Dog Whistles Are Not Just For Dogs!
In this age of technology, it’s not surprising that dogs have been using some sort of sound to communicate with each other for centuries. Many different breeds are known to use various sounds when communicating with each other or even humans. However, there are many types of dog whistles used today and they all fall into one of two categories: “Whistle” type (also called “Barking”) and “Coughing” type (also called “Sniffing”).
The main difference between these two types of dog whistles is the way they produce their signal. A dog whistle produces its signal by emitting a series of high pitched tones. These signals are then picked up by your hearing and interpreted as a command from your canine companion. On the other hand, a cough produced by your pet will most likely result in him producing mucus or blood in order to alert you that something bad has happened.
However, while both types of dog whistles are effective at signaling your pets, they do have some differences which make them suitable only for certain situations. Some of those situations include:
When you want to let your pet know that something is wrong. When you don’t want to bother disturbing your pet during the night time. If you live far away from home and need to get a message quickly about what’s going on in town or city.
In the following paragraphs, we will go into more detail about the various uses of the barking and coughing type whistles.
When most people think about dog whistles they usually think about barking type whistles. These types of whistles are fairly simple in design and are designed to mimic the sound of a dog’s bark. They are also relatively cheap to buy (You can find some for less than $3 at many pet stores).
Bark whistles can be used to mimic other sounds as well. For example, most dog breeds will react to the sound of a can opener, which is why these whistles are great for getting your pet’s attention during the night when they are asleep.
They can also be used to mimic a sound that you never want your pet to react to such as the yelp of another dog. This can come in handy for those owners that have hunting dogs and do not want their pets to react to another dog’s bark.
In addition to barking whistles, there are some specialized ones that mimic insects and small animals. These whistles are designed to mimic the sounds of prey animals such as rodents, lizards, and birds. Once again, these whistles produce sounds that most dogs will find hard to ignore. These whistles are great for use on hunting dogs that have a tendency to chase after small animals like squirrels.
These whistles are relatively cheap and you can find them at some pet shops or online. In fact, you can even make your own by going online and downloading the sound effects that you want to use. There are many websites that provide these sound effects for free.
The coughing whistle is another common type of dog whistle. Unlike barking whistles, coughing whistles produce a sound that closely mimics the sound of a human cough. Dogs are naturally suspicious of human behavior and they usually react to this type of sound by getting your attention.
These whistles are great for getting your dog’s attention when you want it, or getting him to stop doing something that you don’t want him to do. For example, if you see your dog about to chase a cat you can produce the sound of a cough and your pet will usually look at you for a moment before returning to what he was doing.
The sound of a coughing whistle is relatively loud and most humans can hear it from 100 feet away or more. This means that you can produce the sound of a cough from your house and your pet should hear it wherever he may be.
In most cases, these whistles are relatively expensive. Most models cost around $20-$40 and you have to buy refills when the sound runs out (which happens fairly quickly). However, the convenience that these whistles offer usually make them worth the price.
These whistles are usually very easy to use. Most of them are spring loaded and all you have to do is press down on the top of the whistle to produce the sound of a cough.
How To Use Your Dog Whistle
Using a dog whistle is relatively easy, however you must understand how your dog thinks in order to get the best results. For example, using a barking type whistle for a large breed of dogs may scare them instead of getting their attention. Alternatively, a coughing whistle may not be effective for small breeds of dogs that tend to be more skittish.
When you are deciding which whistle to use, you should also take into consideration your dog’s personality and how he usually reacts to certain things. If your pet is usually timid, you may want to shy away from the barking whistle and go with something softer such as a coughing whistle or screeching whistle.
Regardless of which whistle you use, you should test it out first to see how your dog reacts. If your pet seems scared, try another whistle and see if that gets a better response.
Once you choose your whistle and decide which type of sound effect you want, all you have to do is get your dog’s attention with it. You can test out your whistle in an area away from your home to see how your dog reacts.
If you call him to you, does he come?
If you make the noise again, does he come anyway?
Does he look around to see what made the noise?
How does he generally react to the noise?
Once you get familiar with these questions, you will have a better idea of how to use your whistle to its full advantage.
You can also experiment in an area away from your home (such as a park) to test out the effectiveness of your whistle. For example, if you have a large park nearby you can walk to the other side of it with your dog on a leash. Then, produce the sound of your particular whistle from a distance and see what your dog does.
If he doesn’t look up or pay attention to the whistle at all, try blowing it again.
Does he look around this time?
Does he start to fidget or act restless?
(A sign that he may be anxious and need to go to the bathroom)
Does he outright run away from you?
(If this occurs, try a different whistle or find one that makes a less intense noise)
These are just some general guidelines on how you can use a dog whistle. As with most activities, you have to experiment a little in order to get the most out of it.
Why Use A Dog Whistle?
The first question you may ask yourself is:
Why do I need a dog whistle when I can just call my dog’s name?”
This is a fair question with several different answers. I have listed several reasons why a dog whistle is a good tool to own.
1. Distance – A dog whistle can produce a sound that is much louder than the average human voice.
This can be a great advantage when training your dog or getting his attention from far away.
2. Privacy – Dog whistles do not disturb others like the sound of your voice possibly could.
If you live in close quarters with neighbors, a dog whistle can be a nice alternative.
3. Timing – Whistles are extremely precise when it comes to producing sound.
This means that you can teach complex commands with ease when using a dog whistle. If you prefer to train your dog using positive reinforcement, a whistle can help you be in complete control of the situation.
4. Accuracy – Unlike the human voice, dog whistles do not convey emotions.
This reduces the amount of distraction that may occur during training sessions and makes things much simpler for both you and your pet.
5. Volume – While not as loud as actual noise makers, dog whistles still produce a volume that is much louder than the human voice.
This can help you get the attention of your dog in crowded places or during busy times.
6. Greater Distance – While most whistles are fairly short range, there are certain models that can be heard from greater distances.
These can be a godsend if you like to hike or camp in remote locations. This owning a dog whistle can increase your safety if you are ever in a bind.
How To Choose The Best Dog Whistle
Now that you have some idea of what to expect from a dog whistle, you may be wondering how to go about choosing one for yourself. There are many different types of whistles, so you will have to narrow down your options based on your personal preferences.
Some of the main qualities you should look for in a dog whistle include:
Sound Power: Whistles can produce various pitches, with some being much louder than others. Unless you intend on keeping your dog at a considerable distance, you will want to choose one that is loud enough to hear from pretty far away. However, you also have to be mindful of the noise level. Too much volume can lead to permanent hearing damage in animals and even people if it is close enough. Whistle type: There are two major types of whistles: those that produce a pure tone and those that produce random noise (also known as pea whistles).
Each type has their own benefits, but the decision usually comes down to personal preference. Brand Name: While many department stores will have a large selection of dog whistles, it might be better if you buy yours from a pet store instead. Not all of the whistles on sale at these locations are created equal, and a lot of pet stores sell higher quality models. Durability: Since you will most likely be putting your whistle through a lot, it is important to choose one that is durable enough to last. Some whistles can easily break if they fall to the ground, while others can even be damaged if they get too wet.
Many people prefer to use a combination of the above factors when choosing the right whistle for them. Whistle preferences are often based on personal taste, so you will have to do a little bit of experimentation if you want to find the right one for you. Whistles are not too expensive, so it won’t hurt to try a few different models until you find the one that is right for you.
Whistle Etiquette For Pets
Although most people use whistles to train their pets and keep them safe, some animals can be easily startled by the sudden burst of noise. This can cause them to react in a variety of ways, from cowering in fear to jumping away in surprise to attacking the source of the noise.
To prevent your pet from being startled, it might be a good idea to get their attention before blowing the whistle. This can be done by getting their attention with your voice or by gently tapping them on the shoulder (as long as they are not a skittish animal). Once you have their attention, give a short, low whistle before following up with your command.
For example, if you are training your dog not to jump on the furniture, you might give a command in your normal voice before following up with a low whistle. This way, your dog will associate the noise with the command and be less likely to jump when he hears the whistle.
It is very important that you take safety into consideration when training your pet with a whistle. You do not want to hurt their ears or scare them too much, so you will need to take a few precautions before using one:
Avoid prolonged use: Using a whistle to train your pet can take some time, especially during the early stages. Since you will most likely be using it on a regular basis, it might be smart to limit the amount of time you use it for. Five minutes per day should be plenty. Don’t use it at night: Dogs (and most pets) have better hearing than humans, so avoid using your whistle at night. The high pitch sound can be overwhelming to their ears and cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.
Before you blow, ask yourself: Is my pet in a safe area?
If they are near a road or have access to any other dangers, wait until they are in a safer location before using your whistle. If you must use it in an unsafe location, follow the steps above to get their attention before using it.
Use Positive Reinforcement: Although dog whistles are a great tool for communicating with your pet, they should not be used too much. Most owners find success by pairing the whistle with something that their pet loves (usually treats or kibble) and using this as a reward system for good behavior. Over time, most pets learn to love (and look forward to) their whistle.
Would You Like To Know More?
There are many different things you can do to train your dog to react better and many different tools that can help you do it. Whistles are just one of the available options. From collars to herbal remedies, the choices are practically endless.
If you are looking for other methods of training, take a look at some of the following links:
There are also many different ways you can communicate with your pet. From words and hand gestures to whistles and electronic devices, the list is practically endless.
Do you have a favorite method or tool that has worked well for you?
If so, please share in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading!
I hope you can use some of the information provided to help improve your relationship with your pet.
All image rights belong to their respective owners.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Dog whistles, walk-backs, and Washington handshakes: Decoding the jargon, slang, and bluster of American political speech (C McCutcheon, D Mark – 2014 – books.google.com)
- Don’t Shoot the Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training (K Pryor – 2019 – books.google.com)
- Dog whistle politics: How coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class (IH López – 2015 – books.google.com)
- 4-H sporting dog project member guide (JW Green – 2011 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu)
- You can train your Dog! Mastering the Art & Science of Modern Dog Training (P Morrison – 2012 – i5 Publishing)