How to Use a Dog Whistle to Prevent Bad Behaviors

A loud whistle lets you command your dog at a distance.

A loud whistle lets you command your dog at a distance.

The dog whistle is a valuable tool for any dog trainer, as it allows you to communicate with your dog at a distance, with little confusion. Typically the whistle is used to give commands such as “Sit” and “Come,” but you can also use it to stop bad behavior.

Teaching the Sit

Approach your dog with a food treat in your hand. Hold the treat out so he can detect the scent.

Move the treat over his head, encouraging him to follow it with his nose so he tips his head backward. As you do this, give a short, sharp blast on the whistle. Your dog will naturally sit in order to follow the treat as it moves behind him.

Release the treat as soon as the dog’s bottom hits the deck. Repeat this exercise every day. Eventually your dog will learn that sitting when he hears a short blast on the whistle earns him a treat and he’ll do it voluntarily.

Repeat the exercise without the food, just using the whistle command. The whistle command functions in exactly the same way as saying “Sit.” All you are doing is replacing one sound with another.

Teaching the "Come" Command

Let your dog off leash in a secure area, such as the yard.

Crouch down with a treat in your hand and give a three-second blast on the whistle. This whistle must be distinct from the one you use for “Sit.” Continue the whistle blasts until the dog looks at you. Your crouching position will entice him.

Release the food treat as soon as he comes to you. Repeat this daily so the dog learns that coming to you upon hearing the longer whistle has a positive outcome. Practice until you can perform it without crouching or using the treat.

Using the Whistle to Stop Bad Behavior

Unleash the dog and allow him to roam freely.

Observe his behavior, looking out for signs that he may do something naughty, such as chase other dogs.

Issue the “Sit” command with the whistle as soon as your dog begins to misbehave. This distracts the dog from whatever he was doing, or thinking about doing. The key to curbing bad behavior is first to distract him from it, then to show him that resisting the temptation to chase, dig, mount or otherwise raise hell has a better outcome than doing so.

Issue the “Come” command to make him return. Give him verbal praise when he returns.

Items you will need

  • Food treat
  • Dog whistle
 

About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.

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