Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)

How to blow a sheepdog whistle - and work your dog on whistle commands.

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Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: The Sheepdog Whistle

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.

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.

Thumbnail image for the sheep and cattle dog training tutorial: The Sheepdog Whistle - part two

Part 2 - Once you can blow a sheepdog whistle consistently, it's relatively easy to teach your dog to work off whistle commands.
This totally remade and revised tutorial takes you through the process of familiarising your dog with whistle commands.

Bronwen's quite good with voice commands and now Andy wants to teach her to work on whistle commands. It doesn't take long before the young dog gets the idea!

8 comments

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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!

      1. 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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