The sheepdog whistle (1 of 2)

How to blow a shepherd’s whistle.

Subtitles: French*, Spanish* or English, click CC on viewer (*translation errors).



Close-up photo of a typical sheepdog whistle

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Learn how to blow a sheepdog whistle

Serious sheepdog handlers, shepherds and sheepdog trials competitors need to use a whistle.
The primary reason to use a whistle, is so that the dog can hear commands clearly.
The human voice does not carry well over long distances, or in bad weather.
A description of the popular whistles that are available.
How to hold the sheepdog whistle in your mouth.
Putting the sheepdog whistle to your mouth – and blowing!
A demonstration of the range of tones you can achieve with a shepherd’s whistle.
Use popular sheepdog whistle commands used by shepherds – or create your own!
Where to practice blowing your whistle, without losing all your friends!
Popular whistle commands to learn.

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You’re not alone

Part 1 – If you’re finding your sheepdog whistle difficult to blow, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to master at first, but don’t worry. Unless your dog is in the advanced stages of training, there’s really no need to hurry.

A sheepdog whistle is very useful if you work your dog on livestock at a distance, in bad weather or under noisy conditions. That’s because the sound of the whistle carries much further than the human voice. Using a whistle enables the dog to hear our commands from farther away or when other sounds may drown the sound of our voice out.

There’s no need to hurry!

If you’re in the early stages of training your dog though, there’s rarely any need to start working your dog on whistle commands. In fact we recommend that you use your voice when your dog’s learning to herd sheep, because you can use the tone of your voice to tell the dog whether it’s working correctly or not.

A gentle voice tells the dog you’re pleased with it, and a harsh voice tells it you’re not!

In this tutorial, Andy describes his favourite whistles and those he avoids, before going on to clearly demonstrate how to get sound from the sheepdog whistle. He also gives examples of typical whistle commands.

The Sheepdog Whistle 2 | (top ⇧)


10 responses to “The sheepdog whistle (1 of 2)”

  1. Arye Ehrenberg avatar
    Arye Ehrenberg

    Hello Andy. Two questions: 1, should I teach my dog a recall whistle? I’m afraid that in a trial some one might whistle and she will come in the middle of the run.
    2, She’s 6 months old. I’v taught her to down/stay on a whistle when I’m throwing a ball. do you think it will help when we’l start to work sheep?

    1. 1. It’s extremely unlikely that someone else’s recall whistle will sound identical to yours. Dogs have extremely sensitive hearing and in my experience will ignore other people’s whistle commands. It’s also worth noting that we don’t recommend you use a whistle when training your dog, until the dog can work far enough away from you that it might not hear your voice commands. (That’s a long way). Watch the Whistle Tutorials again – and pay attention this time!!!
      2. See above. Far better to train the dog initially with voice commands – they will help. Watch the Stop Tutorials for more on this.

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