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whistle problems


Liz P
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One of the main things holding back distance work with my dogs is my lack of consistent whistling. One of my goals for this year is to fix that, but I am having some problems.

 

I feel like maybe my whistle is too small. Is that possible? I have trouble holding it steady in my mouth to blow a long sound that maintains a single note. Inevitably the whistle moves and the pitch changes. (I can feel it slipping.)

 

My upper lip gets really dry, really fast, which makes it hard to keep whistling. Maybe I am doing something wrong? Or maybe it is related to the whistle size?

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It could be size or it could be how you hold your whistle in your mouth. I think one of the reasons someone came up with the idea of a whistle with a handle on it was because some folks liked the idea of having the handle to hold the whistle steady. I hold my whistle with my teeth, so it doesn't go anywhere. :rolleyes:

 

J.

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I've tried holding it with my teeth but I can't seem to get a very loud sound like that. Do most people hold it with their teeth?

 

Rose Anderson was kind enough to try to teach me to whistle with just my lips and teeth, but I failed that lesson miserably. :rolleyes:

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I switched from a metal whistle to a corian whistle, and the main advantage for me was that I can hold the corian one with my teeth, which I couldn't do with the metal one. Not sure if it's due to the metal whistle's smaller (thinner) size or just that it's more comfortable for me to clamp down on corian, but my whistles are much more consistent now that the whistle isn't floating around my mouth :rolleyes:

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I cannot hold a half moon in my mouth to save my life. I prefer a whistle with ridges on the side - a montana lite or A1. So maybe experimenting with a different whistle might help!

 

Edit to add: By ridges on the side I mean the little whoopdedoos that poke out. I don't know what they're called. But you guys know what I mean. I hope.

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:rolleyes: Yeah, I know what you mean. I've got a half moon shaped horn whistle with the little tabs on the side. Can't keep the thing still for the life of me. Are the triangle shaped ones any easier to hold steady?
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Liz,

I don't how most people hold them. I seem to remember being told that it's not good to hold them with your teeth, but it's what always felt most natural to me, so that's how I do it. I do have to be careful, though, if I'm tense, because I can create some jaw pain by clenching my poor whistle between my teeth....

 

J.

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I think most people probably hold the whistle with their lips. I started out holding it with my teeth and I switched to holding with my lips long ago. I experimented and found I was actually a better whistler and had a little wider range of pitch when my mouth and jaw were more relaxed. Having your jaws lightly clenched holding the whistle also means that you have unneeded tension in your jaw, and this tension adds to the tension that is already in your neck and shoulders when you go to the post. Holding with your lips also means no more teeth marks digging up your whistle (unless it's made of metal) and your whistle will last longer.

 

The "wings" at the base of a plastic whistle (or a traditionally shaped whistle) are there to facilitate lip holding. The same is true for the base of a triangular whistle, it should be wide enough to catch the corners of most people's cheeks so it won't be easily spit out while you're using it. Tooth-holders often use the rounder half-moon shaped whistles, they don't need the wings on the sides.

 

Liz, Try holding the whistle with your lips and blowing a long steady note. It should sound better than the tremulous note you're likely to get with your teeth/jaw clenched. Then try to play a song with the notes blown at the correct pitch (my favorite on the whistle is 'Sweet Georgia Brown'). If you think you could do better with a different whistle than you have now, then you should experiment with some until you find one you like (larger, thicker, whatever). You don't want to come off the field cursing your whistle. How silly that such a little item should be able to ruin someone's run after they spend year/s training their dog and themselves to work livestock and participate in dog trials. Good luck.

 

Ray Coapman

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I've been holding it in my lips. I can't seem to get much sound out when holding it between my teeth. I had to drive 18 hours round trip this weekend, so I practiced whistling along to songs. I am getting better at hitting the right notes but still can't hold them for long. I do feel as if the whistle is rather small in my mouth, the wings (?) don't reach the corners so it slips out easily.

 

I am certainly coming off the field cursing my whistle. The problem needs to be fixed before I will have any success at trials with bigger courses. My voice only goes so far. :rolleyes:

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