expected to be near unfamiliar dogs. It works as designed.
Several people were taken with Zeus' conformation and good looks. One young woman, perhaps in her late teens, even on sight of Zeus loudly exclaimed, "Wow, that's the most beautiful dog I've ever seen in my entire life." I straighten up and strutted proudly until the wife reminded me that there was a high probability that such a young woman said similar things to a scrawny, pimple-faced and pot-marked human she called "my boyfriend". Oh, well.
When Zeus was quite young I used a fishing pole and a cork in the same way some use a flirt pole (I'd not heard of that at the time) to increase his prey drive. So, when we tried to fish in the surf he went crazy crying and straining at the leash.
Now, I wish I'd never taught him that.
We saw only one problem act on the beach with dogs. About two or three cars down a family, a large drunken family, seemed to have two or three puppies on the beach unleashed. But there was persistent big-dog barking from somewhere amongst them.
One of the pups seemed like a GSD so I walked down there to see him. He was but six weeks old and they said they'd had him since he was 5 weeks old and had just stopped bottle feeding him. Then I saw two pit-bulls in a single crate barking their heads off.
Concerned at the viciousness of the pits, seeing the puppies at large and fearing they'd let the pits out I returned to my camp, put on my sidearm and then proceeded to shut the camp down and leave. Those two in a pack would have been very bad trouble for my Zeus.
In the end, the wind and my concern for the pits drove us off the beach and back on the road home. Zeus was exhausted from a day in the sun and slept the whole way back.
Next year we need to wait until May, I think, to try the beach scene.
Got any beach stories?