If you are new to Dog Beach it may be best to first take a moment to watch what others are doing. Don't just rush your dog into an unfamiliar situation.
Observe the scene around you. Take a mental note of how other dogs are behaving. Are they aggressive or friendly? Are they running in packs? A new dog will not like being thrust into the middle of other dogs that are playing ruff. See what I did there? Punny isn't it?
Where to start with a new dog?
When you first walk up to Dog Beach from the parking lot you will see the waves to the West and a bike path with the San Diego River beyond. Go to the river. You can either walk along the bike path to find a trail or just cross what can only be described as the sand dunes where you'd expect to run into C-3PO and R2-D2.