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Do Dog Whistles Work? What’s the Deal?

By: PetPlace Staff

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What Is a Dog Whistle and Does It Work?

Francis Galton invented the dog whistle, also known as the "silent whistle" or "Galton's whistle", in 1883. (By the way – Galton was the cousin of Charles Darwin.) He invented this device to test differential hearing ability.

The dog whistle is a type of high frequency whistle that creates sound, which is outside of the frequency humans hear but within the hearing frequency of dogs. Typically, a dog whistle is within the range of 16 to 22 kHz. The pitch of the whistle is so high that people can't hear it – but dogs can.

What is it that makes a dog whistle different from an ordinary whistle? It's the whistle's pitch.

A whistle's pitch changes based on the length of its tube. The shorter the whistle's tube, the higher the sound it produces. A dog whistle produces such a high-pitched sound because its tube is only about an inch long.

How are Dog Whistles Used?

Dog whistles are commonly used to get a dog's attention. It is also an effective training tool. A trainer may use it to call a dog or demand attention but others may use it as a way to inflict discomfort for the purpose of behavior modification.

Tell me More

Dog whistles can range in price from a couple of bucks to hundreds of dollars, with features such as adjustable sliders for active control of the frequency produced. You can find these whistles in many hunting stores, pet stores and online. These whistles are often made of metal. To produce the desired effect, you must hold the whistle to your lips and blow air through it.

There are also electronic devices that emit ultrasonic sounds. Some of these electronic devices can be coupled with bark detection devices that work to curb barking behavior.

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