Any time you hear about a dog whistle, you probably think of the silent types of whistles that only a dog can hear. While it may be silent to you, a dog can actually hear the sound, which makes it an effective training tool. Believe it or not, a dog whistle can be a variety of sounds ranging from one that a human cannot hear to one that sounds just like a whistle that you make with your mouth.
When used in a positive, responsible, and consistent manner, a dog whistle can work very well. It’s a great supplement when training your dog and can be made from almost any material including plastic, metal, and wood. Plus, you can even find handy apps on your smartphone with them.
It’s common for a dog owner whose pup primarily stays indoors to use a dog whistle sound to prevent making a noise that can disturb other family members, roommates, and neighbors. Dog whistles can also be used to recall dogs who have wandered off too far when you have a large property, the psychology behind this works much in the same way as an invisible dog fence. Remember that consistent training is more important than the whistle itself if you are looking for long-term effectiveness to encourage or prevent certain behaviors.
How do dog whistles work?
When it comes to a dog perceiving and responding to sounds, it depends on its size. Humans can typically hear sounds that are at frequencies up to 20 kHz. A dog’s hearing will range from between 40 and 60 kHz depending on his age, size, and breed. In comparison, an ultrasonic dog whistle will vary between 23 to 54 kHz.
A dog whistle works in a similar way to other training methods where a dog is trained consistently to respond to a certain sound or direction. Just like clicker training, rewards-based training, bark collar training, or vocal commands, however, the dog whistle should be used as a supplement or secondary training method and not as the primary one.
Remember that while a dog will be startled by an ultrasonic frequency, a dog will really only respond reliably to whistles through training and familiarity. So it’s important to remember that with a dog whistle, there isn’t any intrinsic quality to the sound a dog whistle makes that can make a dog stop barking, return from a long distance, or sit. The way your dog will respond to a dog whistle will entirely depend on what you have trained him to respond to.
Types of Dog Whistles
There are a variety of dog-whistle types that can make all kinds of unique noises as well as need a different skill to use. You’ll also see them in different shapes including oblong, megaphone, or shepherd’s whistles that can further tell you what their frequency and sound will be.
Silent Dog Whistles
The most commonly thought of dog whistle, a silent whistle is silent to a human. These whistles can be adjusted to several frequencies to fit with the hearing capabilities of different dogs.
Whistles With A Pea
These are whistles with a little ball or “pea” inside that will vibrate up or down when you blow into it. The pea in the whistle can make different trills or sounds that can help you when you are teaching a dog several different commands.
A pealess whistle is used mainly in cold climates due to the pea freezing when it is mixed with your saliva. Keep in mind that these whistles will produce fewer sound variations than the whistles with peas.
Similar to whistles without a pea and with a pea, dual-tone whistles are capable of producing different noises. Remember that the whole reason you are using the whistle is to get his attention. Plus, a dual-tone whistle can make two different tones that you can use for two separate commands.
If you only need one of the tones, then you should test out which your dog will react to better by using the wake-up method. With this method, you test each tone while your dog is asleep. The one that wakes him up immediately is the right one to use with training.
Should you use a silent dog whistle?
A dog whistle can be a great tool if used correctly and sparingly. Remember that there are differences in how a dog hears based on its size and age, and, if you have several dogs in your house, you may need different whistles for each dog. Also, remember that you need to use the whistle consistently.
No matter what the whistle’s intended function is, it will not be an instantaneous fix to your dog’s behavior problem. Use a whistle sparingly, only use it in a short burst, and never blow the whistle right into your dog’s ears.
Any type of dog training, whether it’s to teach your dog maneuvers or stop a behavior, will be counterproductive when it is misused. Also, the overuse of any dog whistle can create apathy, aggression, or resistance over time.
How does a dog whistle affect a dog?
A dog whistle can be an effective way to startle a dog, which makes it a useful tool in training your dog in certain maneuvers or to stop certain behaviors. Just remember that you only want to startle your dog and not hurt him with loud blows or continuous whistle blows that are annoying as well as painful to a dog.
Do dog whistles stop dogs from barking?
Dog whistles can be used to stop certain behaviors as long as you provide the right training. After you are able to determine what is making your dog bark frequently. Some dogs will respond to distractions like a toy in order to stop their barking cycle while others respond positively to whistles.
Whistles emit a sound that isn’t pleasant to your dog with a sound ranging from 23 to 46 kHz, which can make them a great way to help your dog stop his barking habits. Have a whistle ready for whenever your dog encounters his trigger and begins to bark. Also, have treats on hand to provide positive reinforcement so that he will associate not barking with the treats.
The most recommended whistle-stop training method is to initiate your dog’s barking if it’s not happening on its own. So, if he barks when the doorbell rings, have someone go up to the door and ring the bell. As soon as your dog starts to bark, blow on your whistle making just one sharp sound. Do not make lengthy or repeated whistles, you want to distract him enough that he stops barking, not annoy him.
Make sure you praise your dog when he stays quiet or quiets down quickly, and also give him a treat. a tasty goodie. If he does not stop barking, however, blow the whistle again to startle him into stopping. Repeat this process and remember to be consistent. Your dog will eventually associate barking with the whistle’s unpleasant sound.
Are dog whistles cruel?
Used for many decades, a dog whistle can be an effective and safe tool to teach puppy hunting and herding maneuvers. Also used for positive reinforcement, dog whistles are also used to tell a dog to stop doing something. How safe it all depends on your dog and how he responds to it.
You may find that some whistles don’t work with your dog and aren’t effective training tools. Whistles are also not recommended for skittish dogs since they can make them more fearful. Remember that you should only use a whistle in moderation with your dog and along with a good training method.
Do ultrasonic dog whistles work?
Ultrasonic dog whistles are used during the final stage of training a working dog like a hunting or shepherding dog, so we know they do work. Ultrasonic dog whistles are effective at signaling dogs and not alerting the game they are after. They are also useful when you need to recall a dog like a police dog and shepherds over a long distance.