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Best Dog Whistles

Updated June 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 109 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best dog whistles

    Last Updated June 2018

    Some dogs have perfect recall, will "sit" at the nod of a head, and will "stay" for hours if you ask them to. Others prefer to march to the beat of their own drummer. A dog whistle, however, can help your canine companion conform to those commands. Unless you're already a dog-training expert, selecting the right whistle can prove challenging. With so many different types on the market, where do you even start your search for the best dog whistle?

    The good news is that in order to find the perfect dog whistle, we at BestReviews have done all the research so you don't have to. We consult experts in the field and talk to customers who have experience using the products and know how they perform. We never accept free products from manufacturers, so there's no chance of bias.

    Simply read on for our full shopping guide to dog whistles, with all the information you need to select the ideal one for you and your pooch. When you're ready to buy, head to the top of the page to see our five favorites.

    The sound of a dog whistle is more consistent than a human voice. If you're tired, sick, or getting annoyed with your dog for not obeying, your voice will sound different from usual, which can be confusing for your four-legged friend. A whistle sounds the same every time.

    Why use a dog whistle?

    Why should you use a dog whistle instead of simply shouting voice commands? While whistles aren't for everyone, there are some reasons why you might want to try one.

    • If you've tried and failed to teach your dog to come when called, the "come" or "here" commands probably means very little to him. Using a whistle gives you the chance for a fresh start.

    • Dog whistles generally carry farther than the human voice. That means your dog is more likely to hear a whistle than your voice if she tends to roam far and wide when off the leash.

    • Some dogs suffer from "selective hearing," finding it easy to ignore your voice when you're asking them to do something they don't want to. A whistle’s sharp sound is harder to ignore.

    • Shouting voice commands can be taxing on your vocal cords. Blowing a whistle is much easier.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some – but certainly not all – "deaf" dogs can hear ultra-high-frequency whistles (the kind that are silent to humans), which is extremely useful for getting their attention when you're not in their sightline.

    Types of dog whistles

    Dual-tone whistles

    Dual-tone dog whistles combine a pealess whistle and a whistle with a pea to give you the best of both worlds.

    Since these whistles produce two separate tones (sounds of two different frequencies), you can use one tone for one command and the other tone for another command.

    Price: Dual-tone dog whistles generally cost between $10 and $20.

    Dog whistles should only be used to give commands, such as "come" or "stay," and not as punishment or to deter unwanted behavior.

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    BestReviews

    Whistles with a pea

    These whistles have a ball, or "pea," inside them, which allows the user to make trills and other more complex sounds. On the downside, they can freeze up in very cold weather, rendering them completely useless.

    Price: These dog whistles cost between $5 and $20.

    Pealess whistles

    Whistles without a pea inside are useful in very cold weather where whistles with a pea wouldn’t work. While you can't use them to make trills, they are better at creating quick, short blasts.

    Price: Basic pealess whistles cost from under $5 to as much as $25. You can find some very good options for around $10.

    We'd recommend attaching your dog whistle to a lanyard and wearing it around your neck. That way it's easier to use hands-free, and it won't get lost should it fall from your mouth.

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    BestReviews

    Silent whistles

    Silent whistles are what many people think of as classic dog whistles. They produce extremely high-pitched ultrasonic tones that are inaudible to the vast majority of humans but that dogs can hear clearly.

    The frequency of a silent whistle can generally be adjusted to fit your needs.

    Silent whistles are ideal for times when you want to call your dog without disturbing people around you.

    Price: Expect to pay between $5 and $30 for a silent dog whistle.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Despite the name, silent whistles aren't 100% silent. Even though most humans can't hear the tone that the whistle produces, you can still hear air blowing through the whistle.

    Dog whistle materials

    Most dog whistles are made of plastic or metal.

    • Plastic

    Plastic dog whistles tend to be very inexpensive. They don't feel as cold to the touch when you use them in the winter, but they're not the most durable or attractive option.

    • Metal

    Metal dog whistles tend to cost more than their plastic counterparts. They look smart and are usually extremely durable.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you choose a metal dog whistle, pick a metal that won’t rust, such as stainless steel.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Dog whistle sizes

    While most dog whistles are quite compact, some are larger than others.

    You want a dog whistle that's not too big or bulky to slip in your pocket or wear on a lanyard around your neck. Equally, you don't want a whistle that's so small that it's awkward to use and easy to lose.

    Check the manufacturer's specifications to find the right size of any dog whistles that make it onto your shortlist.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Silent dog whistles tend to be slim, streamlined, and the ideal size and weight to carry around with you.

    What's the best frequency?

    Different dog whistles have different frequencies.

    Silent dog whistles use ultrasonic frequencies that can't be picked up by the average human ear but ring out loud and clear to your dog. Other whistles use lower frequencies that are audible to humans and our canine companions.

    There's no single "best" frequency for a dog whistle, but you should choose one and stick with it to avoid confusing your dog.

    Some whistles only operate at a single frequency while others (usually silent models) have adjustable frequencies. For whistles with adjustable frequencies, test out a few to find one that your dog seems to respond well to, then mark it so you don't forget.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you have several dogs, you can use a different whistle frequency for each one so you can direct commands to a specific dog.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips

    • Look for a dog whistle that's easy to clean. Since you're going to be putting it in your mouth, it should be easy to wipe down, without too many nooks and crannies that can trap dirt.

    • Consider the whistle’s durability. It's likely that your whistle will end up taking a few knocks and scrapes, so select a model that can stand up to some wear and tear.

    • Choose a whistle that's easy to replace. That antique silver dog whistle might look great, but if it breaks or gets lost, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to replace it with one that's exactly the same. Your dog will get used to the tone of whichever whistle you use and will need to be retrained if you can't replace it.

    • Decide on whistle commands and stick to them. You'll need to have different whistle commands for different behaviors. For instance, a single short blast might mean "sit" and three blasts might mean "come." It doesn't matter what commands you choose as long as you’re consistent.

    • Don't use your whistle when your dog is right next to you. It could hurt her ears or damage her hearing.

    Positive reinforcement is key when training your dog to respond to a whistle. When he gets it right, give him lots of praise and some high-value treats.

    FAQ

    Q. Do dogs instinctively respond to whistles?

    A. Dogs don't instinctively know what to do when you blow a whistle at them. They may look in your direction or prick their ears up in response to a new sound, but they won’t instantly come running to you or lie down. Instead, you have to train them to respond to a whistle in much the same way that you'd teach them to respond to voice commands. If you're unsure how to do this, you'll find plenty of resources online.

    Q. Over what distance can dogs hear a whistle?

    A. It's hard to say exactly how far a dog can hear a whistle because it varies depending on a range of features, including the type of whistle, the frequency, the terrain, and how good your dog's hearing is. However, it's safe to say that most dogs can hear a whistle from at least a couple of hundred feet away, and often much farther. You can buy dog whistles that are specially shaped to encourage the sound to travel farther. It's also worth noting that sounds at lower frequencies travel farther than those at higher frequencies, so the sound from an audible dog whistle will be heard at a greater distance than the sound from a silent dog whistle.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer