Whistle while you work
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.