How Do Dog Whistles Work?


A Dog whistle is an effective way of training and controlling your dog. Dog whistles work as verbal commands and can be very useful when you need to be in control of your dog from a long distance. Generally when we talk about dog whistles, we opt for ‘silent’ dog whistles that tend to be inaudible by the human ear.

Dog whistles were invented by a British inventor Francis Galton in the year 1876. Dog whistles work in the same way as other dog training methodologies work: familiarity and repetition. Vocal commands, offering treats, clicker training all follow this template. Dog whistles came in many different shapes and sizes. They can be made from wood, plastic or even metal. But how do they work, and how can you use them more efficiently?

Grabbing Your Dog’s Attention

The whistle first comes to your dog’s notice when he hears the unmistakable sound entering his ears. It is sure to strike him and grab his attention. Though the whistle may be inaudible to humans, dogs have the ability to hear a much larger range of frequency.

Instruction Your Dog to Come When Called

If your dog just sits and listens as you blow your whistle then you are not achieving your purpose. Try to get your dog to follow your command after you blow the whistle. You may need to encourage your dog with a couple of tasty treats at first but you need to remember that it is all part of the learning process. Every time you blow the whistle and offer your dog a treat, it will become a conditioned reinforcement. This means that your dog will slowly begin to associate commands and rewards with the blowing of the whistle. This is the first step to training your dog.

Giving Out Different Commands

Dog whistles work great for long distance commands. As a form of verbal command, your dog whistle becomes a substitute of your voice to which your dog will respond accordingly. Give out different commands using your whistles. For example one blow of the whistle can be a signal for your dog to sit down; two blows can mean that you want your dog to come back to you etc. This may seem difficult at first but remember practice is the key to dog training. So long as your dog is able to recognize the different signals, he will do as commanded.

Using the Whistle Tactfully

Finally, good whistles are generally used so that dog owners can enforce good behavior on their pets and discipline them. Do not simply use the whistle every time your dog does something wrong. For example if your dog is barking, do not just start blowing on the whistle. It is possible that he is feeling uncomfortable or anxious. Try to address the issue and try to find out the solution. Dog whistles cannot cause reassurance to your dog; only you can do that. So pay attention to your pet and cater to his needs as his level of comfort is more important than discipline him.

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