Using Silent Dog Whistle to
Train Puppies and Dogs

A silent dog whistle is an effective training tool that comes handy in a variety of situations. Because dogs are equipped with an acute sense of hearing, silent dog whistles are a great way to train dogs over distances.

Owners of hunting dogs, herding dogs or simply owners who want to teach their dogs commands from a distance may benefit from using a dog training whistle to train their dogs.

Dog whistles can also be used in situations where a dog can't hear you due to noise.

There are a variety of dog whistles on the market and choosing the best depends of a variety of factors. And despite its name, this training tool can also be used to train other animals, including cats.

Facts About Dog Whistles

A silent whistle is often referred to as Galton's whistle to honor Sir Francis Galton who first invented it. Francis created the dog whistle in the 1876 for the main purpose of studying the different ranges of frequencies animals could hear.

A dog whistle is typically in the range of 16,000 Hertz to 22,000 Hertz. Humans are believed to perceive 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hz, whereas the hearing range of dogs is believed to be between 40 Hertz to 60,000 Hertz.

Silent Dog Whistle

The sensitive ears of dogs were specifically designed to hear higher frequencies because such frequencies are emitted by small prey such as rodents.

As the name implies, a silent dog whistle is capable of producing sounds at higher frequencies than those perceptible by humans, but well within the dog's range. You can blow through a silent dog whistle and hear the air blowing through it, but often without hearing a sound. However, a dog training whistle may also emit frequencies as low as 16,000 Hertz which are audible by humans.

How to Use a Silent Dog Whistle in Training

Silent dog whistles are a favorite among gun dog owners who can rely on their ultrasonic whistles to deliver commands from a distance even in heavy cover or on days with high winds.

This is an effective training tool since it will get the dog's attention without the need to shout over long distances or when the dog is out of sight. If you are interested in training your hunting dog or herding dog to obey to a silent dog whistle, you will need to practice a bit before you and your dog get it right.

It is often erroneously assumed that dogs automatically respond to the noise emitted by a silent dog whistle with no previous training. There is no truth to that. The noise of a whistle to a non-whistle trained dog is the same as the noise of a dog clicker by a non-clicker trained dog.

Dogs require training in order to respond to commands delivered by a whistle, but dogs that are already trained to respond to verbal commands or hand signals will catch on quickly with the right training.

How to Train a Dog to Respond to a Whistle

The different tones produced by the silent dog whistle will basically become cues just as with verbal commands or hand signals. A dog who has mastered verbal commands or hand signals can be switched over to whistle commands with the proper training.

The best way to accomplish this is by asking your dog the familiar verbal command or hand signal followed by the new whistle command. After repeating several times, the verbal command or hand signal can be gradually phased out and replaced by the silent dog whistle command.

It is very important to be consistent and use the same type of whistle tone for specific commands. You are virtually free to select any type of whistle command as long as you stick with the same ones. Of course, it is much easier on the dog if each whistle command is quite unique to avoid confusion. Clarity, consistency and patience are virtues necessary to switch a dog over to whistle commands.

Some Examples of Whistle Commands

While you are free to select the whistle blasts that you prefer, there are some "standard" commands. For instance, if you wish to switch your dog over from verbal commands to whistle commands, you may want to follow these easy steps.


To facilitate dog whistle training, whistle blasts and pips can be enhanced by accompanying hand signals.

Training Sit

  1. With your dog in heel position, ask your dog to sit using your verbal command
  2. Immediately sound one long whistle blast while keeping your hand raised and open
  3. Upon sitting, give verbal praise followed by a dog treat
  4. Repeat over and over
  5. Drop the verbal command and start giving it every other time
  6. Once your dog seems to grasp the concept, drop the verbal command completely

Training Come

  1. When your dog is at a distance, call your dog using your verbal command
  2. Immediately sound a series of whistle pips as you keep your arms stretched out to the side
  3. When the dog is next to you, give verbal praise followed by treats icon
  4. Repeat over and over
  5. Drop the verbal command and start giving it every other time
  6. Once your dog seems to grasp the concept, drop the verbal command completely

Here is a brief video that talks about some of the things we just covered in this article...

Final Thoughts...

There are a variety of silent dog whistles on the market made of different materials.

From a practical standpoint, dog training whistles with a cord attached may turn out helpful because they can be hung in a convenient spot when not in use and worn around the neck when training. Many have an adjustable pitch so they can be tuned to the dog's specific hearing level by loosening the locking nut.

Silent dog whistles are an excellent way to communicate with your dog from a distance without disturbing other people or frightening wildlife. Best of all, the consistency of the whistle tone makes it very effective in delivering clear, easy to understand commands.

Whether you are training your dog to hunt, herd, retrieve or just follow directions from a distance, a silent dog whistle can be advantageous in many ways.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

If you need help with teaching your dog obedience commands or just trying to understand dog behavior, I recommend this dog behavior and obedience training guide.


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