Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)

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


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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.

The Montana Lite Whistle as demonstrated in this video is available from the International Sheep Dog Society Shop.

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.

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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!

Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)

10 responses to “Whistle (Parts 1 & 2)”

  1. Arye Ehrenberg avatar

    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. Andy avatar

      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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