Are Dog Whistles Suitable for Dog Training?

Are Dog Whistles Suitable for Dog Training?

A large number of people around the world prefer dogs as household pets. Despite many dogs around the world, very few people have decided to implement a dog whistle. 

There are many ways to apply proper training to household dogs. Among the wide variety of accessories that exist, dog whistles can offer excellent benefits. This accessory can emit a sound that is inaudible to humans but is very efficient for dogs.

Even not only dogs but also other animals can hear some ultrasounds. Different aspects should be considered when incorporating a dog whistle in the following training of these pets. Here we have gathered everything you need to know about the main aspects of dog whistles.

Are Dog Whistles Suitable for Dog Training? –  A Complete Guide

Are Dog Whistles Suitable for Dog Training?

History of dog whistles:

This accessory has also been called the Galton whistle or silent whistle. It is an instrument that works within the ultrasonic range and is specifically geared towards dogs, although it could also be used with other animals. Francis Galton invented the first accessory of this type in 1876. 

In one of the books, this author indicates that there are different ranges of frequencies that animals can pick up, including dogs and cats. Since those times, this instrument has been incorporated in the training of a large number of dogs.

Even the dog whistle is much more critical for certain breeds of dogs specially trained for hunting. There are also different dog whistles, such as adjustable ones that allow for a specific range of frequencies or those that offer a fixed frequency.

Why do dogs respond to specific frequencies better than others?

Humans and dogs have different hearing abilities, and this is due to the evolution of each of them. People have a hearing capacity for sounds between 20 Hz and 23 kHz for the maximum hearing capacity. When it comes to dogs, we are talking about a hearing range of almost double the capacity.

The dog whistle can produce sounds within the 50-kilohertz range. This means that it is an entirely silent sound for humans but can be heard by a dog. Even if these sounds come from a great distance, dogs will hear them due to their more extraordinary hearing ability relative to humans.

Their ears are specially designed to be able to pick up a more significant amount of sounds. The sound can be cupped and moved thanks to the shape of the dog’s ears. This is similar to what happens when people put their hands to their ears to hear more clearly. 

Dogs also can orient their ears to find the direction from which the sound is coming. The evolution of dogs has allowed them to hear many higher-pitched sounds. This was necessary because wild dogs hunted small rodents. These small animals produced very high-pitched and almost imperceptible sounds.

Some breeds of dogs are much more efficient when it comes to picking up very high-pitched sounds. This may be the case with the terrier breed of dogs, some of the best hunters. Of course, as dog’s age, their hearing ability is lost by a certain percentage.

How to Train Your Dog with a Whistle?

Although dogs can hear the sound of the whistle, they do not know what to do when they hear this sound. So it is recommended to follow some simple steps to know how to train your dog with a whistle.

  • The training should start at home, and the person should call the dog’s attention with some kibble from the dog’s food or some treats. 
  • The whistle should be blown similarly to during a walk or in a specific situation where the dog must do something. A few seconds after the dog whistle has produced the noise, and it is essential to treat it. This exact procedure should be repeated several times. In this way, the dog can learn that listening to the whistle and paying attention means receiving a reward.
  • Once the dog is no longer paying attention to the situation, the whistle should be blown again. When the dog looks towards the owner, it is essential to give him another treat as a reward. This procedure should also be repeated several times, waiting for the dog to lose and regain its attention again with the whistle.
  • To continue, the dog must be in a different room. Here the dog must approach the owner when he hears the whistle. In this way, the dog can learn that he must approach his owner no matter how far away he is. Blowing the whistle just before the dog’s mealtime is another good way of learning. This lets the dog know that good things are coming every time he hears the whistle.
  • The same procedure above can be done outdoors in a garden. When the dog is at a great distance, the whistle should be blown again. Blowing the whistle alone may be sufficient, although an additional signal such as an open hand can be added. The dog should receive a reward whenever it approaches, and no verbal command should be used. The reward can be treats or your dog’s favorite toys. Playing with the dog as a reward is also another good way.
  • Training can continue when the dog has fully learned how to approach the owner every time the whistle blows. It is essential to start in a place with low distractions to train the dog’s gait. The whistle should sound when the dog moves a little away from the owner while both are walking. This will allow the dog to approach again, and he should receive a reward. The owner should run away a few meters when the dog does not approach immediately. In this way, the dog may feel encouraged to approach his owner.
  • To continue the training, the whistle can be blown at a longer distance. Increasing the distance to remind the dog to approach its owner is an excellent way to move forward. The dog should always receive a reward when approaching its owner. You can continue with a place with more distractions and increasing the distance to remind the dog by whistling to get closer to his owner. 

To keep in mind:

The dog owner should not rush the training, as they may not understand what they need to do. Also, the training should be done slowly so that the dog does not feel too overwhelmed and stressed. Training should be short and positive so that the dogs do not get bored.

It is advisable not to feed the dog before this type of training. Otherwise, the reward in treats or kibble from their food may not work as efficient, positive reinforcement. If this happens, the dog will not feel the desire to return to its owner.

Always start in a place with few distractions, as starting in highly distracting places can be dangerous. The treats used as rewards in this type of training should be small. Dogs will receive many rewards due to the repetition of the steps mentioned above.

When to Uuse a Whistle During Training Sessions?

Incorporating a dog whistle into a training session allows for superior results. However, it is necessary to know precisely when to implement this training tool. The following tips are essential to obtain tangible benefits and results:

  1. It is recommended to incorporate the whistle when the puppy has reached 7 to 8 weeks of age. Dogs of this age can already begin to learn simple voice commands and train with a dog whistle. Sometimes it may be advisable to wait until the dog has reached 12 weeks of age.
  2. The dog whistle should be used in a precise and accurate manner. Using this training tool too frequently and too long can lead to a negative result. This means that the dog whistle will be ineffective and can even become a real nuisance for the dog. 
  3. It is recommended to use a dog whistle only to get the dog’s attention. An authoritative voice and body language can accompany this. Additionally, assertive and relaxed energy is also recommended to provide the image they need.
  4. Dog treats should be incorporated sparingly and only as favorable reinforcement. Treats should be given right after the whistle is blown. This way, the dogs will be able to relate the sound of the whistle to what they must do to receive the reward.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a Whistle

For many years now, the dog whistle has been incorporated into a much more efficient and complete training. However, there are some advantages and drawbacks of using a whistle.


  • The dog whistle allows generating a higher level of obedience along with more efficient training. 
  • The dog whistle makes it possible to call these pets from a great distance to impart specific commands.
  • It is possible to create a language that the dog and its owner understand with the dog whistle to customize aggressive tactics or whistle commands.
  • Dog whistles can offer customized sounds so that a dog only reacts to its owner’s whistle.
  • Voice commands can be combined with dog whistles to create much more complex and efficient commands. 


  • Not all dog breeds are equally efficient when it comes to a dog whistle. Some dog breeds do not react, which may be due to the dog’s inadequate hearing range or the malfunction of the dog whistle.
  • Incorporating negative reinforcement or punishment into the use of dog whistles allows these instruments to lose their effectiveness quickly.
  • Combining a dog whistle with punishments allows dogs to feel much more fear when listening to the dog whistle. Not only does this allow the whistles to lose effectiveness, but it can generate negative behaviors in dogs.
  • Incorporating punishments into the sound of the dog whistle only allows dogs to follow their owner when they are close and run away when they are far away.
  • Rarely, dogs may detect the stimulus of the dog whistle sound as unpleasant or even painful.

Comparison of Different Types of Whistles

When it comes to choosing the best dog whistle, it should be taken into account that different types are available in the market. The differences between them allow you to get a better or a worse result depending on the final choice.

Budget Whistles:

This is one of the most common whistles available and is the most economical option. This whistle can be more than enough when it comes to incorporating only a few commands at a distance that is not so far away. This way, a dog owner will be able to implement excellent simple training.

  • Meager cost
  • Easy to use and transport
  • Good basic training supplement
  • Provides a single tone sound 

Premium Whistle with a Set Frequency:

When it comes to more efficient training for one or more dogs, this high-quality whistle may be the most suitable. In general, this type of whistle incorporates more than a single frequency. It is also an easy-to-use option for both trainers and beginners.

  • Different sound frequency ranges
  • Sound reaches farther
  • The structure can be made of metal
  • Requires a larger budget

Silent metal whistle:

Another option available is metal whistles that usually include a protective cover. This is usually the option for professionals because many of these whistles and data include training instructions. Metal whistles usually provide sounds that reach even further than the previous ones.

  • Excellent choice for professionals
  • Sound reaches extremely far
  • Provides different frequencies
  • Too many features for simple training


Dog whistles are excellent when it comes to implementing good dog training. Anyway, it is necessary to know how to use this instrument correctly when it comes to obtaining the desired results. Also, at no time should punishment or negative reinforcement be applied to a dog when using a dog whistle or at any other time.

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