Some thoughts on dog whistles

Dog whistles may be one of those things that you buy without giving a second thought to, but with a little consideration you can avoid some annoying mistakes.

What do dogs hear?

It is fairly common knowledge thatdogs can hear generally higher pitches than we can. Still, speaking from experience, the ability to hear higher pitches doesn’t always last – I can’t hear bats anymore.

So this got me thinking, will the same thing apply to dogs? If you train them with a high pitched whistle, come their middle age, will they no longer be able to hear you blasting out?

From now on, I am not going to buy any ‘silent’ whistles, tempting though the idea is.

To warble or notwarble?

When I first got interested in dogtraining, there was a fad to use two whistles, one with a constant tone for most commands, then a referee’s type whistle complete with pea to warble. This second whistle was LOUD and supposedly used to act as a STOP! signal.

However some very good advice seemed to be, never use a pea in a whistle for a dog, because you will spit into the whistle and the pea will swell and get stuck. The other problem is struggling with two whistles when the pressure is on.

What about abuffalo or stag horn whistle?

One great thing about these types of whistle, is that the tone can be quite distinctive. There is much less chance of losing your tone amongst the whistle blasts of your companions (not always a consideration if you shoot with only a couple of friends or alone).

One drawback is that they may be more susceptable to problems with change in tone due to weather variations.

What do I use?

I use a standard plastic whistle, normally an ACME 210 and a half. The advantages that I can think of include that I can buy a replacement with a minimum of fuss, there are few problems with weather or spit, and being non-adjustable I am not going to accidentally adjust it away from the tone that the dogs are used to.

Would I be temptedby anything else?

I must confess to a slight hankering after a staghorn or buffalo horn whistle, but only because of the individuality of each piece. If I had one, it is ten to one I would be back with my plastic ACME 210.5, black, replaceable dog whistle before the first day was out.

I have searched for some more examples online, and here are some demonstrations or other views on whistles.

  • Intensive Dog Training | Gundog training tips – how to use … – Gundog training tips – how to use the whistle – Gundog training tips – how to use the whistle Top gundog trainer Ricky Moloney shows how to use a whistle to get the best out of your dog. Ricky Moloney runs Ribblesdale – An interesting and informative demonstration of whistle use

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