How to Use a Dog Whistle for Recall

A dog whistle is a brilliant training tool for practising your dog’s recall. As our furry friends can hear higher frequency pitches better than human voices, they’re much more likely to respond to the piercing sound of a dog whistle, especially if they’ve roamed far away or you’re in a noisy environment.

However, there’s a common misconception that dogs will inherently know how to respond to a dog whistle.

As with any other training tool, your dog will first need to understand what it’s being used for – in this case, the whistling noise means for them to return. 

With Yappy’s step-by-step guide, you’ll soon learn how to use a dog whistle for recall. So, grab your dog whistle, some dog treats, and pop your training cap on!  

How to Use a Dog Whistle in 7 Easy Steps

1. Make sure you have plenty of dog treats ready

When teaching your dog something new, it’s important to have plenty of dog treats or your pup’s kibble to hand (maybe even some yummy chicken to entice them further).

2. Start your training where there aren’t many distractions

It’s best to start your training at home where there are fewer distractions.  Blow the dog whistle as you would if out with your dog, and after a few seconds give your dog a treat and praise them. Repeat this step many times. The idea is that your pooch will associate the whistling sound with good things, like being fed and loving words.

3. Wait until your dog looks away from you, then blow the whistle

Next, wait for your dog to look away from you and then blow the whistle again. If your dog looks at you, reward them with a treat and praise them. Repeat this step several times.

4. Extend the distance within the home

Now it’s time to take the training further afield, but still within your home. When your dog is in another room, blow the whistle. If your dog returns to you, reward them with a treat and praise.

This step will teach your dog to come to you when the whistle is blown. You could even blow the whistle each time you fill your dog’s bowl with food – this will help cement the idea that the whistle means good things are coming!

5. Practise outside in a quiet area

Once you feel like your dog has a good understanding of what the dog whistle is used for, it’s time to move things outside.

Use the whistle when your dog is in the garden (or another quiet, enclosed area) and isn’t paying attention to what you’re doing. Reward your pup well when they return to you.

If your pup gets excited by toys more than treats, then reward them with their favourite toy and play with them when they return to you. Repeat this step several times.

6. Practise outside in a quiet but public area

Now it’s time to use the whistle in public, but in a quiet and confined area like a park or field with no other dogs or people around.

Wait for your dog to walk a short distance away from you and then blow the whistle and reward them for coming back to you. If they don’t come back to you straight away, then try running away from your dog – this should help encourage them to come to you.

If your dog really struggles with distractions when outside, then you can practise this step while your dog is attached to a long lead.

7. Build up the distance outside

Once you’re happy with your dog’s progress at recall over a short distance, you can gradually build up the distance and try using the whistle in areas where there are more distractions.

Remember not to push your dog too hard, be patient and always reward your dog for coming back to you.

Top Tips for Using a Dog Whistle

Patience and consistency are key

Remember that it may take your dog a while to teach them each step. Try not to rush each step as you run the risk of your pup not fully understanding what the whistle means.  

Try not to overload your dog with information

Just spend a few minutes at a time when whistle training and always end the training session when they’re doing well (and before they’re bored)!

When rewarding your pooch, their treats only need to be small

As you’re likely to give them lots of treats during their training, breaking them down into small pieces will stop them from overindulging.

Once you’re using your dog whistle in public, you may be competing with lots of distractions so keep your dog’s favourite treats to hand, something that’s guaranteed to get their mouth-watering, like fresh chicken or liver paste!

Yappy’s Adjustable Dog Whistle

Now that you’ve read how to use a dog whistle for recall, it’s time to put your pooch to the test!

If you don’t have a dog whistle already, then check out Yappy’s variable dog whistle, which allows you to adjust the whistle’s pitch to suit you and your dog for clear, pitch-perfect communication.  

Walkies with Yappy

Make sure you’re fully kitted out for your next walkies session with the pup! At Yappy, we have a wide selection of dog walk essentials, including leads and collars, poop bags and walking bags. Or why not keep yourself hydrated while out exercising with your own water bottle or travel mug?

If you’d like to know more about what Yappy offers, don’t hesitate to contact us at

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