Waves of Anxiety

Ever since Cabana got career changed at the end of November, I've looked forward to taking Cabana to the off-leash dog beach. I envisioned 20-30 dogs of all sizes and breeds, dashing and splashing in the surf--what could be more fun for Cabana? The off-leash beach is only about 20 miles from our house, but the winding road makes it take almost an hour to get there. We took advantage of a non-rainy day last week--but the outing was not quite what I had hoped for....

It was foggy, as is the case 95% of the time at the coast, regardless of season. The beach was absolutely deserted, alas no doggies for Cabana to romp with. But I had already paid the $7 parking fee (except I paid $8 for reasons too long and complicated to go into in this post), so I decided to proceed as planned.

Cabana amused herself by trying to drink the ocean water.

cabana standing in the ocean, nose down in the water, front paw up, with red lead line attached to her collar, waves are coming in behind her"Look at all this water! Can I drink it? Ew, salty."

cabana standing in an inlet with front paw up again, mouth open and down to water level, red leadline floating toward camera"How about over here, can I drink this?"

cabana on a sandbar in a large tidepool, mouth open and down in the water, same red leadline"What about here? Water, water everywhere...but it stinks that I can't drinks!"

Notice that Cabana has her long lead on in the photos, even though it's an off-leash beach. That's because I got nervous. What if Cabana tried to go too far into the water, where the tide might pull her out? I pictured myself having to plunge fully clothed into the freezing ocean to save her. Or she might dash up the beach for miles and disappear beyond the rocks. Her recall is getting better--but I didn't want her going rogue on me. Better safe than sorry--except that I COULD have gone to the ON-leash beach with free parking instead of paying $7 or $8 to come to this OFF-leash beach, only to keep my dog ON leash the whole time...dumb!!

cabana standing in the ocean with basset hounds on both sides of herFinally, a few other people and dogs came! Two funny basset hounds, not the most spry of canines--but dogs nonetheless. Some people might like having a beach all to themselves--but not us! With the bassets there, I felt more comfortable about letting Cabana off leash. If there are other dogs around, Cabana stays predicably close to them. Unfortunately, the bassets didn't stay long. After 15 minutes, it was just Cabana and me again--so the leash went back on.

unflattering shot of cabana trotting toward me from the ocean with her mouth open, red lead trailing behindWe practiced recall in the water...."See, Mom, I'm good and I'll come when you call!"

cabana looking sheepish with ocean water up to her knees and red lead tangled around her legs"It's no fun to be tangled up! C'mon, Mom, loosen up already!"

another unflattering shot of cabana as she runs toward me on sand, no red lead this timeOkay, okay. I let Cabana off leash for a little while, and Cabana did a pretty good job of coming when called. Next time, I think I'll have a bit more confidence in Cabana. Maybe I'll even be able to relax and have fun?

Becky  – (March 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM)  

Cabana, you just keep having so much fun! Adam and Natalie take Dahlia to a dog park at the beach and she loves it.

Kari in WeHo  – (March 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM)  

first time off leash with a pup is scary! We still haven't let BC off since we have no idea what he will do!

Alphini's Puppy Raiser  – (March 4, 2010 at 10:20 AM)  

Looks like you managed to have fun despite it all...here's wishing you a sunny day soon so you can try it again, hopefully with more doggy friends!

Erin and GuidePupPompei  – (March 4, 2010 at 10:21 AM)  

I'm jealous!!! But can understand your apprehension about the beach!!

JackDaddy  – (March 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM)  

Ah, very good.

I did the same with Jack on his first 'in the water' experience. Although I thought I was going to have to go swimming when he went out what I thought was TOO far! :)

Samantha  – (March 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM)  

I know how scary the off-leash thing must be the first time, but looks like Cabana did GREAT!!! Great beach - which one??? We go to Limantour quite a bit - should go together!!! The waves looked ginormous!
Hugs xo

OSU 98  – (March 4, 2010 at 8:49 PM)  

I am right with you on being a little paranoid, sista! I went hiking with my friends at a spot called Old Man's Cave, and in a few spots we were really high up off the ground. I had a death grip on Chelsie's leash for fear she would slip over the side...

Can I come be a CC dog in your house??? Princess has a really good life. She looks so happy...I mean, how can you not be happy when you see a look of pure dog bliss like that on her face???

Lauren and Don  – (March 5, 2010 at 4:08 PM)  

Cabana doesn't seem to mind the cold weather! I've taken Don to the beach once, but he wouldn't stop eating the sand- I ended up having him sit on my beach chair.

Good idea to keep a dragline on her- the other day I saw a dog walk really far out into the mud of the bay and the owner couldn't figure out how to get her back!

Cabana looks so happy at the beach. Don is jealous- I'm sure he'd love to join Cabana in tasting the ocean water.

Cassie (and Dagan - cheering Poppy on at GDB!)  – (March 5, 2010 at 5:53 PM)  

Oops - I didn't sign that - Sorry Cabana! Dad rattled something in the kitchen and I forgot what I was doing!


Cassie (and Dagan - cheering Poppy on at GDB!)  – (March 5, 2010 at 5:53 PM)  

Poppy told me I have to be careful at that beach Cabana! If your Mom parks looking at the water and you walk to the water and head left, there are spots at the waters edge where the ground disappears! She said she was SO freaked when she dumped in head first that she refused to go back in all that day. So watch out for the disappearing ground out there!

And, if you go on the weekend, there are tons and tons and tons of dogs out there to play with! We usually don't go on the weekend because of that. But, if your Mom decides to take you on a weekend, let me know - I'm just down the street from there! Well, down a street and over a hill and around a corner... But you have to pass us on the way there. (though we usually go to the free beach too!)

Hi! I'm Sierra-Dog!  – (March 6, 2010 at 1:49 AM)  

Way to go Cabana's momma, off leash is the best! Next time maybe there will be more pups. Wish I could be there!

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