Dogs are renowned for their superior sense of smell, but they’ve got pretty sharp ears too. Compared to a human, a dog’s hearing range is approximately twice as wide. Dogs typically can detect sounds between 67-45,000 Hz, while humans can detect sounds between 64-23,000. In the upper frequencies of a dog’s hearing range, the sounds can cause a dog irritation and discomfort.
While dogs are capable of hearing higher frequencies than humans, they by no means have the widest hearing range. Bats and whales can hear sounds up to 110,000 Hz, but are less capable of detecting lower range sounds.
It is not merely frequency that causes a sound to be uncomfortable for a dog. The sound must reach a certain volume too. At sufficient volumes, frequencies above 25,000 Hz become irritating for dogs. The louder and higher those sounds are, the more uncomfortable for the dog they become. Dogs may whimper, whine and run away if confronted with a sufficiently loud and high-frequency sound.
Humans use high-frequency sounds to deter dogs from approaching, to distract dogs from misbehaving and to call them. Personal dog deterrents rely on blasting a loud, high-frequency sound to confuse, startle and irritate a dog. These sounds cause no permanent hearing damage and once the dog is out of range, he will settle down. In some scenarios, it’s important for an owner to signal to a dog using a sound that is distinctive. Dog whistles are extremely high frequency, in some cases, they are higher than 23,000 Hz and are inaudible to human ears. These sounds cut through ambient noise and are more easily discernible for dogs.
Sounds of a frequency between 23,000-25,000 Hz are inaudible to humans, but are tolerable for dogs. In some cases, the sounds are appealing to dogs because they are distinct from the familiar range of sounds present in the human environment. Pet food manufacturers have experimented with including sounds in this frequency range in their adverts to attract dogs to the television set.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including “K9 Magazine” and “Pet Friendly Magazine.” He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.
The dog whistles that didn’t make the cut
Whistles are a fairly simple device. Truth be told, there is a good argument to be made that any old whistle will do. After all, each one makes a whistling sound when blown.
With that said, not every whistle can be a winner. When it came down to quality, frequency and ease-of-use with dogs, the whistles we reviewed varied dramatically in their performance.
The following whistles fell short in one way or another when compared to our top picks. Based on our testing, the above recommendations get everything right. There is little reason to choose a runner-up.
The HyperWhistle had some of the boldest claims of any whistles we tested. Promising up to 142 dB of sound that can be heard for up to 2 miles away, it had the potential to take the crown of the loudest dog whistle. In testing, however, no tester could achieve anywhere near those claims. The HyperWhistle was a further let down by a mouthpiece that was awkward to blow into. It was also considerably more expensive than our number one recommendation for loudest dog whistle.
I really wanted to like the SportDOG Roy Gonia Mega Whistles. Their unique shape directs the sound forward, away from the blower, much easier on the ears than other whistles that produce a similar sound. Despite what you would expect from the design, the sound produced just didn’t carry as far as other whistles, and its bulky size was awkward to hold in the mouth.
The SportDOG Roy Gonia Commander is a softer whistle. It has its place for young pups, dogs that startle easily and short-distance training. I felt that this whistle was cheaply made, but for the budget price, that is somewhat expected.
After using a variety of standard-shaped whistles, the Acme Shepherd Mouth Whistle was difficult to learn. But once we got the hang of it, we were able to issue multiple dog commands. Be warned… The first time you shove it in your mouth, you will taste grease. Our reviewers and the dog owners we interviewed had a preference for a more traditional whistle.
Acme’s 210, 210.5 and 211.5 dog whistles produced high-pitched sounds, increasing in frequency as the number increases. They were easy to blow. However, they were edged out by the Acme 212. The Acme Tornado was more cumbersome to use than a traditional whistle.
While the Fox 40 CMG, Fox 40 and Fox 40 Sonik were all great whistles in their own right, capable of producing shrill sounds that pierced through weather, the Fox 40 CMG Mini had them all beat in terms of usability and comfort.
In our hunt for a budget dog whistle, we also tested a variety of generic options. Unfortunately, all the cheaper options from unknown brands performed poorly across all areas. Most notably, the construction was cheap, and the performance was inconsistent. They may be a simple product, but whistles require precision manufacturing to generate the correct tone and pitch – stick to the known name brands.
Are they suitable for training a dog? Why or why not?
A dog whistle can be a great training tool for a dog, if used properly. It is extremely distinct, silent to others, and the high frequency cannot be easily replicated. As a result, hunting, herding, and police dogs are commonly trained using a whistle. The reasoning behind it is that this high frequency it emits can travel far greater distances than a voice, and is less likely to scare wildlife or alert humans.
Although the whistle is suitable for training a dog, it is useless without association. If you blow the whistle and expect your dog to stop barking or to come, you will be extremely disappointed!
Can a dog whistle stop a dog from barking?
Yes, but only if used properly.
You see, many people buy dog whistles as a barking deterrent or to scare an aggressive dog away.
Whether it’s for your own pooch or to silence your neighbors yapping dogs, the expectation is the same:
You blow a whistle, and the dog magically stops barking.
It sounds a little too good to be true, right?
Well, it turns out it is. Soon after, the dog returns to barking, and you’ll blame the whistle for not working.
If I blew a whistle in your face, right now, would you know what I wanted?
Well, it turns out I want pizza. But you didn’t know that because I have not told you that when I blow a whistle, I want pizza.
It’s the same for your dog.
Sure, a dog whistle may stop your dog from temporarily barking – while she looks at you with an expression that screams “What does this idiot want?”
In fact, if your dog doesn’t know how to react, hearing an unusual whistling sound may cause her to bark even more. Kind of the opposite of what you want, right?
But unless you train your dog to stop barking when you blow a whistle, a whistle is not a good anti-bark tool.
The same goes for any other commands. Your dog won’t sit or come just because you blow a whistle. You need to train your dog how to respond to the whistle first.
Repeat after me:
There is no ‘best’ whistle to stop barking!
But there are some great whistles that you can use in combination with training to stop your dog from barking – which I shared earlier in this review!
What is the highest frequency dog whistle?
What frequency is a dog whistle to stop barking?
What frequency works best for dogs?