Who doesn't love the beach!? Cold lapping water that tickles your toes by the shore. Sand gently caressing your steps. The call of seagulls as they search for food. The wind blowing salty fish smells up your nose! My dog, Spenser, loves it so much, I have re-named it "Disneysand" just for him!
There is a very famous beach in Southern California, The Huntington Dog Beach, and it's for people who love to walk on the beach with their dogs UNLEASHED! Oh yeah! You read that correctly. You can let your dog run free. But I knew before I went there, Spenser was going to have to learn "come" or be re-called, and "sit" before I took him so I would have some control. I taught Spenser these commands using treats. He responded quickly and continued good behavior even if he didn't get food at every command. When I was teaching him "come", I added what I call, my farm whistle. I learned to whistle quite loudly using only my tongue and teeth. You can start learning how to do this by using two fingers first. Click here for a Wiki-How article if you are curious.
I just tried to whistle using two fingers but can't do it that way anymore! I don't use ANY fingers. I do a fingerless whistle the way my Grandma Vermillion used to do it. She lived on a farm and would call the cousins in to lunch using her whistle. I would hear it even if I was way down at the creek fishing.
Curious to try? Here is how: Make a real tight smile with your mouth, stick your bottom jaw out, and then put your tongue just below your teeth so it's just touching the very bottom of your front teeth. As you gently blow a little distance is created between teeth and tongue for the sound to come out. I actually feel the outsides of my tongue touching some teeth on the sides too.
Now not everyone can learn to whistle, so a really great trainer taught me to use a hand gesture that a dog could see. Yes, the dog has to be facing you, but something is better than nothing. I taught Spenser a physical command as well. I shake a closed hand very rapidly and he returns immediately. Since that is a very special command he always gets a big handful of treats. If you can't wait to go and your dog isn't great at recall, you can always leave your dog on its leash. But it's so much fun when they run free!
I took Spenser to the beach for the first time in 2009. He was just a pup! Before we went I made sure he was collard, tagged, trained, and all of his shots were up to date. I decided not to let him off the leash until we were on the soft sand. I figured, I could test his recall and also see if he likes the beach at all. When I unhooked his leash, Spenser, shot out like a rocket and ran with the wind. A little nervous I called him back immediately. He responded by turning in a big circle. The unmitigated JOY that dog radiated was palpable! He shot by me and ran back to the water! He played tag with the waves by dashing in and out as a wave tried to get him.
Spenser was living his dream! I could tell he loved it here. He behaved beautifully. Always coming back to me when I called. I remember the first time Spenser took off to chase some birds, and I thought he was going to go all the way to the end of the beach! So without thinking I whistled! He heard and started in his big circle run back to me. The hours of pleasure we have on that beach as Spenser dances around sand, waves, dogs, and people are countless.
As a songwriter, I write from experience. The journey of Spenser on the beach can be heard in every lyric in PBnDeb's song, "Beach." Philip added a lot of fun at the beginning with the car engine peeling out. As you know, dog's love cars! Cars mean we are going somewhere for adventure. Okay, or the Vet. But dogs are eternally hopeful creatures. I am sure that is not their first thought when they get in a car. Throughout the song Philip added colorful layers of fun using clapping, bongos, and lots of other fun instrumentation if you listen closely. We both sang on the song. I am the lead vocals, and Philip is that awesome bass voice your hear on, "I'm going to the beach!"
I decided to capture Spenser at the beach on camera and edit it to our song, "Beach." My husband, Doug, is a wonderful videographer. My Mom, Charlie, is an amazing photographer. So we all gathered one day when Mom was visiting to go to the beach and film it. By that time we had rescued an additional doggie, Bodi, who definitely thinks he is bigger than he is! Spenser and Bodi are great pals, as you will see.
Filming this song was an adventure of love as was editing it. I have created two versions:
Beach the music video. Beach the karaoke version so you can sing-a-long!
Deb's blog is about her journey creating music for children and art for everyone. The art of creation is present everyday.