A dog whistle is a unique high-pitched whistle used to train puppies and adult dogs. Anyone can use dog whistles to teach various commands, and they can carry over long distances. They also make a special sound that gets your dog’s attention when you use it. Most people misuse dog whistles, so we will show how to train a dog with a whistle the right way today.
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What Does a Whistle Do to a Dog?
A dog whistle captures a dog’s attention quickly. When a dog whistle is blown, it makes a sharp sound audible to a dog from very far distances, making it great for outdoor use. It is great to use when running with a dog, biking with a dog, swimming with a dog, or hunting. A dog whistle will keep your dog near you even with the distractions of the outdoors.
Here is a fun fact. Did you know the dog whistle was accidentally invented? The inventor created the device to help determine the frequency of human hearing. However, the creator Sir Francis Galton discovered that dogs could hear high-pitched sounds, which was how the first dog whistle was born.
Is It Normal to Hear a Dog Whistle?
Dog whistles come in various frequencies, and certain types of dog whistles make a sound at an estimated 35000 Hz. This sound range may be quite low but still audible to humans, but quite loud to dogs and cats. There are also silent whistles that operate at a different ultrasonic frequency that are not audible to humans.
When to Use a Dog Whistle
A dog whistle is best used if you have problems getting your puppy or dog to follow your verbal instructions. A dog can refuse to obey your command because of a stubborn nature or lack of proper training, amongst other reasons. The unique sound from the dog whistle is not common in everyday life, so your dog won’t be used to it and will stop to understand what it is, where it is coming from, and why you decided to use it. Therefore, a dog whistle is a new training tool that your dog will respond to.
Can You Train a Dog With a Whistle?
A dog whistle can be an excellent dog training tool, just like a clicker. However, it needs to be used properly. It is not a magic wand that you can blow to spell your dogs to stop barking, whining, howling, or making them do what you say. You need to train your dog how to respond when you blow it.
See our post on the best dog collar to stop whining and the best training collar for stubborn dogs, if you have a dog with a whining or barking problem that needs immediate attention. You should also see our review of Brain Training For Dogs, a course to help you train your dog to be well behaved.
Unlike a clicker that you can only use at a near distance, anyone can use a dog whistle both near and far distances. Check out our article on clicker training a dog, as clickers have unique advantages. If you have just gotten a new puppy or dog, you should buy both for use with them.
However, your aim of using the dog whistle should be to train your pet to stop their activity and come to you immediately. Your dog should be able to respond to the verbal instruction or command to come, as you can pair that with the whistle when training to speed up the process.
How to Choose a Dog Whistle for Dog Training
Before training the dog with the whistle, you should understand how to choose and buy a good whistle as you can use different whistles in different situations.
As stated earlier, dog training whistles come in various frequencies, so you need to pick the right frequency and stick with that specific frequency.
Also, you will need to decide if you want an ultrasonic audible whistle or a silent whistle. Both will work just fine; however, the audible whistle will allow you to be consistent in your training. It will let you hear the sound so you can use the same pressure each time you blow to prevent your dog from getting confused or misunderstanding your request.
On the other hand, the silent high-pitched whistle will carry over long distances, which can be useful if your dog is off-leash outdoors and nowhere in sight.
Furthermore, you will need to decide if you want a plastic dog whistle or a metal dog whistle. We recommend plastic as metal dog whistles can be quite uncomfortable in cold weather. They can even cause your mouth to peel during freezing weather.
Here are our top four recommended dog whistles you can buy. Any whistle you choose will be good, but we have included multiple options due to varying product availability. We always recommend you always have two whistles with you as it is important to have a backup. Some whistles with a pea in them have been known to freeze after using them for a while in cold weather.
- PetSpy Dog Training Whistle with Lanyard for Dog Recall, Bark Control.
- SportDOG Brand Competition Mega Whistle.
- Acme Dog Whistle 210.5 Black (2 Pack).
- Ultrasonic Dog Whistles Training to Recall, Stop Barking Dog Whistle with Lanyard.
How to Train a Dog With a Whistle
Follow the steps below on how to train a dog with a whistle the right way to ensure your dog responds to your request. If you want to learn the best time to start whistle training a puppy, you can start from eight weeks. You could do the training outdoors or indoors in an empty room, but you should choose a quiet place and be free from loud noises. Also, you should have a lead with you whenever you are conducting the training, as you may need to intervene and correct the behavior until your dog learns.
1. Decide on How to Use a Dog Whistle for Training
The first thing you need to do is decide how you want to use the whistle. For example, the first quick blow could be to get your pet’s attention and make your dog sit or stop the activity. The second two quick blows could make your puppy run to you. One long blow could be to make your pet lay down etc.
2. Learn How to Blow a Dog Whistle and Practice
Blow air into the whistle, but use your tongue to break up the sound briefly. It’s best to practice this when your dog is not near you. You don’t want him to be desensitized to the sound when you are finally ready to begin training.
3. Use a Dog Whistle in Place of Commands
This step is for dogs who already understand and obey your basic commands such as sitting and coming. The next step will be training dogs with behavioral issues that disobey commands.
Now your dog understands the basics; you can replace the commands with whistle blows. Here’s how to do it.
- Start with a command your dog already knows and obeys, such as sit.
- Blow your whistle with your chosen sit signal (one short blow, one long blow, etc.).
- Say the word ‘sit’ immediately after you use the whistle.
- Once your dog sits, give your dog a treat.
- Repeat this till your dog gets the association between the sound and the instruction. You can tell that this has happened with how eagerly your dog responds once the whistle is blown.
- Each time you repeat, give more time between the dog whistle and the verbal instruction.
- You need to repeat this four times on your first training session, about three times for each training session after that, and then no more than three times per week.
- After some time, stop speaking out the command and only use the specific dog-whistle signal.
These same steps (with unique whistle signals) should be applied to all commands you want to give a dog, but train the dog on one command at a time.
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4. Train a Dog From Scratch With a Whistle
If your dog is stubborn or disobedient and therefore not responsive to your instructions, follow these steps with the new silent dog whistle. Let’s start with teaching a dog to sit.
How to Teach Your Dog to Sit With a Dog Whistle
- Start with an easy command such as sit.
- Take out a piece of dog treat and hold it above the dog’s head, so it follows the treat till it naturally sits.
- Immediately the dog is seated, give your unique whistle signal and reward the dog for sitting with the treat.
- Repeat this frequently on different days and in different locations till your dog starts sitting once the whistle sound is blown.
Let’s try another command. This command explains how to get your dog to come to you anytime.
How to Use a Dog Whistle for Recall
- Wear your dog a very long leash. See our post on how to train a stubborn dog to wear a leash if your dog is not trained on leashes.
- Spend some time having fun and playing some games with your dog.
- When your dog is a bit far from you, call your dog to come.
- Once your pet starts coming towards you, give your unique dog-whistle signal.
- When your dog gets to you, shower with affection and a treat, the treat must be high-value and mouth-watering, so your dog drops everything to come to you for it.
- Repeat this in multiple sessions as before, but in different locations.
- Your dog will begin to build the association that the sound of the whistle means joy, fun, and treats and will happily run to you when you use your whistle.
Let’s take one last command to stop barking. You can teach this after your dog learns the first two previous commands.
How to Teach a Dog to Stop Barking With a Whistle
- Blow the whistle with your signal to get your dog’s attention.
- Give the command immediately, for example, ‘quiet.’
- Wait a few seconds to ensure your dog complies with the command.
- If your dog stays quiet, acknowledge with a word like ‘Good Girl’ and give a treat.
- If your dog starts barking again, blow the whistle and repeat the command.
- After a while, stop using the instruction completely and only use the whistle.
- Repeat the training as explained in the previous steps.
Finally, be conscious of how your dog reacts to the sound of the whistle. If your dog is particularly disturbed by loud noises, blow the whistle quietly when using it.
Why You Need to Start Training Your Dog With a Whistle From Today
You must train your dog with a whistle, as it will help to keep your dog safe when outdoors. The outdoors is full of lovely sights and smells, and dogs can get very distracted.
Proper training with a whistle on the basic ‘come’ and ‘sit’ commands will ensure you can get your dog to return to you at once, even with distractions. It will also get your dog to immediately stop and turn if there is danger nearby, such as traps.
See this video on training dogs with a dog whistle for more information and insights.
Dog trainers can use dog whistles to train dogs on basic and complex commands. Whistles are essential when outdoors and could help keep your dog safe. When training, you should be patient and repeatedly practice, as not all dogs will learn from the first session.
You also need to choose a good whistle at a frequency that you like and stick to that frequency, so your dog can recognize your specific whistle wherever your signal comes from. Always have two plastic whistles with you at all times to avoid disappointment.
Finally, decide on your whistle signals and practice using them away from your dog. Once mastered, start using the whistle in your dog training sessions. Be careful not to overuse the device. After your dog has learned to respond properly, only use it when needed.
That’s it. Go out there and start using our techniques on how to train a dog with a whistle from today! Don’t forget to share this dog whistle post with all your friends. Your shares keep us going.