I had the dogs at the beach again yesterday; it was a great day, no grouchy dogs, no grumpy owners. Elsa ran and ran and ran; Luke did his normal wandering the beach socializing with everyone. It was a quiet day being that it was a Wednesday and the kids were back in school. The first dog we came across was a Puggle; (Beagle, Pug mix) they are a very popular "designer dog" these days and I see a lot of them. Back in Southern California there were even more than here but out of a handful of dogs at the beach yesterday; two were Puggles. The mix of a Beagle and a Pug look much like a long legged, larger eared pug.
I talked to the first Puggle owner for a while, her boy was a big one, hefty with more of a pug body. We discussed how they look very similar; almost all the Puggles I've seen look much alike. Then another Puggle showed up, he looked a bit different; mostly it was his color. He was not the typical fawn color like a Pug but more a tan/honey color. His body was much leaner, like that of a beagle. But this second Puggle had drive and ball obsession. He had his own balls and his owner had her own Chuck it but it was my balls and my chuck it that he was interested in. I could see that it had become a problem behavior.
We head down the beach and ran into a woman with a stroller; on the beach? I don't know how she was pushing that thing across the sand. She had with her a little girl, maybe two years old and two very boisterous Golden Retrievers. Elsa saw the dogs and ran to them immediately, she really seems drawn to Goldens and completely forgets about her ball while playing with them. I was still fairly far away, the sand is that deep type that is tough to walk in but I could see the little girl and started to worry right away.
It amazes me when people bring small children to the dog beach or park and allow them to wander around. I can't tell you how many people I know who have had their knee dislocated by a brawling pack of dogs. When dogs become totally involved with playing and running you have to keep your eyes peeled. They can run full force into you without blinking an eye; leaving you flat on your ass.
My dogs are kid friendly; but not all dogs are. Many dogs are freaked out by children. One of the biggest issues for me is that the little girls face was directly at dog face level for most of the dogs that were in attendance. I think children and dogs are wonderful together, every kid deserves a dog or two. BUT; there must be a great deal of supervision when it comes to dogs and children. I do not think that babies or toddlers belong at the dog park or beach. I don't think that it is safe, there is simply too much running around in giant balls of dogs.
Even a bunch of very friendly dogs could do a great deal of damage to a toddler wandering around. The Mother of the little girl wisely told her daughter not to open her cookie box while all the dogs were around; which was very smart. But it only takes a fraction of a second for something bad to happen. Toddlers are so wobbly to start with and not at the right level at all for safety. Dogs can get wound up and jump on a child before you can do anything about it.
You could see that the child had no fear of dogs at all; but she also had no hovering from her Mother. I was on edge the entire time we were around the little one. Small dogs were jumping on the little girl and the large ones were speeding by in a big game of chase. One of those big ones was Elsa and I worried that she might slam into the little girl. After a few minutes I grabbed Elsa's chuck it; waved it in front of her and got her attention away from the Goldens. We head off away from the little girl down the beach.
Dogs and children can be wonderful together but there must be a high degree of supervision. Without strict surveillance, accidents happen. Having always had dogs and children we lived with a lot of baby gates and rules. If the dogs were playing, the kids were up on the couch or in another room and that was just with our own dogs. I do not think that small children or babies should be at the dog park or beach. I think it is an accident waiting to happen. There is enough to watch with just your own dogs interacting with strange dogs let alone adding a small child to the mix.