Beach Blanket Doggy-Beach Etiquette


By Liz Dodge


Even during the winter, Oregon beaches are a popular destination for dog owners


Most every dog loves a free spirited romp on the beach, and Oregon has many wonderful beaches for your dog to release that free spirit. But…what is ‘beach etiquette’ and what is ‘yahoo! Let them run amuck’?

These days, where they are people on the beach, there are most likely dogs on the beach. Most Oregon beaches will post whether it is an ‘on-leash’ or ‘off-leash’ area. If a sign states on leash, then you’d better comply, or you could be faced with a citation. On-leash beaches are designed to be safe for not only you and others, but your dog as well. Even if your dog has a great recall, others may not, and no one likes to be faced with a charging barking dog, and that in itself will tend to make your dog more defensive, which could ensue in an altercation. ‘Safety First’ is a great motto.

Let’s start in the parking lot. Ack! How many time do I see people just open up their vehicle and let Rover out to run the beach…only he doesn’t run to the beach, he runs to my car, where an ensuing bark fest occurs. And then, the mandatory potty or poo that the excitement has created, all while the owner is putting on their coat. (don’t forget to pick it up too!) Nearly EVERY beach requires you to leash your dog before hitting the beach. PLEASE leash your dog before exiting your vehicle, it’s not only good training, but good etiquette too.


If I could give one BIG bit of dog training advise, it is to NOT use a Flexi-leash. They only encourage your dog to ‘pull’ to get where they want to go.

Yesterday, a man passed me with a very large powerful male Doberman, on a flexi, who by the looks of him, would have loved a bite of my dogs, who I had leashed as we passed him. I could only pray that the flexi would hold him, that he wouldn’t slip his collar, and that my dogs would be safe. A much better option is a harness (holds the whole dog, with no pressure on their esophagus) and a long leash that you can gather when needed, and let drag when you want them to range out.

Off leash areas are abundant—you just need to look, and maybe hike in a little further. Stay away from the city parking lot, head to the edge of town, and find a trail in to a wonderful, uncrowded beach and then let your dog run and enjoy the fresh air, birds, and ocean waves. That’s SO much better than having to fight off every passerby and their barking dog. A list of Dog-Friendly Oregon beaches can be found here.



Top 10 Oregon beaches:

Allowing your dog off-leash requires maintenance on your part. If you see on-coming people with or without dogs, it is YOUR responsibility to get your dog under control and walk by without altercation with them. Carry leashes in accessible places, like a pocket, or tied around your waist. (You don’t want to be digging for a leash, as by then, your dog has most likely taken off to ‘greet’ the others that may not want to be greeted! Be keenly aware of kids especially, many kids are afraid of dogs, don’t make their fear worse by allowing your dog to approach them on their own. Carry dog treats to REWARD your dog when they return to you!

I tend to watch the people…if they walk towards me, they might want an interaction, if they stay far away, leave them to their beach solace and keep your dogs with you.

With more and more people enjoying our beaches with their dogs, it is more and more important that we keep our dogs under control for the enjoyment and safety of everyone.

Liz Dodge lives in southern Oregon,  trains and competes in dog agility with her 5 rescue herding dogs and walks on the beaches almost every day for mental and physical exercise.