Using a whistle for different commands?

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by PeteSW, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. PeteSW

    PeteSW Registered Users

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    Hi
    I have just rescued a young dog who has apparently been trained with a whistle. One long blast to get his attention and three short blasts to come. It would seem good to continue this training, but indoors any blast of the whistle seems to make him rush to me (not a bad thing, but it would be nice to try and reinforce the original training with one long blast simply getting his attention). Are there any good resources out there for this type of training? Does the 'Total Recall' book cover different whistles for different commands?

    Thank you for any advice!
     
  2. Henry77

    Henry77 Registered Users

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    I find it hard to believe a young dog can completely and reliably understand the difference between a call to attention and a recall command based on the difference in whistle combinations, at least to the point where it is practical to use in a variety of environments. I would prioritize recall, unless you are committed to training your dog to follow commands at a distance without coming close to you first. To get the dog’s attention, simply saying the name should be enough. That to me seems a lot more straightforward and less redundant.

    Personally, I do not see the point of relying on a whistle for commands unless you are going to carry a whistle (and a spare) with you at all times. Like you said, any blast of the whistle makes the dog come to you. That’s a great start. Start giving a verbal recall command immediately before the whistle. This will enable you to transition from needing the whistle all the time to being able to rely solely on the verbal command for the same effect: recall.
     
  3. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

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    A whistle merely for attention is probably not that helpful. Total Recall "only" covers recall. But yes, you can use your whistle for other cues. I don't do gun dog training, but I do have a bit of fun with Coco. He has whistle cues for "come" "stop" and "find it". He has verbal for these too. Our newer girl, Meg, has picked up the recall whistle from me using it with Coco, though I don't think she'd be as reliable as I haven't actually trained it with her.

    The whistle is a handy tool to have. It is a consistent sound, where your voice can be muddied by stress/a cold/distance etc. I ALWAYS have my whistle when out with the dogs. I don't always use it though. I train whistle, verbal AND hand signal for basic cues, never rely solely on one form of communication. I guess my dogs have become tri-lingual ;)
     
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  4. PeteSW

    PeteSW Registered Users

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    Thank you both for your replies.

    I had read about the whistle being a constant sound, even when stressed etc which was one of the reasons I would like to continue his training with it, along with other cues. It won't be difficult to get into the habit of always having it around my neck. I've also been in the situation where one of my previous dogs has run off, an otherwise excellently behaved dog, got a scent of some animal in a large forest and took off, I ran around calling her for an hour before someone else found her and brought her back to the woods carpark. I think a whistle would have carried further than my stressed voice?

    His previous owner told me one long blast would get his attention and three short blasts would get him to come. I assume the previous owners were intending to do more distance obedience work. I can certainly see situations where getting the dog to lay down at a distance may be preferable to getting them to run back to me. The recall will be the priority at the moment though.
     
  5. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    I have a whistle attached to my 'dog walking coat' and another on a lanyard for when the weather doesn't justify a coat (or when going places where my tatty, chewed coat is just too embarrassing!). I love the way a whistle means you don't have to raise your voice, with the possible accompanying note of panic.
     
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  6. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

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    I love my whistle and would prefer to forget my leads than my whistle. Dogs can become rather immune to our voices as they hear them all the time and most this time it's not adressing them, whereas the whistle is only ever 'talking' to them.
    The longer single pip on the whistle is a 'stop' whistle. Very useful in may situations. Especially when relationship building with the dog as you can then redirect it onto a toy you have hidden etc.
    The dogs quickly know that our voice is rather optional, but the whistle is always address then and means that something amazing is happening.
     
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  7. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    I've only trained recall using a whistle. I love the idea of using it for other commands but I'm scared to mess up his recall. Loki's nearly 2½ - do you think it would be confusing to introduce a stop command now?
     
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  8. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

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    Not at all. I start to train the stop (or sit) whistle at heel. When you are walking to heel and stop, you will have aleady trained the dog to sit. Start giving one pip on the whistle as his bum goes down. Treat immediately. There are lots of other ways to start introducing the stop whistle, but they usually pick it up within a few minutes.
     
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