Choosing the best dog whistles for training your pup begins with understanding what a dog whistle is, how it works and when to use it.
If you’ve ever heard of clicker training for dogs, you already understand the concept of using a dog whistle.
These neutral training tools can be vital to your success using positive dog training methods.
Especially when you link the sound of the clicker or the dog whistle with your pup’s favorite treat!
In this article, we will take a closer look at the best dog whistles for all of your dog training needs.
What is a dog whistle?
At first glance, this question probably sounds silly at best.
But there are actually two basic types of dog whistles.
One that only dogs can hear (the so-called “silent dog whistle”) and one that both dogs and their people can hear.
While the former probably sounds wonderful, it actually isn’t considered an ideal dog training tool for two key reasons.
#1 You can’t hear it
The silent whistle sounds at a frequency level beyond the range of human hearing (typically starting around 35,000 Hz).
Which means you don’t have any way of knowing if the sound you make when you blow on the silent whistle is sending a consistent message to your dog.
Here, you may wonder how a silent dog whistle can be inconsistent just because you can’t hear it.
Veterinarians and researchers have found that the canine ear can detect sounds at a higher frequency than what the human ear can pick up.
BUT dogs actually hear best at around 4,000 Hz, which is well within the range of human hearing.
So while your dog will probably hear that 35,000 Hz whistle tone, he or she may not hear it nearly so well as you assume.
In most dog training situations (see below here for two exceptions), it just makes more sense to choose a whistle tone that will sound strong, loud and clear to you both!
#2 It backfires
Another common and well-documented reason not to use a silent dog whistle for training is that it all too often backfires on you.
For example, let’s say you are trying to train your dog not to bark, howl or whine using positive training methods.
But every time you blow the silent dog whistle, your dog begins to bark, howl or whine!
This can be particularly confusing and frustrating during the puppy training stages due to a puppy’s naturally shorter attention span.
But even while training an adult dog, it can feel like you are adding in an extra step to have to first train your dog NOT to bark at the silent whistle and THEN train your dog to associate the silent whistle with different commands.
When to use a silent dog whistle
While we won’t be reviewing silent dog whistle products in this particular article, it is worth mentioning that there are a couple of situations where it may make sense to train your dog using a silent whistle.
Training a deaf dog
Interestingly, some deaf dogs can still hear at the frequency a silent dog whistle uses, even if they can’t hear in the lower frequencies that you can hear.
You will have to test this to see if your dog responds to the silent dog whistle frequency.
Hunting or other K9 work
Many hunting dogs, military and policy dogs and herding dogs are trained using the silent dog whistle.
That’s because these dogs often work in situations where silence (at the human range of hearing, at least) is essential to success.
What does a dog whistle do?
So what do dog whistles do, precisely?
At its most fundamental level, a dog whistle makes a sound.
This sound, which is similar to a verbal command or a clicker cue, can be used during dog training to help your dog learn skills, tricks and commands.
How do dog whistles work?
But how do dog whistles work?
What is most interesting about today’s dog whistles is that many are adjustable in both pitch (frequency) and volume.
This can be important for training different dog breeds.
For instance, smaller dog breeds typically have a higher range of hearing than do larger dog breeds.
So if you are training a teensy pooch like a terrier, you might adjust the whistle frequency to sound at a higher pitch than what you would use to train a Labrador retriever.
How to choose a dog whistle
Your dog whistle of choice may be a matter of sheer personal preference.
Over time, professional dog trainers typically find their “go to” dog whistle – the one they prefer to all the others.
Best dog whistles (loud!)
While the neighbors might not love listening to a loud dog whistle, there is no doubt they will love the results when one whistle stops your barking dog in her tracks!
ACME Dog Whistle 210.5.
This Acme dog whistle comes in powder blue, black and orange without a lanyard (which you can buy separately and attach easily).
This is considered to be one of the best dog whistles that is highly rated and popular with trainers and dog owners.
Trainers recommend pairing the sound of this whistle with a high-value treat for maximum impact.
SportDOG Roy Gonia Special Orange Whistle
This lower-pitched audible dog whistle is considered to be one of the best dog whistles for training larger dog breeds.
This is also considered to be one of the best dog whistles because it is nice and loud, easy to blow and the sound travels far, which is great for distance training (hunting, agility, racing, et al).
There is also a matching lanyard (sold separately).
ACME Silent Dog Whistle
You may wonder why this whistle is included when we stated earlier that silent dog whistles are more difficult to use in dog training.
While this high pitch dog whistle sound is at the high end of the human hearing range, it is NOT inaudible to humans, as many dog owners and trainers can attest.
You can also adjust the frequency up or down as needed.
The sound also carries up to 400 yards.
These are considered to be some of the best dog whistles in the UK where they were invented – they have been in use with dog trainers for 130+ years!
Best dog whistles for working dogs
A whistle that works well for close training may not be equally effective for distance training.
Traditionally, owners of working and show dogs have favored what is now called a “sheepdog whistle” or “herding dog whistle” for distance training.
This is both because these whistles offer you the option of using different frequencies for different commands and because they are designed to carry sound well over longer distances.
The ACME Shepherd Mouth Whistle
This old school nickel silver sheepdog whistle takes practice to use but delivers stellar results once you’ve got the hang of it.
One of the benefits of choosing this dog whistle is that you can use it to issue different pitches for different types of training cues.
There is also a lighter weight plastic version.
forePets Professional Dog Whistle
This high pitch dog whistle offers you the option to adjust the frequency to see what works best for your dog’s hearing and your training goals.
This whistle is one that both you and your dog can hear.
It is considered to be one of the best dog whistles because owners say it has even outperformed anti-bark collars!
This whistle comes with a free e-book to explain how to use it for the most effective training results.
Luckywoof Dog Whistle with E-Book, Clicker and Lanyard
This neat package offers you the top two dog training tools – an audible, adjustable dog whistle and a clicker – as well as a lanyard and a free e-book to explain how to use each tool.
Dog owners say they are using the tools to train their dogs in agility, rally, guard and detection work.
You can use the tools together or separately.
The whistle offers several frequency adjustments.
BONUS: FREE Dog whistle app!
If you are of the techie persuasion (or just love trying out new apps), you may want to take the Dog Whistler app for a test run!
This app offers a full range of frequency adjustments as well as several tone and beep options.
Owners say their dogs respond to the app and it seems to work well on neighbors’ barking dogs too!
Best dog whistles
We hope you have enjoyed reading through this carefully curated list of the best dog whistles for different types of dog training needs.
With some time, patience and practice and the right training tools, you and your pup will be able to develop your own unique training communication system!
Have you already found your go-to dog whistle? Is it one we’ve included here?
Tell us the best dog whistle in your opinion using the comments box!
Coren, S., PhD., DSc, FRSC, “Are Silent Dog Whistles Useful?,” Psychology Today, 2015.
Sawchuck, S., DVM, “Blue Sky Science: How can dogs hear a dog whistle but people cannot?,” Tuscon/ University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, 2018.
Shaw, J., et al, “Canine Behavior and Development,” Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses, John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Condon, T., “Frequency Range of Dog Hearing,” The Physics Factbook, 2003.
Traynor, R.M., EdD, “Aural Rehabilitation for Dogs,” Hearing Health Matters, 2012.