One of my favorite places to go for an impromptu or planned vacation is a small municipality on my island—Hinoba-an—where one finds the most beautiful beaches and sunsets. It is also home to my husband’s family.
Hinoba-an, the Pearl of Negros Occidental, is a very sleepy and tiny municipality in the southern most part of Negros Occidental, Philippines. Bounded on the north by Sipalay City, to the south by the municipality of Basay and to the east by Sulu Sea. My family frequents this particular beach for a number of reasons but really, it boils down to the pristine beaches and impromptu family gatherings.
Because we and various family members have homes there, we can turn up anytime and anywhere unexpectedly and have ready houses, cabanas or rooms to use. On some of these trips, I bring along one of my dogs, either my Doberman or Shih Tzu simply because they are my furbabies and I can. Are they accepted by all? Not really, but they’re well behaved and there are the leashes to keep them in place.
5 Basic Commands That Can Save Your Pet’s Life While at The Beach
Before I even thought to bring any of my pets to the beach, I made sure they were well trained and listened to commands like: drop, stop, lay down, sit, and heel. There are reasons for these commands. Although they are very basic, mind you, if your dog does not understand or obey them, it can mean their lives. You want to go to the beach with your pet with fun and play in mind, not crying in regret and remorse.
When I say this, I don’t drag the O to make it sound like drrrrooooooop. Your dog will ignore you. This is, for me, the most important command while on the beach. Be they puppies or adult dogs, they can pick up stuff on the sand or in the water that they shouldn’t. Again, your pets are animals and as such, they can get attracted to sparkly things, scurrying creatures with pinchers, floaters that may or may not be live, and a whole list of other things one can only find at the beach. If your pets don’t listen to commands, the window of opportunity to save their lives can be very narrow and in that time, they can swallow or pierce a toxic flesh and have adverse reactions you wouldn’t know how to deal with. The beach is far from the nearest vet and in Hinoba-an, vets are two hours away. If they are even there.
Second most important command. Stop is not heel. It is not drop. It means to STOP and when you say it, your pet grounds to a halt, stay where they are and not make a move that may be seen as aggressive. On the beach, there are strange kids and people playing about and undisciplined pets can pull on the leash and run after what they think are moving toys or threats to you. People unfamiliar to your pet may misunderstand and run in the opposite direction. Your pet thinks it’s hunting season pull on the leash, you are taken unawares and get dragged. Worse, you accidentally let go of the leash and pet and runners disappear into the horizon.
(down) with hand signal of palm down, fingers together hovering over head and slowly drop closer to the ground
This is important when trying to calm your dog down from too much excitement or simply to cool them down when they’d been playing under the sun too long. Jerking on the leash or shouting at them is not the way to calm an overexcited and overheated dog as they may start to get anxious (sometimes mistaken as misbehaving), get nervous, salivate and dehydrate faster than the sun sets. Heat strokes have been avoided by this one simple and basic command. Make sure to do this where you can sit under a cool shade.
This one is pretty obvious but many dogs do not know how to do this on the sand. My Doberman in particular, she hates the act of sitting per se, preferring to lay or slouch on the floor leaning against my hip. I made sure she learned to do on the sand because it helps calm her from overstimulation. Also, this gives me time to talk with friends and family while sipping on a cool bottle of water.
While walking on the beach, make sure your pet is leashed. Always. There are no ifs and buts about this. Again, overstimulation means overexcitement and dogs can run after kids and people who may thoughtlessly taunt them. Your pet finds the beach a strange place so they can interpret these acts as a potential threat to their human. Don’t leave room for your pet to react in what may be seen as aggressive behavior. Click your tongue in warning, pull on leash just a little bit to clue them, and then say Heel quietly and in a calm voice. Not only will it help settle them down, keep to your side quietly but always on the defense.
With these commands in place, I have enjoyed each and every trip to the beach with my pets. They are not fully accepted but then again, they are not feared for those who see how behaved and friendly they are no longer feel threatened by their presence. My pets training also guarantees I don’t have to exhaust myself running after them or resent their presence because I could not find the time to relax for fear they may scare or harm someone. With these simple commands, the days on the beach become relaxing, fun and safe for everyone.
JO TANNAH is a wife, mother, and blogger by day, writer by night. It can be difficult to say the least but it is a challenge that keeps her on her toes.
She grew up listening to folktales her father and nannies spun to either entertain the children or send home a message. These narratives stayed with Jo until she finally decided to write them down in a journal way back when she kept one. Years later, going through junk led to finding a long forgotten box and nestled within it was the journal. Reading over the stories of romance, science fiction, and horror that she had taken time to put to paper all those years before brought to light the realization that they were tales she’d never come across in her readings.
The tales Jo write are fictional but all of them are based on what she grew up with and still dreams about. That they have an M/M twist is simply for her pleasure. And she hopes, yours as well.
Jo Tannah can be found at: