There are so many resources available when it comes to dog training, from positive reinforcement to dominance training. Every dog has its own way of learning, just as every trainer has their own way of teaching! One tip to effective training is using a training tool. We’d recommend a classic: the dog whistle.
What is a Dog Whistle?
The dog whistle was invented by Francis Galton back in the 1800s and has been effective to this day. It is made from a metal whistle and designed with a pitch undetectable to human ears. Don’t worry, your dog can hear it just fine! Because of its high pitch, the dog whistle is perfect for training a dog in commands.
What Does a Dog Whistle Sound Like?
As it is not designed for human’s ears, very few people know what a dog whistle actually sounds like. People call it the, “silent whistle”, as it typically sounds like a very quiet hiss to the standard human ear. Most people cannot even pick it up at all! To a dog, it comes across as an incredibly high-pitched shrill sound, making the dog want the sound gone almost immediately. This is what can make it an excellent training tool.
What is the Dog Whistle Frequency?
Humans can generally only hear up to 23kHz, while dog whistles have a frequency range of 23kHz and 54kHz. This is the exact hearing range of a dog. Now, because their range of hearing is so high, it is advisable that you try and match that pitch with your voice. This will only make training with the whistle all the more promising. Your pup will learn to recognize your commands, and the whistle, as one.
Do I Have to Use the Silent Type of Whistle?
Where a silent whistle may be more effective at reaching your pup at longer distances, and less disruptive for both yourself and those around you, it is not always useful. If you are less comfortable with the silent model and think it will hurt your dog’s ears, then you can always opt for a higher tone, audible whistle. This one will be louder, even for you, and that way, you will know exactly how it is being heard by your doggo.
How to Use a Dog Whistle
If you choose to train your dog using whistle commands, simply remember that a dog’s hearing is far more powerful than yours. Here’s how you use it. When giving commands, blow lightly on the dog whistle. It should serve only as a reinforcement. Just as you wouldn’t like to have a loud noise blaring in your ear, your furry friend wouldn’t, either. A silent dog whistle works perfectly for this exact purpose. It exudes very little effort, so you do not need to blow too hard or long to get your dog to come to you, or to stop bad behavior. You will only need to blow the whistle in short, sharp bursts for your dog to respond to you.
What Does a Dog Whistle Do?
Dog whistles are high-pitched training tools. By carefully using a sudden, sharp sound like a dog whistle, you can condition your pup to be more responsive to new commands. The whistle works with both verbal commands and hand signals.
Are Dog Whistles Safe?
A dog whistle is perfectly safe, so long as it is used properly. Like any loud sound, if it is used too closely to your dog or if you are to blow into it with too much force, there is the potential to cause harm or pain. If you are uncertain when it comes to using a silent whistle, it would be advisable to consult your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer before committing to this type of training.
When to Use a Dog Whistle
Dog whistles are used for a variety of reasons, and always as a training or command tool. The best time to use a dog whistle is alongside other things, such as positive reinforcement or dog treats.
Whistle Training: Figuring Out Your Commands
The first and foremost thing you need to do when deciding to pursue whistle training is your figuring out your command patterns. Think of whistle training like Morse code. Each command is specific and directly tied to the whistle blow. If you choose to go down the non-verbal route, you must think of your whistle the same as your voice. Don’t worry, you won’t have to learn Morse code just to train your dog! But as Morse code is expressed in a series of repeated, sound-based patterns, it would benefit your dog’s training and growth to look at the whistle’s commands in the same way.
Dog Whistle Uses When Training
Dog whistles are used for all forms of training. It can help herding dogs learn better maneuvers and give hunting dogs more drive to find their prey. It can even train house dogs to stop certain behaviors, like barking at the postman or running away during a walk. The dog whistle’s main intent is to keep your dog’s attention on you at all times. We guarantee it never fails to do that!
One highly recommended style of training is to start with both the whistle and a verbal command. Once your dog begins to understand the whistle, you could phase out the voice command. Now is the time to test your previously decided whistle pattern! Give a short, sharp blast to gain your pup’s attention, then immediately give a command, such as “Sit.”. Once your dog gets the hang of this new ability you have taught them, you can start to give longer pauses between blowing the whistle and calling out the instruction.
Alternative Training Styles
Dog whistles can also be used in alternative training styles. You may be tempted to blow the whistle with a hand gesture, or bribery with a treat. It is not essential to drop the command completely. You are simply using the whistle to grab your dog’s attention before a command is given, or to stop bad behavior in its tracks.
Do Dog Whistles Work?
Many researchers claim that dog whistles have worked successfully for hundreds of years! When coupled with positive reinforcement, you could have a real, stellar pup on your hands. But it is also important to remember that every pup learns in different ways and at different rates. Just like us! So if your furry friend isn’t picking it up as well as you had hoped, don’t stress! This may not be the training style for you. There are plenty of accessible training options out there for you to try, and perhaps ones that are less loud!