The sheepdog whistle (1 of 2)

How to blow a shepherd’s whistle.

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

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Close-up photo of a typical sheepdog whistle

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Video Highlights

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.

WATCH NEXT
The Sheepdog Whistle 2


Comments

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.

  2. Gill Evans avatar

    Thanks for the Whistle tips! I’ve found I can only get sounds if i press my tongue tip down behind my front teeth. This way, I can easily change sounds by raising the middle of my tongue. I changed to a Logan, as the plastic Acme was too big. The new one is easier, has a big range of sounds, just need to get consistent at getting the right tones when I want them……could be a long while yet!

    Re whistle effect on dogs, I think that bitches use a whistle-type sound, maybe beyond our hearing, to call puppies in event of a threat, so they are primed to respond fast to similar sounds.
    Gill

    1. Good to hear that the whistle tutorials are helpful, Gill. I’m sure dogs can communicate, and not just mothers with puppies, but I don’t know how they do it. It may well be a sound that we can’t hear.

  3. Francois and Yvonne De Brucker-Hollyoak avatar
    Francois and Yvonne De Brucker-Hollyoak

    Thanks Andy, I am improving.
    Kate is Super!!!

  4. Francois and Yvonne De Brucker-Hollyoak avatar
    Francois and Yvonne De Brucker-Hollyoak

    The same for me and my doggies. The Whistle training is working. Thanks for your help. Yvonne

  5. Sascha Christof avatar
    Sascha Christof

    HI Any,

    I am from Germany and our BC Jack from Cornwall is working fabolous. But we have the problem to tell him the right stuff that he understand it.

    Jack is 3 years old and full of power. We have worked intensively at a big fence. I was standing in the middle and give him viw voice or whistling via mouth the directions. That works perfect, but he is always with high speed on his way. Then I tried it with three sheeps in the fence. A big male and two young females. I have the problem, that we have only 3 sheeps right now to test everything. The females won’t go alone which would be easier in the fence. Jack is still going directly on the sheeps and I have to work very intensively to bring him out at the fence to the sheeps. I thinks his problem is, that he is now in the fence with the sheeps and he has no edge anymore which he can use for his run in a circle.

    What can I do….if you need mor infos, please let me know.

    Additional I want to slow him down, when he is working – but his is very difficult. And because of the training with mit in the middle of the fence and him outside he is reacting too much on me and my body language than what the sheeps are doing in the fence. I tried it also with the sheeps in the fence and him outside it. The sheep are following me, and Jack orientation is only on me 12 o’clock.

    THANKS!

  6. Davina Williams avatar
    Davina Williams

    I found the whistle tutorial a great help.
    kept rewinding to practice each sound : )

    1. Good to know it’s helped you, Davina!

      1. brian Nielsen avatar
        brian Nielsen

        Hi Andy.

        Is it possible you could make the whistle command so i could download them to my device, then it would be easier to train on making the commands. I am training on that now and it difficult when you don’t have a whistle command to compare with.

        Thanks for a good training site.

        Brian.

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