First let me answer a couple of
questions I had regarding whistle training.
The first was about what kind of whistle to use. My Human
prefers a whistle designed for hunting dog use in the field. It can be heard
through the heavy fogs we see both at the shore and in the mountains. Any
whistle will do, but my Human doesn’t use the “silent dog whistle”.
I suppose the same principle would apply to training with that type.
The picture to the right is my Human’s
The orange whistle to the left is the
Roy Gonia logo edition available at stores like Petco for about US$6.00.
You need to consider what you want the
whistle to do. If you are going to work your dog away from you and need
to get his attention, the hunting whistle will do great. If you just want to
call them in from the back yard, then any kind of whistle will work and can be
found for less than a US dollar.
Don’t just give little puffs that make
the whistle peep like a sick cat. Really inhale and blast that thing if you
want my attention. Believe me, it’s less disturbing to the neighbors than
yelling out the door.
The next question was “what is
an e collar”? An e collar can save a dogs life and can be a a “life vest” of
sorts for hunting dogs.
It has been vilified by people because
some pet dog trainers use it incorrectly. It gives a small electric stimulation
to the dog when he is at a distance from the trainer.
The secret to the e collar is that,
before a dog ever wears an e collar, he is solid in all his commands.
The modern collars have multiple
stimulation levels. The experienced trainers adjust the collar so only the most
minimal stimulation is used.
My Human says when she first saw an e
collar in use she was working with a trainer of field trial labs in open bay
water. They had 10 dogs with
them and live birds. Only one dog had an e collar.
(The picture is of me practicing a water
retrieve. I’m not wearing any collar)
Curious, she asked about the collar. It
was explained that this one dog was not responding to the whistle and just
swimming around having a jolly old time once away from the trainer. So when the
whistle blew the dog was given an instant to respond, then the trainer gave him
what he called a “nick”. It only took a couple of retrieves for the dog to be
working perfectly to the whistle again.
Most of the time if you see a dog
wearing an e collar it is never used, but it’s there in case he fails to respond
to you, especially if his life could be endangered.
Once the check cords are removed and you
have a reliable dog, the trainer uses the collar to get the dogs attention if he
ignores the whistle. It is never used until the dog is solid in all in his
commands because it can confuse the dog.
you humans, we dogs get side tracked. (Sigh)
Last question was how do you teach
But first, remember this picture? See how I’m looking up at my Human. When you are doing the heel exercise
and the whistle sit, you want your dog looking at you when he sits. I keep
glancing up at my Human when heeling and swinging my head over to touch her.
The object of the whistle sit is to stop
your dog and have him look at you for further directions.
When my human first got me she
introduced hand signals with verbal commands. So if the whistle sit was my only
whistle command, I could respond to hand signals.
I know y’all want to know how to get
your dog to “come”. First you need to start backing off your dog and whistling
“sit”. My Human can easily make me sit even if I’m not looking at her just by
saying “sit”. So she adds the whistle, working close to me so she can correct
me if I want to go to her instead.
It’s important that if
your dog doesn’t sit as you add distance, you move in close and start adding
distance again but more slowly.
My Human has practiced this command with
me until I can do it even if I can’t see her or if another dog is charging
Next thing is getting your dog to come
First does he reliably come to his name
or the word “come” or “here”? If not, get out the lead, put your dog in a sit
or down, back off and call him to you. Continue this until the distance has
increased and he reliably comes to you. You now know he understands to return
to you on command.
Time to add the whistle. Again, start
close to your dog.
DO NOT USE THE SAME NUMBER OF TOOTS TO
RECALL YOUR DOG AS TO GET HIM TO SIT. My human uses 2, a high and low, for my
recall. Some handlers use 3 and the sound is the same for each.
It doesn’t matter how many blasts you
use, just choose a different number and ALWAYS blow the same number for the
recall and blow them the same way. Consistency is the name of the
Make sure you treat or
reward your dog every time he responds correctly and returns to you.
If you use hand signals, use the same
hand signal when using the whistle.
Have to go now! I hear the