There are many tools to train your dog, but what about dog whistles? do you even need one And which one should you take?
We spoke to Joan Hunter Mayer, certified professional dog trainer and owner of The Inquisitive Canine, who explained that the best dog whistle is small enough to be easily carried, lightweight, and attaches to a lanyard or carabiner.
Based on these things, these are our top picks:
What is a dog whistle?
A dog whistle is a training device that emits a high pitched sound when you blow into it. There are two main types of dog whistles: audible and silent.
An audible whistle is essentially a traditional whistle – you blow it and a sharp, shrill note comes out.
A silent whistle also makes a sound when you blow into it, but that sound has a frequency that can be heard by dogs but not by humans. Most quiet whistles produce a sound between 23 and 54 kilohertz that would sound like just a hiss to you.
Do dog whistles harm dogs?
Dog whistles will not harm dogs as long as you use them in a considerate and productive way (and NOT to punish your pup).
“As long as they are used properly and not used to induce fear or pain, they can be considered human,” Hunter Mayer told The Dodo.
How do you use a dog whistle?
According to Hunter Mayer, using a dog whistle is straightforward, but knowing when to use it is the important part.
“As a certified professional dog trainer, I incorporate whistles into the training steps to teach ‘come when called,’ aka ‘recall,'” said Hunter Mayer. “It’s treated as a precursor, a cue, so the dog learns when he or she hears it running toward its owner.”
Just as a training clicker can be used as a cue for the puppy, dog whistles serve the same function.
How not to use a dog whistle
If you use a dog whistle to train your pup, you should NEVER use it in this way:
- Blow it for no reason
- Use it for punishment
- Blow it loudly next to your dog’s ear
What should you look for in a dog whistle?
Since the best dog whistles are easy to carry, you should look for one that is small and lightweight, or can even be attached to a lanyard, key ring, or carabiner.
However, choosing a dog whistle based on other characteristics mostly comes down to personal preference.
“As long as the whistle achieves the user’s goals, [they should] choose what type of pipe they prefer,” Hunter Mayer said.
For example, you may prefer an audible whistle when you actually want to hear the whistle command yourself. Or you can opt for a quiet whistle if you don’t want to disturb other people around you.
If you prefer an audible dog whistle, you’ll also need to figure out if you want one with or without a pea (aka the little ball inside that adds a trill sound to a whistle).
Pea whistles can make a variety of sounds thanks to the trill, which means you can teach your pup different commands for different sounds. But the trade-off is that they don’t get as loud as pealess options. So ultimately it depends on your preferences and how you want to use your dog’s whistle.
Dog whistles are usually made of either metal or plastic, but one material isn’t necessarily better than the other. Metal may be more durable than plastic, but it can change temperature more easily than plastic.
“I would go for plastic,” Hunter Mayer said. “Metal might work, but might get hot and uncomfortable on the teeth, but it’s an individual choice.”
The best dog whistles
We’ve rounded up some of the best dog whistles based on our expert’s guidelines and pet owner reviews to make your search a little easier.
No matter what type of dog whistle you prefer, there is something for you. The most important thing is to make sure you use it properly and humanely.
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