Dog whistles

Training your dog can be tiring work. Teaching your dog to understand commands and then respond to them takes real perseverance, particularly when they are off the lead. Help is at hand! It comes in the shape of a dog whistle. More and more dog owners are turning to such a device to help them communicate with their hound.

How does a dog whistle help the owner?

A dog whistle is not something you need when you're walking your dog on its lead. Some dog owners find dog whistles an effective way to call their dogs back from distance when their voice will not carry. Simply put - when your dog is out of sight, you're never out of mind!

How do dog whistles work?

A dog's hearing is very different to a humans. Dog whistles emit ultrasonic sound, undetected by us, but not by our four legged friends. In geek-speak, this means that us Homo erectus hear within a range of between eighteen and twenty kilohertz, where as a dog can hear up to forty-five kilohertz. A dog whistle sounds within a range of twenty-three to fifty-four kilohertz and can be heard as only a quiet hissing sound through human ears.

What type of dog whistle should I buy?

Like most pet products you are spoilt for choice and can find a huge array of dog whistles on the market. They are made from a variety of materials, most commonly plastic and metal. Different dog whistles work on different frequencies.

Among the leading manufacturers are Acme Dog Whistles, well known for their brands; Silent Dog Whistle and Thunderer. Designs range from standard high frequency whistles to combination whistles with double tone and two commands. Other variations include the shepherd's mouth whistle, which is also sometimes referred to as a lip whistle. According to whistle professionals Acme, you need to consider three things when buying a whistle:

  • How hard or easy is it to blow? (Blowrate)
  • How loud is it (Blowsound)
  • What sound or frequency does it have (Blowtone)

Now for a bit of dog whistle history (no sleeping at the back!)...

Traditionally dog whistles were used by both gun dog and herding dog owners as a way of communicating with their dog from a distance. Dog whistles are far more discreet than an owner's voice, plus their sound travels further, making them signal of choice for the working dog master.

Typical dog whistle commands

Sitting (from distance) - a continuous blast, often accompanied with an open raised hand.

Change of direction - two whistle pips and a directing hand.

Calling your dog back - successive whistle pips, often with both arms out-stretched.