In this article we analyze why the whistle can help us train dogs and what are the pros and cons of this tool.
The whistle is one of the most used tools in dog training. The basic idea is to use it to attract the animal’s attention, even at long distances, by taking advantage of its well-developed hearing. We present in this article the pros and cons of the dog training whistle.
What is the dog whistle?
As its name indicates, it is a whistle specially designed for training dogs. Being able to hear certain frequencies that are imperceptible to us, the sound of the whistle can only be picked up by dogs.
It happens because their hearing is able to detect frequencies ranging from 20 kHz up to 60 kHz ; we can hear frequencies only up to 20 kHz. In general, ultrasonic dog whistles emit waves ranging from 25 to 55 kHz, which is why we are unable to hear them.
Nonetheless, one of the curiosities about the dog whistle is that it was originally made for humans. In mid-1876, Sir Francis Galton invented this device in order to test the limits and hearing ability of the human being. Back then the whistle consisted of a small brass tube and a tab.
Moved by his natural curiosity, Galton decided to test the hearing of other species with his invention . He noticed that dogs, especially smaller breeds, responded quickly and effectively to the frequency emitted by his whistle.
Benefits of the whistle for dog training
Many owners wonder about the actual benefits of using the whistle to educate their dogs . Clearly one of the most obvious benefits is the ability to attract the animal’s attention even at great distances and when eye contact cannot be counted on .
Before starting the training sessions, the dog must be taught to respond to his call and let him concentrate on this activity. To do this, the first step is to bring him closer and make him pay attention to our commands.
In addition, if your dog strays too far during walks, the whistle helps to control him better. In other words, the animal will find the owner more easily by feeling the vibrations emitted by the whistle .
Another important advantage of the dog whistle is that it is a very simple to use, lightweight and easy to carry tool. It is therefore very practical for outdoor training sessions.
It must be made clear that the whistle does not cause pain to the dog , as it simply emits a frequency that is perceived by his ears, but not ours.
How to choose the whistle for training your dog
As with humans, not all dogs have the same characteristics and hearing abilities . Some breeds are more sensitive, such as the border collie or the German shepherd, which is why they typically respond to the whistle almost immediately.
It will therefore be essential to choose the whistle that best suits the needs of your best friend. It is important to consider the following fundamental characteristics to choose a good whistle:
- Resistant materials : it must have a rigid structure, made of resistant materials, of good quality and washable.
- Continuous sound emission : the whistle must emit sounds that do not radically vary according to the different ways in which the user blows.
- Clear vibrations : the emitted frequencies must expand over a minimum distance of about 200 meters in outdoor environments.
Get your dog used to the new whistle
The first step to using the dog training whistle will be to get him used to its sounds , similar to when you start loading the clicker . This must be done in a quiet and safe place for the dog to concentrate more easily.
Then the whistle will sound and a treat will be offered to the dog (a biscuit, for example); this step will need to be repeated for about 10 minutes. The aim is for the dog to associate his reaction to the whistle with something positive, which results in a reward for him.
Finally, to find out the frequencies to which the dog is insensitive, just blow the whistle very softly while the animal sleeps . Frequencies that do not cause the slightest reaction will not be used to train the dog, as they are imperceptible to his hearing.