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Help! Dog whistles

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Howdy1

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Good afternoon,

It is cold and blowing today so I am in the house getting ready for the dreaded tax appointment. But on a more positive note I got some new sheephearder's dog whistles in the mail.

I have been practicing with them in the house and can get them to work but with no consistency. I thought there might be some dog trainers on here that could give me a few pointers. Maybe I just need to practice, practice, practice.

I have been dog training with voice commands and she is getting good with hand signals. When I am gathering cattle she will circle around up to a half mile and I have decided it would be easier to start whistle training than trying to yell commands to a dog so far away. My poor lungs are starting to hate me. Plus when she stops for some instruction and can't hear me she will usaully lay down waiting for a command or let me catch up.

She is doing well for a 18 mo old pup and it is the first one I have trained myself. I would really like to attend some clinics and get even better at it. I really enjoyed watching her mature and her only weakness is my ability to train her. I think she has taught me as much as I have taught her! It is amazing what a good dog can do for a man's spirit. Not to mention she is amazing help when I am by myself.

Thanks for you help!
Howdy
 

tta stockdogs

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Here is a site that I refer people to for blowing whistles...gives real good diagram of tongue position and all. Moving tip of your tongue up and down just the slightest varies the tone. Just takes a lot of practice to get consistent.

http://www.wellscroft.com/farm/dogs/dogsWhistle.html
 

GM88

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Lots of practice is needed too. What kind of whistles did you get cause I find some easier to work with then others? Hard to keep yelling soft for the dog like whistles at long distances. Hope it starts working for ya.
 

Howdy1

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I ordered a plastic sheepherders whistle that you can find anywhere on the net and I ordered a metal one. I think they are both generic and I am getting better at them just don't know what I am doing. Is there a common code to using whistles for command such as away, come bye, etc. I guess what I am asking is, does everyone do their own thing or with a common "code" everybody could command each others dogs. Thanks for the help.

Sorry for being slow to reply but our computer was taken over by a virus and I have had it at the doctor for awhile.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Here is a whole page full
http://www.google.ca/search?q=cow+Dog+commands+using+whistles&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a
 

GM88

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I dont know how to send a link but if you go to border collies in action, Macrae's have a whistle tape that is pretty good. Gives you a few options for flanks if your dog is slow or fast , they are pretty standard. Most use the same lie down , pace , and walk up whistles.
 

tta stockdogs

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Not set in stone of what whistles to use for what but most probably use a long for down and a short for walk up. Flanks and others is what you can blow and makes sense to you. Of course more commands you have on your dog the more you got to come up with.
Just for an example here is what I use-you come up wiith your own
away=bobwhite
comebye=yoo hoo-high to low
out=e o e o e o-like the english siren
there=1sharp quick
walk=2 mediums
down=1 long
get around=come here dog whistle
look-girl wolf whistle
hurry up=4-6 quicks
hit=warbling whistle
Make a list of your commands then start trying to come up with whistles you can blow and dont make them sound to much alike...think length and tone. Just takes lot of practice and planning and time.
 

flyingS

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I just whistle and hope they do what I want them to. I don't have trial dogs and dang sure don't have the best dogs around, but they are better than most of the help I could hire. I do not trial my dogs and don't use them in the corral, I would like to have a dog that works in the corrals just haven't had the opportunity to train one. I try to keep things simple, mainly because I am not smart enough to remember a long list of commands and I usaully have just thrown my dogs into the fire so to speak. I have found that using a lot of commands is like micro managing an employee. If you are always telling a person what to do they will always wait for you to tell them what to do instead of thinking for themselves. My experience tells me that if you are always giving your dog commands that they will always wait for one, or want to be where they can take one. I often give my dogs a direction (command) and leave them alone and let them do their job and ask them to think their way through situations. I also expect them to get that job done. I feel like there is a big difference between a big country dog and a dog that works in the pens, probably not as much risk in losing control of a dog in the middle of a pasture.
Sorry for the long of subject reply. Just random thoughts and experience on trying to use different commands and numbers of commands you use. Fire away, I may have no idea what I am talking about.
 

WyomingRancher

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flyingS said:
I just whistle and hope they do what I want them to. I don't have trial dogs and dang sure don't have the best dogs around, but they are better than most of the help I could hire. I do not trial my dogs and don't use them in the corral, I would like to have a dog that works in the corrals just haven't had the opportunity to train one. I try to keep things simple, mainly because I am not smart enough to remember a long list of commands and I usaully have just thrown my dogs into the fire so to speak. I have found that using a lot of commands is like micro managing an employee. If you are always telling a person what to do they will always wait for you to tell them what to do instead of thinking for themselves. My experience tells me that if you are always giving your dog commands that they will always wait for one, or want to be where they can take one. I often give my dogs a direction (command) and leave them alone and let them do their job and ask them to think their way through situations. I also expect them to get that job done. I feel like there is a big difference between a big country dog and a dog that works in the pens, probably not as much risk in losing control of a dog in the middle of a pasture.
Sorry for the long of subject reply. Just random thoughts and experience on trying to use different commands and numbers of commands you use. Fire away, I may have no idea what I am talking about.

You make sense to me, and I agree 100% that you want a dog to be able to think on its own. I am trying to make a corral dog out of this new pup to replace Casey, but he has a very different presence... I think I'll let him grow up a little more before putting him into intimidating spots and risking getting him hurt.
 

Howdy1

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I agree on working a dog and letting it do its own thing. When driving cattle I like to stay back and in the middle and let the dog keep working acroos the back and keeping the flanks even. I guess I wanted to start using some whistle commands because this dog I have now is getting better at going out and rounding up cattle and bringing them to me. Lately as I have been moving cattle by myself I am really seeing the benefit to have a dog bring the stock to me. The problem is that as she works farther and farther away from me I can't (and don't want to) yell loud enough to give her directions or slow her down. I have taken the time to learn the vocal commands and now she has taken to hand signals. I feel that the whistle would be just another tool to make the dog even better.

When you watch dogs, and I mead good dogs, work with a whistle it is something to behold. I don't think that just goes for trial dogs but any dog working any space. But I think that to learn how is way more work and effort that most of us are willing to put in and it probably isn't all that practical for a dog that is just a part time employee, like mine. Anyway just my own ideas.
 

flyingS

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I am not down playing the use of a whistle. If I couldn't work my dogs off a whistle a lot of the time I wouldn't get much done with them. I have had my good female far enough out that I could see a couple of cows but couldn't tell she had found them until she started bringing them( I have 20/15 vision, they were a long ways away). I just think that a person has to be careful about how complicated they make things. I have shortened up the conventional come-by and away to me to just by and away, because I could barely spit the command out much less remember which direction it was when I started to use them. I never use hand signals. My experience is if you use hand signals your dog doesn't like to get out of sight. I do use body gestures such as an arm out or facing in the direction I want my dog to go after I have given a command in order to help them out a little when they are first learning. I am sure other people expect the same out of their dogs as I do and their are lots of people that will disagree with me. I work by myself lots and expect my dogs to replace a couple of good men. Therefore I expect them to handle all classes of cattle including pairs, no matter the age of the calf. When I gather I expect them to find cattle and bring them, all of them. Most of the time I will start them with a bunch and cover the rest of the pasture or leave a dog with a bunch and use another dog to gather. I have learned more from a good dog, than I will ever teach one. Number one is probably patience. Every time I have went to look for my old female boiling mad she has had cattle with her. Most of the time it has been a pair, she takes her time and brings them at their own pace without getting mama or baby stirred up. I have sat at a gate for close to an hour waiting for her to show up. Every time I have went to look for her she was just bringing a pair to the bunch or a cow that was by herself. Her value to me is priceless, I know a lot of hands that are not that reliable.
 

tta stockdogs

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I agree 100% on letting a dog think and work on its own. I give very few commands... most of the time, a flank command to start them out if I want them to go a certain way and a That'll do at the end. But I teach them many commands so if I need them in certain situations, I have them in my "tool bag".
 

Howdy1

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I agree with a lot of what you are saying Flying S. It sounds like we do things a lot of the same way. I too only use bye, away, down, stay, etc. I try to keep things simple also. We have alwasy tried to have a border collie/blue heeler cross because my Dad always wanted the dog to drive with him and didn't like a dog bringing cattle to him, they also seemed to have a little more aggression for moving groups of bulls. The dog I have now is predominately BC and has been a real joy in my life. I am going to get another dog that is all BC and I am going to get her from a reputable breeder/handler. I am interested in training stockdogs for trialing. It looks like fun and would maybe give me an interest other than working on the ranch all of my time. Just toying with the idea as don't know much but would like to go to a few clinics and test the water.
 

redpale

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I know this is a little late but better late then never. Whistles are an important part of working together. They help the hanfler as much as the dog. My dogs don't like to be hollared at no matter how far away they are so the whistle is the ideal way of giving directions.

The best way of becoming proficient with whistle is practice. I use to have one in my mouth anytime I drove anywhere. Drove my wife crazy ... it must have worked now I go where I'm going with just me and the dogs:)

When I am helping folks train their dogs I insist that when first starting out they keep there hands in their pockets. The last thing I want is the dog looking back for instructions. If they are doing that they are not looking at what they are suppose to be doing.

I have been writting a training blog aimed at the working dog rather then the trialling dog. It may have some use to you although I have not tackled whistles yet http://workingstockdog.blogspot.com/

Practice practice practice and oh by the way ... better have a rag with you ... it gets kinda messy at first
 

OldDog/NewTricks

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Years ago I use to make whistles out of Beer Bottle Caps by
pounding them flat
Folding them in Half
Punch a hole through both sides in the center near the middle
About 1/4" inch up from the fold...
 
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