Dog whistle training is not a new trend in pet training. In fact, this method had been used by shepherds long before whistles were invented. This may be the best option for dog owners who have problems using verbal commands to train their dogs. There are two ways to resolve the problem. The first option is clicker training and the second option is dog whistle training.
Dog whistle evolution
The use of whistles to call a dog’s attention has been used for centuries. Shepherds have employed different kinds of whistle commands to instruct their herding dogs. Even hunters use hunting dog whistle commands to gundogs providing pointers and the right direction from a distance. They use their lips, tongues, and lungs to create the natural whistling sound.
Aside from the ordinary dog whistles we see nowadays, we also have a different type of whistle with a specified range of hearing. The emergence of silent whistles then came in the 21st century. Silent whistles are created producing sounds in the 23,000 to 45,000 hertz range which is beyond the human range of hearing. This means that the blow of a silent whistle only sounds like a passing air for humans but a sharp tone for canines. That being said, responsible usage of the device should be strictly considered.
How does a dog whistle affect a dog?
What is the dog whistle used for? Training your dog can be exhausting. It is perhaps the reason why dog owners would resort to using dog whistles. It can be used on dogs to:
- Tell him to ‘come’
- Get his attention
- Respond to different commands
- Stop unwanted behaviour
- Provide an alternative to verbal commands
How to introduce dog whistle training?
How do you train a dog with a dog whistle? First and foremost, you have to decide on which whistle sounds correspond to what particular commands. The following are things to remember:
- Adjust the pitch for different cues. For example, a long whistle can be used as a sign to sit and a short blow signals for him to sit.
- It is best to keep a recording for the consistency of commands.
- Every successful response to whistle commands should be rewarded with a treat.
- Keep training until the desired result is achieved. Once accomplished, gradually stop giving treats.
Firstly, use the verbal command which should be followed by the whistle cue. Then, reward him with a treat. The most important thing is to use whistle commands consistently.
Dog whistle cues
For beginners, it is helpful to introduce dog whistle cues with hand signals. Here are some suggestions you can use as a guide either in normal or silent whistles:
Signal: Three long/quick hoots (whichever is desired)
When you wish for your dog to come to you from a distance.
Signal: One long hoot
The ‘sit’ command or the ‘stop’ whistle will give you full control when trapped in an undesirable situation. However, this can be challenging as it is often perceived as an ‘unpleasant’ command in your dog’s perspective. His entire focus may be set either to hunt or retrieve and the last thing on his mind is to follow your command.
Start training within close proximity to your dog. You have to establish how rewarding commands can be before it can be applied even from a few yards away.
Pros and cons of dog whistle training
- Dog whistle training can be a very effective strategy used in obedience training. It serves as a Pavlovian conditioning where the whistle is associated with various cues including the ‘stop’ command for undesirable behaviours.
- You can be creative with your commands where only you and your dog can understand.
- It allows you to call its attention and give commands even from a distance.
- The success of this type of training also depends on your dog. There are some dogs that easily learn with whistle commands. Unfortunately, there are others that simply cannot recognise whistles for various reasons. It may be because of the pitch which may not be unique enough for them. As for whistles, its hearing range is adjustable. There are times when it is not properly ‘tuned.’
- When not properly introduced, it can be perceived as a punishment which may render the training ineffective.
- Dogs with traumatic experiences tend to be fearful of whistles.
When introduced in moderation and reinforced with positive training, there is no doubt that dog whistle training can produce positive results. Check out more training tips and tell us what you think in the comments below!