Whis­tle while you work

Sporting Shooter - - Gundog Experts -

Q I am not sure which whis­tle to choose and like the idea of a silent whis­tle. Do you have any ad­vice?

A HOWARD KIRBY replies: For sure, silent whis­tles work and dogs will re­spond to them as well as any other. There are some re­ally well-made ad­justable whis­tles that you can al­ter, then set at a cer­tain pitch. I’ve worked spaniels on them and the dogs are equally as re­spon­sive. I chose to ad­just the pitch on the whis­tle I used to a level that I per­son­ally could hear also. This, of course, was more for my own piece of mind, but I do think it’s im­por­tant you can hear the sound you are mak­ing through the whis­tle. I use video when work­ing with clients and some­times we use the au­dio sound­track on the video to let a han­dler hear the noise they make from the dog’s point of view.

In­ad­ver­tently, some of the whis­tle sig­nals made are not very clear; some­times they are not timed very well and oc­ca­sion­ally they make the wrong com­mand al­to­gether. This, of course, might not be no­ticed if us­ing a silent whis­tle.

In the field we are try­ing to be as quiet as pos­si­ble, so the cor­rect use of quiet/silent whis­tles would be very nice. There are oc­ca­sions when a dog is crash­ing around in a cover crop at dis­tance on a re­ally windy day when you need to make a lot of noise, even to com­mu­ni­cate with the most obe­di­ent of dogs.

Per­son­ally, I pre­fer a 210.5 pitched whis­tle. I can hear it and once you’ve learned how to play it you can sub­tly ad­just the level of sound you make de­pend­ing on how hard you blow.

Do let us know which you choose and how you get on, and just try to re­mem­ber that less is more when us­ing the whis­tle.

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