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Training dogs is an important part of responsible pet parenting and a dog whistle can help you communicate with your dog. With its high-pitched sound, it can grab a dog’s attention from a distance and be used to issue commands.

Whistle training takes time and patience, but it’s a great tool for communication with your dog. It’s particularly effective when paired with positive-reinforcement training, so it’s also good to look at other dog training tools.

In this article: Sportdog Roy Gonia Special Whistle Without Pea, Sportdog Competition Mega Whistle and The Acme Shepherd Mouth Whistle.

Why whistle train your dog

If you’re still on the fence about getting a dog whistle, here are some of the reasons why you might want to whistle train your dog:

  • Long-distance communication: Whistle training lets you communicate with your dog from a distance. This is especially useful when dogs are out of sight or when you need to get their attention in noisy environments.
  • Consistency: A whistle signal is a consistent and recognizable sound that your dog can learn to associate with specific commands. There’s less nuance involved than there is with voice commands, which can sound quite different to dogs depending on your tone. This makes it easier for dogs to understand what you want them to do.
  • Attention-grabbing: Whistle sounds are often high-pitched and attention-grabbing, which makes it easier to get your canine companion’s attention in a loud or distracting environment.
  • Hands-free: Whistle training allows you to give commands without using your hands. This is ideal if you are busy or need to keep your hands free for other tasks.
  • Versatility: You can train your dog to respond to a variety of commands with a whistle, such as recall, stop and stay.

Pea whistle vs. pealess whistle

A dog training whistle with a pea has a small ball inside the whistle that vibrates when air is blown through the whistle, producing the sound. This type of whistle is often referred to as a “pea whistle” because of the small ball, or “pea,” inside the whistle. You can also buy whistles without a pea.

  • Pea whistles: Pea whistles make a trilling sound, which you can control with practice to make a wider range of sounds, plus they’re generally louder than pealess whistles. However, they can freeze in colder months.
  • Pealess whistles: Pealess whistles are less likely than pea whistles to stop working because there aren’t moving parts that can go wrong. They’re also more hygienic because saliva can stick to the pea and grow bacteria. However, they aren’t as loud, so they’re better suited to close-range work.

What to look for in a dog whistle

Here are some features to look for and considerations to make when choosing a whistle:

  • Frequency: Dog whistles come in different frequencies, with some designed to produce a higher-pitched sound and others a lower-pitched sound. Some dog whistles let you adjust the pitch, which is great if you want to train a lot of whistle commands because you can use different frequencies to denote particular commands. It’s also useful when you have more than one dog, as each dog can have their own pitch.
  • Volume: The louder the whistle, the more useful it is for communicating with your dog over long distances. Some whistles have a volume control feature, which allows you to adjust the volume of the whistle.
  • Durability: A good quality dog whistle should be durable and able to withstand regular use. Consider purchasing a whistle made from sturdy materials, such as stainless steel or high-quality plastic.
  • Lanyard or clip: Some whistles come with a lanyard or clip that makes it easy to carry the whistle around your neck or attach it to your clothing or equipment.

Best dog whistles

best Sportdog Roy Gonia Special Whistle Without Pea

Sportdog Roy Gonia Special Whistle Without Pea

With its pealess design, this reliable whistle won’t freeze, so it shouldn’t fail when you need it most. It’s a great choice for whistle training puppies or for close-range work. However, it’s lower-pitched than some pealess whistles, which makes the sound carry further.

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best Sportdog Competition Mega Whistle

Sportdog Competition Mega Whistle

This super-loud whistle is great for working over a long-range, as well as for wet and windy conditions when quieter whistles aren’t much use. It trains the sound away from you, so it won’t damage your ears, despite its loud sound. The pea makes a trill, so you can subtly change the sound for different commands.

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best The Acme Dog Training Whistle Number 210.5

The Acme Dog Training Whistle Number 210.5

The high-pitch frequency is quiet to the user, but loud to dogs, which saves the ears. It has a single frequency. The keyring makes it easy to attach to a lanyard or similar to keep it within easy reach.

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best The Acme Shepherd Mouth Whistle

The Acme Shepherd Mouth Whistle

Although there’s a bit of a learning curve to using this whistle effectively, it can produce a wide variety of tones. This makes it ideal for anyone who needs more versatility than a single-frequency whistle can provide.

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best The Acme Silent Dog Whistle

The Acme Silent Dog Whistle

This durable metal whistle has an adjustable pitch, which lets you more easily communicate a range of commands to your canine companion. It’s high-pitched and almost inaudible to humans.

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best Michael Josh Outdoor Whistles

Michael Josh Outdoor Whistles

With two whistles in a pack, they offer good value and are great for anyone liable to misplace small items, since you’ll have a spare on hand. They’re loud so they can be heard over a distance.

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Other dog training essentials

best Karen Pryor Clicker Training Terry Ryan Clik Stik

Karen Pryor Clicker Training Terry Ryan Clik Stik

Dog training clickers are helpful for marking behavior and can be used in conjunction with whistles as a form of positive reinforcement. This one is paired with a retractable target stick to make it even more versatile.

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best Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chewy Dog Training Treats

Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chewy Dog Training Treats

Treats, treats and more treats are key to training your dog using positive reinforcement. These dog training treats are small and low in calories, making them perfect for the early stages of training where you may find you have to feed your dog more treats than usual.

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best Paw Lifestyles Dog Treat Training Pouch

Paw Lifestyles Dog Treat Training Pouch

Dog treat bags make it easier for you to quickly access treats. Giving your dog a treat at just the right moment is vital during the training process, as this marks positive behavior.

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best Hi Kiss Dog Recall Training Lead

Hi Kiss Dog Recall Training Lead

This long training leash is the perfect partner when you’re teaching your dog recall. You shouldn’t let dogs loose in public spaces until their recall is 100%, but this long leash gives you the chance to practice recall safely out and about.

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