Using a whistle?

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Using a whistle?

Postby mankybat » 04 Feb 2011, 14:21

Hi Folks!

Been posting on the behaviour board about my 2 terriers, after doing some training with a Pro, my lady is anxious on lead with other dogs, and I guess is generally a nervous pooch. We are going to work on her on-lead problems, she is ok off lead when with her brother, but both will bolt towards other dogs and pester them (i think with her its a case of I'll get them before they get me) If its a friendly dog its fine, once she's got over it they will chase eachother and play. But I don't want to get into (any more) trouble with other owners because my dogs have caused problems with a few :roll: The male only runs to play, and alone is a great dog, but when he sees that his sister is upset, then they pack up and problems develop. They won't actually fight with other dogs, but she does make a point of nipping :|

Anyway, I was wondering if I could use a whistle to help with their recall. Although im going to put the dogs on a lead when others come into the area to avoid confrontation (at least until she is feeling more positive about other dogs), I want to have something in place so that if they are away from my side mooching, I can call them back without fail before they bolt to the other dog. I was thinking of using the whistle to signal either that there was the fabbest treat imaginable waiting for them. They aren't toy-motivated so that doesn't work.

Generally the female is great at recall, she doesn't stray far, but when other dogs approach she gets frightened and like I say, runs to warn them off before they "get her" lol. She does do well on social walks with other dogs, but is only relaxed when off lead. We have tried the usual distraction and "watch me" methods, but its 50/50 as to whether they listen or not. Usually the desire to run to the other dogs far surpasses the desire to stay with me and eat chicken! The male is a bit more ignorant, he does mooch off but will come back when he's finished marking every single blade of grass in the area.

Are there any treats out there that your dogs totally adore? Something else I could try in case they were bored with the usual chicken or sausages? The smellier the better.

I'm gonna have a word with our Pro on Sunday during our social walk and get some more ideas, just thought I'd see how your experiences with whistles have gone?

Cheers :)
Pam :)
Owner of siblings Nibbler (female) & Kookie (male) aged 4ish
Mixed terriers
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Re: Using a whistle?

Postby LeviBevi » 05 Apr 2011, 20:41

hi

I am sure that the Pro will be great help
I have always trained my lot to body position,word and whistle and they are interchangable/supportive of each
so a whistle at distance will make them look at me and the body language reinforces the command to recall.
to train I just do all three evertime I want that command
so I say the dogs name 'COME',make a T shape with my body, and whistle once
this way LB who only had 'come' as a command soon learnt to associate the other two to mean the same thing.
- the only problem was that my OH can not whistle! :goofywink:

As for treats - I tend to carry a variety.
currently we are using carrots quite a lot - but as back up I carry a few pieces of meat
and with terriers I always suggest that you make sure that they know you have the good stuff before they go off.
mankybat wrote:Usually the desire to run to the other dogs far surpasses the desire to stay with me

this can be a problem especially with terriers - what you have to try to do is be more exciting to be with rather than the other dog. I know with my two they only greet and meet other dogs if I speak to the person/dog first. I get them to heel, watch me etc. Initially with LB I would make him sit with his back to the dog and ask the other person to carry on without meeting so that he could learn that it was my decision to meet rather than his. Other times I would allow him to meet, remember to supervise the meetings and do not allow too much excitement. it should be relaxed and fun!

wishing you all the best
LB :wave:
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Re: Using a whistle?

Postby Martin » 06 Nov 2012, 15:34

Whistles are great in dog training and I use them a lot myself too. Levi's comments are excellent, and I do likewise with body position especially as my oldest GSD is now half deaf!
The only thing I would say is not to view the whistle as anything special as far as teaching the dog anything new. It is just a trigger, like any other, word commands, hand signals etc all work the same. So you have to train the whistle the same as you would train any other command trigger. The only specific benefit of the whistle over other triggers, well in fact two benefits are:

1. Distance it can be heard
2. The unicity of the sound, i.e. the dog wont hear it by accident in human conversation so this tends to help keep the command fresh and keep the dog responsive to it.
A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. - John Holmes

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Re: Using a whistle?

Postby memphis » 21 Nov 2012, 03:39

My terrier is very treat orientated indoors, however outdoors he isn't interested. I had a lot of problems training his recall until I hit on what really motivated him above all else - the most annoying squeaky toy you can imagine (a rubber space hopper that is very LOUD)
This has been his training reward, only ever used outdoors and works like a charm.
McNulty - 3 year old cairn terrier.
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Re: Using a whistle?

Postby Martin » 21 Nov 2012, 12:11

Ha ha, perfect example of lateral thinking!! Nicely done!
A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. - John Holmes

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