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Thanks for the answers to my earlier questions. Now I have some new ones.


When we got our pup, the breeder gave my husband and I two flat red plastic whistles. She said we could fool around learning to blow different sounds on them while we waited for our pup to grow up enough to train. I don't seem to be very good at it, but I'm trying.


Now I'm wondering what the accepted whistles are for telling the dog the different things to do. When the breeder showed us our pups parents herding the sheep, she blew different whistles to tell them to go different ways, or to stop or come back to her, but I didn't pay attention to what they were. Is there any way to explain to me in words what the different whistles are for each thing? Like high-low or bob-white ... something like that? My thought is that I could practice trying to make those particular sounds instead of trying to make just any sounds or trying to play a tune.


Thanks for any help you can give me. Our pup is doing great, by the way, and we are putting wire mesh on the fences so she won't be able to get in with the cows.


Gail at Haystack Hollow

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Hi Gail,

There is no *accepted* set of whistles for dogs. there are some common whistles that are used, but much depends on the trainer's and/or handler's preference. "Bob white" is one that used a lot. I use it for "away to me," but others use it to mean "come bye." Kent Kuykendall has a whistle CD that has some good explanations on how to choose whistle commands (and why). You might want to get that and go from there. Alasdair MacRae also has a whistle tape, but his is quite advanced and you may feel overwhelmed. I believe Kent recommends three-note whistles because they allow for more variations to get the finesse you would eed at a trial. My away is two notes, and the come bye is four notes, and so on...


The main thing is to choose whistles that sound sufficiently different on the beginning note as to not confuse the dog, because the dog will start to react on the basis of that first nore, and if it can't distinguish between your whistles at the beginning the result will be confusion (and potential chaos).


Choosing whistles that work for you is the most important thing. I have a dog who had been started on whistles when I got him. His come bye was a long low tone. Well, I never could hit that low tone accuately with consistency, so I changed his come bye whistle.


FWIW, the stop whistle is usually a long, high blast, perhaps with a tail note that drops lower. Then you can use the first part of the stop whistle as a "there" or "steady" command.


the breeder of your dog may be willing to make a tape for you if you want to use her whistles. It's also useful to tape yourself once you've chosen some whistles so you can make sure that they will indeed sound differnt to your dogs.


Hope that heps some.



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Good explanation Julie.


The most important point she made is to use sets of notes you can consistently blow. If you can't talk the same way every time your dog will never understand what you?re trying to say.


Oh, commuting is a great time to practice your whistles; no one to disturb (if you drive alone) and you won't be exciting your dog.

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Sorry to sneak in on your training board, but I am interested in using simple whistling for my BCX. My husband can make a piercing whistle with his mouth whenever we need to get Oreo's attention. I can't whistle at ALL.


I was thinking of buying a shepherd's whistle. I basically only want a whistle to make him pay attention to me and / or come to me - nothing elaborate. Will that flat whistle work? Oreo is training in agility and I don't think he needs a variety of calls like a sheepdog would. I have enuff problems with him watching my erroneous body cues. :rolleyes:


Also, can you tell me how to whistle with two fingers? I can practice in my commute too.


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Robin, for god's sake don't tell Terry Schaeffer about this! :rolleyes:


Gail, seriously, if I were in your position I would immediately buy Kent Kuykendall's whistle CD. It's incredibly good. (You can listen to a cut from it by going to http://www.littlehats.net/tapes-whistle.html and clicking in the appropriate place.) If I were starting out again I would jump at the chance to use his preferred whistle set on my dogs. He explains everything in plenty of detail for a newbie, and even if you think it's more than you'll need, you never know what you may find yourself doing once you get into this. Good communication with your dog is vital, and this CD can definitely help you achieve it, IMO.

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