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Why Do Dogs Come To You When You Whistle – 5 Reasons

Many people have used a whistle as a quick and effective recall tool for their dogs, especially those who have working dogs frequently outside. However, this skill is not inherently known by dogs, and it takes some training to teach them this skill. Still, many dog owners may be asking themselves: why do dogs come to you when you whistle? 

Dogs will initially come to their owners when they whistle because they are either curious or startled by the noise. This behavior can be trained through rewards, praise, and treats. Eventually, the dog will learn that a whistle means to return to its owner’s side. 

In this article, we will explain all of the reasons dogs come to you when you whistle. In addition to this, we will also be answering some other commonly asked questions and providing you with some extra things to consider about this topic. Let’s get into it! 

Reasons Dogs Come To You When You Whistle

There are five main reasons why dogs come to you when you whistle. The first two causes are natural initial reactions to the whistle sound, and the last three are reactions to a whistle that are learned throughout the training process. Here are the five reasons dogs come to you when you whistle. 

They Are Curious About The Sound

Puppies will likely be curious when their owner whistles and their first instinct is to usually go over to where the noise was made to check things out.

This is a great reaction to this event because it means that your dog is interested and confident enough to explore its surroundings even when new noises occur. In addition, this is a significant first step to training your dog to come to you every time that you whistle. 

The Sound Surprised Your Dog

Other dogs may not just be curious by the sound, but they might be surprised or even startled by it.

If this is the case for your dog, you must desensitize your dog to the sound slowly over time to teach them that the sound means good things. You can do this by whistling and immediately giving your dog a treat multiple times in a row. 

Your Dog Has Learned That He Gets Rewarded When He Comes To You When You Whistle

This is why dogs come to you when you whistle after being trained a bit. Dogs should learn early into the recall training process that coming to you when you whistle is very rewarding and exciting.

You can make this process rewarding for your dog by giving them lots of praise and some of their favorite treats when they come to you when you whistle. 

Your Dog Has Learned That A Whistle Means That It Is Time To Come Home

Many people train their dogs to come to them when they whistle because it is a great way to tell them that it is time to return home. This is because dogs can hear the sound of a whistle over large distances.

Dog whistles are a popular tool among hunters and working dogs because dogs can still hear the whistle, but it does not disturb other people or animals such as birds. 

Your Dog Has Learned That a Whistle Means They Should Go Back By Your Side

In addition to being a signal for a dog that they should return home, a whistle can also be a great tool to get your dog back at your side quickly.

This can be great for people like hikers who frequently hike with their dog off-leash. Having a way to get your dog back to you quickly and efficiently is an essential tool that ensures your dog’s safety and the safety of others. 

Do Dogs Like When You Whistle

For many dogs, a whistle is an exciting sound. Their ears may perk up, and they may appear even to be curious as to where the sound is coming from. However, some dogs can also be afraid of the whistle, especially if you are using a loud whistle instead of whistling without one.

A great way to get your dog to lose their fear of the whistle is to slowly desensitize them to the sound. We will explain how you can do desensitization training a little later on in this article. 

Does Whistling Bother Dogs

Whistling doesn’t bother most dogs, especially if they have been introduced to the sound in a positive way. Although some dogs can initially be afraid of a loud whistle sound, this usually goes away after desensitization training. 

Are Dog Whistles Bad For Dogs 

No, dog whistles are not bad for dogs, and they shouldn’t hurt their ears, especially if you are using one outside.

However, you should still refrain from using one all of the time, especially if your dog isn’t responding to it like you want them to. This is because overusing a training tool when you do not see results will eventually render them useless due to not knowing what the sound means. 

Will A Whistle Scare A Dog

Sometimes, a loud whistle can scare dogs, especially if the dog becomes anxious or fearful around other loud sounds. Don’t worry if you would like to use a whistle for training purposes and your dog seems to be afraid of the sound. This is usually remedied by desensitization training. 

How Far Away Can A Dog Hear A Dog Whistle

It is estimated that a dog can hear a dog whistle about 400 feet away. However, dogs that are hard of hearing will likely need to be much closer than this to hear a dog whistle. 

Why Do Dogs Act Weird When You Whistle

Sometimes dogs will act strangely when you whistle because they are confused about the sound. This is especially common in puppies and adult dogs who have never heard a person whistle before. 

Things To Consider

There are some other things that you should consider about dogs coming to you when you whistle. This includes how you can desensitize a fearful dog to the sound of a whistle and how to train your dog to come to you when you whistle. Here are some things to consider about your dog coming to you when you whistle. 

How To Desensitize Your Dog To Sounds 

You can teach a dog that a whistle is a good sound fairly easily through desensitization training. For this training, you will need the sound on something to change the volume, such as a TV or computer and some of your dog’s favorite treats.

Start by playing the sound at the lowest volume possible and give your dog a treat. Once he seems comfortable after playing the sound again, you can increase the volume by one point and reward your dog with a treat. 

Keep doing this slowly, and always remember to only increase the volume once your dog does not seem bothered by the sound.

If you increase the volume and your dog is startled or afraid from it, go back down a point and continue giving your dog treats when you play the sound, and try again with the louder volume later. 

How To Train Recall With A Whistle

Training your dog to come to you when you whistle can be a great tool, especially when your dog is frequently far from you outdoors.

However, it is essential to note that a whistle recall command is no replacement for a verbal command, so you should teach your dog how to do both if you are looking to train your dog to come to you when you whistle.

Here is how to train your dog to come to you when you whistle in a few simple steps. 

Step 1: whistle; when your dog comes over to you out of curiosity, praise him and reward him with a treat. Repeat this a few times to show your dog that coming to you when you whistle is a rewarding experience. 

Step 2: Add some distance between you and your dog. Start small with just about a foot of distance, and then whistle. Again, when your dog comes to you when you whistle, praise and reward heavily. 

Step 3: Continue adding distance a little bit at a time. Slowly work up to the farthest distance your dog will usually be away from you. 

Step 4: Eventually, you can phase out the treats once your dog is always coming back to you when you whistle, but only when you know that your dog will come back to you when you do this 100% of the time.