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Discussion Starter #1
This is kind of a specific issue, so I'm making a post to see if anyone has some tips for helping my dog overcome his specific fear.

I adopted a pup about four months ago from a shelter, one that was more inland while I live closer to the coast. I love to go to the beach and my dog has seemed to be the perfect travelling, exploring, go-anywhere sort of dog whenever I'd take him on hiking trips or to other parks. But his first beach trip was a disaster. He was terrified and refused to step towards the water, instead trying to scramble up on the sand and get away. I tried to offer him treats and reward him when he went closer to the water, but he wouldn't even take my treats and he was shaking. We left shortly afterward because I really just felt like a jerk keeping him there.

This is the only thing he's shown any hint of fear at, and oddly enough I don't think its water that's the problem. I've taken him on hikes and he's stepped into creeks with running water willingly before, and sprinklers/rain/hoses don't seem to bother him at all. The fear is very specific and I'm wondering what could possibly be upsetting him about the ocean and how I can help him overcome it.

Does anyone have any tips for how to get him over this fear? My friend and I are planning to try and take him out to the beach again this weekend to give it another try, how can I make round two a bit more successful for him?
 

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Hello!

My dogs love to swim, but when they are at the beach, they are a bit sceptical.. They know how to swim in a pool, but they don't understand the waves in the sea.. So they just splash a bit around!

I have some tips on my blog if you are interested:
Puppy Tales Studio | Dog Blog

Hope this helps! Love xx
 

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I would say 'less is more' in this case. Even with 'treat training' we can inadvertently put 'pressure' on the dog by wanting it too bad. So don't 'feel like a jerk', just chalk it up to an 'oops' and don't do that again.
Go back to the beach, and just have fun with your dog, near the beach. If your dog is good off lead, then you can have fun in the waves, and you can toss treats or toys towards your dog but don't deliberately try to entice him closer, just be normal. Wave action can be strong and scary and loud, so you need to let him explore all that on his own, when ready. Just provide the opportunity and plenty of choice to go closer or further away.
 
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Go to the beach and prepare to get wet. If the dog wants to be with you, and you're standing in the thing that scares him, might just get the dog over the fear. Bring a friend if you have to, they can have the dog on leash, see what the dog does when you're in the water.
 

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Hello!

My dogs love to swim, but when they are at the beach, they are a bit sceptical.. They know how to swim in a pool, but they don't understand the waves in the sea.. So they just splash a bit around!

I have some tips on my blog if you are interested:
Puppy Tales Studio | Dog Blog

Hope this helps! Love xx
Perhaps you could include those tips here on the forum? They look like good ones.
 

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If he normally doesn't mind water, it may be the noise and movement of the waves breaking that frightens him. Sometimes the substrate itself even makes a fairly quiet popping noise which some dogs seem afraid of.

We go to the beach often for dogs to swim, and as my dogs also go boating with us, I like for them to have at least a vague idea of what happens when they get in water, how they swim (this is more for my purposes, since a dog that sinks will probably always sink, and I can plan accordingly), where to go when wanting out of the water, etc- so I admittedly view it as sort of a non-option. They don't have to swim when we go to the beach if they don't want, but most of them reach the point where they will at least wade willingly, if not eagerly. I take them with at least one other dog who likes water, new dog on a long line, and wade out with the water-liking dog. Usually the new dog will follow with some encouragement, as everyone's doing it.

A lot of times, we've been walking along the beach before, so the dog may have some familiarity with the environment, sounds, etc. If he's unfamiliar with the beach, I'd probably be inclined to walk him there frequently on a long line, and have fun while getting increasingly nearer to the water. Don't pull him toward it though. If you have access to another dog he likes, this is an ideal place to use them, as he'll probably inadvertently get closer while playing with them more easily than with you.

Do you have an area of the same body of water where there aren't waves? Or with a jetty or breakwater so it's fairly calm? Maybe try there first, so you can eliminate one possible cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for the suggestions. I'm going to try and pick a different beach this weekend, one that is wider and with quieter waves so as not to spook him, if it is indeed the waves causing the issue. The last beach I took him to I chose because few people frequent it and as such it's a popular destination for dog owners, but it is also very narrow and might have made him uncomfortable.

Thankfully I'll have a friend with me too, so I'll see if she can hold him while I step into the water, and hopefully that will encourage him to follow. I am not sure how well that'll work, but it's worth a shot!

I'll post again this weekend with how it went. :)
 

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I don't think you can train a dog to like it or like swimming but you should be able to jut get him to walk near the ocean. I put my Beagle in the ocean once and now he's super adamant about letting me know he's not doing it again but he will walk on the wet sand as long as the waves aren't splashing on him. lol.

Don't force him to walk on the wet sand so soon. Start as far away as you can, maybe a side walk or cement outside the sand area. Then just get closer and closer to it with every walk. Also, try and pick days where the water is calm.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, we took a trip out to a local beach this Saturday, and it went much, much better than the first time. He was nervous, but we gradually approached the berm, stopping every so often to let him adjust and become okay with the situation. We laid out a towel on the berm and sat down and he was able to sit with us (previously, I'd be on the towel, and he'd be at the very end of his leash trying to get further and further away) and eventually calmed down enough to start edging forward and explore on his own. It was a short visit, but I was so proud of him!

What really helped was having a second person there to help me out. When my friend held the leash and I stepped forward and called him over, he was a lot less reluctant and willingly came towards the water. We didn't step in the water, but I figured getting right up to it willingly was a pretty good step. :)

Of all things, he DID learn that he very much enjoys digging in the soft sand and throwing it all over me and my things!
 
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