10 Best Dog Whistles for Training and Hunting

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Dog whistles are a great addition to your dog training kit, and once you’ve trained your dog using the whistle, it will make recall and following other commands much easier in the great outdoors.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Dog Whistles for Training and Hunting:

In this guide we’ve explored a range of different types of whistles, some manufactured specifically for dog training, and others more widely used in survival or sports scenarios, but still very useful for dogs.

We’ve also created a “buyers guide” with all the information you need to know when considering which dog whistle to buy, the different types of whistle and how to train your dog using a whistle.

Read on to find everything you need to know to buy a whistle to train your pet or take them out hunting.

Top 10 Best Dog Whistles in 2021

IMAGE PRODUCT
Acme 210.5 Dog Whistle
  • High pitch
  • Sturdy construction
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Acme 212 pro-Trialler Dog Whistle
  • Hard wearing and durable
  • Consistent pitch
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Benbulben high pitch whistle
  • Lightweight
  • Durable and long-lasting
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Acme 535 Silent Dog Whistle
  • Adjustable frequency range
  • Elegant shape and design
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Fox 40 Mini CMG Finger Grip Whistle
  • Very loud and penetrating
  • Finger grip for easier holding
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Storm Alert Survival Whistle
  • Works even when wet
  • Very loud and piercing for long distances
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Acme Thunderer
  • Durable
  • Easily heard over wind
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SportDOG Brand Competition Mega Whistle
  • Great for long range
  • Directional control
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JESOT Dog Training Whistle
  • Adjustable frequency
  • Almost noiseless for humans
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Mighty Paw Training Whistle
  • Almost no sound to humans
  • Full training instructions
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1. Acme 210.5 Dog Whistle – Best for Spaniels

Acme 210.5 Dog Whistle

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The Acme 210.5 dog whistle is a great all-round dog whistle but is particularly popular with Spaniel, Labrador and Retriever owners and trainers, perhaps because these breeds respond particularly well to the frequency at which this whistle resonates – 5900Hz.

Acme is believed to be the oldest commercial manufacturer of whistles, dating back to the 1880s, and is a trusted British brand. You’ll see that four of our top whistles for dogs come from Acme. 

This is not an ultrasonic whistle, operating at a medium/high pitch well audible to the human ear and is quite loud, but not unpleasant for the user. It travels well over a distance, so is suitable for both close work and for communicating with your dog over a distance.

The Acme 210.5 comes in sturdy plastic with a split ring to attach it to a lanyard or keyring. It is available in a wide range of colors and is not overly expensive.

Pros
  • High pitch
  • Quiet for the user
  • Inexpensive
  • Sturdy construction
Cons
  • High pitch whistle could irritate the neighbors if used at home.

2. Acme 212 pro-Trialler Dog Whistle – Editor’s choice

Acme 212 pro-Trialler Dog Whistle

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Our top choice is another pealess whistle from Acme. The Acme 212 pro-Trialler Dog Whistle is a really popular one with professional trainers. It seems to do particularly well with Pointers, Setters, Retrievers, Labradors and most Terriers.

The main secret to its success is the consistency of pitch. No matter how hard or soft you blow, while the volume will change, the pitch will not. This means that your dog will always recognize their own whistle. In addition, it’s a nice and even tone. It can be very loud, with good penetration even in wooded areas and a long reach.

The Pro-Trialler is made from hard-wearing, durable plastic in a range of colors and comes with a split ring so you can attach it to a lanyard or wrist strap (also available from Acme).

Pros
  • Holds tone over distance – good for distance work
  • Good range
  • Not bad for human ears
  • Hard wearing and durable
  • Reasonable price
  • Consistent pitch
Cons
  • Too loud for use in the garden

3. Benbulben high pitch whistle – Best budget buy

Benbulben high pitch whistle

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The Benbulben High Pitch Whistle comes in a helpful twin-pack, one orange and one black, allowing you to keep one spare at home or for you and your partner to have one each. They come with woven nylon lanyards and key rings for a choice of how you will carry them around without losing them.

The whistles themselves are just 90g and 80mm long, so they are easy to carry and comfortable to use. They are made from high quality and durable plastic which means they should last a long time.

As a pealess whistle, this one produces a loud, high-pitched tone with a good range. A great, inexpensive option.

Pros
  • Twin pack
  • Come with split rings and lanyards for easy carrying
  • Lightweight
  • Durable and long-lasting
Cons
  • A bit loud for urban areas.
  • Not completely consistent in pitch.

4. Acme 535 Silent Dog Whistle – Best for urban areas

Acme 535 Silent Dog Whistle

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Our third option from Acme and the first ultrasonic whistle in our review is the Acme 535 Silent Dog Whistle, designed by Acme back in 1935.

The first thing to say is that silent dog whistles are not silent. All of them emit some sound that humans can hear. It’s usually a bit like somebody blowing air through a straw, or a light whistling, certainly not enough sound to irritate the neighbors or draw attention to you. 

However, the dogs in your vicinity will certainly be able to hear it. The sound it generates uses frequencies above the human hearing range, but well within the range for dogs (5.8 – 12.4KHz). In fact, depending on the weather conditions and terrain, dogs may be able to hear the whistle from as much as a mile away.

The frequency can actually be adjusted on this whistle using a screw-piston on the base of the whistle, so you can find the frequency that works best for your dog. In general, larger dogs respond best to the lower frequencies (longer whistle), and smaller dogs to the higher ones (shorter whistle). Instructions are provided for working out the optimum frequency.

The 535 is built to last, from nickel plated, rust resistant brass and the protective cap helps you to keep it clean and hygienic. The whistle and lid come attached by a chain so you can link them on your wrist to make a bracelet.

We found that this whistle is great for a lot of dogs (and has even been used for training dolphins and whales at SeaWorld), but it doesn’t always work that well for dogs with diminished hearing. 

Over long distances it also doesn’t perform quite so well in the wind. We think that this whistle is brilliant for urban areas, where with lots of people in close proximity and background noise, but where you are not likely to be working at great distance, you want to get your dog’s attention without annoying all your neighbors.

Pros
  • Adjustable frequency range
  • Can’t be heard by other people around you
  • Adjustable frequency
  • Hard-wearing brass construction
  • Elegant shape and design
Cons
  • The most expensive whistle we are reviewing
  • Not always suitable in high wind
  • Not always appropriate for hard of hearing dogs

5. Fox 40 Mini CMG Finger Grip Whistle – Best for the woods

Fox 40 Mini CMG Finger Grip Whistle

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The Fox 40 Mini CMG Finger Grip Whistle may be small, but it sure is mighty. Many referees in major sports organizations like the NFL, NBA or FIFA choose to use the Fox 40 for its clear, loud sound that cuts through all the extra noise in the stadiums, and it definitely penetrates dense foliage and cuts through the rustling of trees.

This particular version of the Fox 40 has three modifications:

  1. The CMG stands for Cushioned Mouth Grip – this makes it more comfortable to hold in your mouth over long periods of time, and obviously also means no teeth marks in the plastic.
  2. The “Mini” part tells you that it’s slightly smaller than other Fox 40 CMG versions, with a smaller mouthpiece. This also adds comfort, though some people might prefer the larger version.
  3. The Finger Grip is a modification that has the whistle mounted on a large ring that you can slip over your fingers for easier holding. If you don’t like the idea of the finger grip, you can get the same model of whistle without it.

We’ve already established that this whistle is very popular with sports referees, but what about dog owners? The shrill, penetrating, power of this pealess whistle means that it can easily be heard by your dog over crashing waves and deep into forests so it is brilliant for distance work in dense cover, for example with retrievers or duck-dogs.

In fact, the consistent, loud tone can reach as much as 115 decibels. There are no moving parts, to increase the volume of the whistle, you simply blow harder. The loud volume does mean that this whistle is less useful in built up areas or with a nervous dog.

Pros
  • Very loud and penetrating
  • Works well even when wet
  • Consistent tone
  • Cushioned mouthpiece for comfort
  • Finger grip for easier holding
Cons
  • Only has finger grip, can’t wear on lanyard
  • Too loud for close-quarter work or urban areas without annoying the neighbors

6. Storm Alert Survival Whistle – Best for really remote areas

Storm Alert Survival Whistle

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As you can tell from the name, the Storm Alert Survival Whistle is no toy. This is a serious whistle for serious times and may be a bit too much whistle for many dogs and situations. Marketed as a survival whistle, this bad boy creates a booming sound which can reach in excess of 120 decibels and carry for at least a mile.

Made in America, the Storm Alert is a popular choice for the police and the navy as well as extreme mountaineers and rescue workers to attract attention in an emergency. It even works underwater so is popular with scuba divers and watersports enthusiasts too.

The pealess design comes in an unusual but ergonomic shape to make it an easy fit for hands and lips. The shape also reveals the secret behind the sound, as a unique (and patented) resonance chamber inside the whistle both amplifies the sound and also protects the whistle from the elements.

The whistle comes in a set of three, with quick release lanyards, so you’ll always have a replacement to hand.

The thing with this whistle is that it’s louder than most people will need. In a close training situation, or anywhere near other people, this whistle will be too loud – it could startle the dog rather than give a command, and deafen anybody within reach. 

However, if you are taking your dog on extreme adventures with you and you want to be able to communicate with them over very large distances, then this whistle may be just what you need.

Pros
  • Works even when wet
  • Very loud and piercing for long distances or to hear through trees
  • Lanyard and bright colour make it difficult to lose
Cons
  • Too loud to use in urban areas or at close quarters

7. Acme Thunderer – Best pea whistle

Acme Thunderer Plastic Whistle

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Our final offering from Acme is their traditional pea-whistle, the Acme Thunderer Whistle, a durable, economical and very popular choice.

The Acme Thunderer comes in a range of materials and sizes, but interestingly the plastic ones are more popular with both hunters and sport referees, as they are more comfortable in the mouth, even though the nickel plated brass ones look nicer. The small Acme Thunderer 560 (in plastic) is the most popular.

The thing about a pea-whistle is that you are able to create a lot of different sounds, including a trill, so you can create a much wider range of complex commands to communicate with your dog, just by blowing in different ways. These different command possibilities make it a popular choice for training – and it’s been used with pointing and gun dogs, and even to train dolphins!

The high-pitched sound can reach pretty high volumes, very impressive for a pea whistle. And though the range is reduced when wet, it does still work even when full of water. The only drawback is that even with the no-stick cork pea, in very cold conditions, your saliva can freeze the pea to the inside of the whistle, preventing it from working.

  • Durable.
  • Economical price
  • Very loud
  • Durable plastic
Pros
  • Good price
  • Good range of tones and whistle types for different commands
  • Easily heard over wind
Cons
  • Even with no-stick pea, it can get stuck in freezing weather

8. SportDOG Brand Competition Mega Whistle – Best for directional control

SportDOG Brand Competition Mega Whistle

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The SportDOG Brand Competition Mega Whistle is a popular choice amongst hunters. It comes in two varieties, one with a pea and one without. Both are designed for maximum volume for the dog, but not for the person blowing the whistle. The horn shape directs the sound forward and it has a good range.

In the pea-whistle version, you need quite a big blast of air to get the pea moving and bring the volume up, but once up there, your whistle can be heard over long distances (in the right direction) and even in wet and windy conditions. 

Pros
  • Great for long range 
  • Directional control
Cons
  • Needs quite a big blow to get the pea moving and bring up to volume
  • Doesn’t have quite the range of tones

9. JESOT Dog Training Whistle – Best for full training kit

JESOT Dog Training Whistle

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The JESOT Dog Training Whistle offers amazing value for money as for a very reasonable price you get two ultrasonic dog whistles, two clickers and two lanyards – a real money saver. 

The whistle is heavy duty, with an adjustable frequency between 5.4KHz and 12.8KHz, producing a blast that’s audible to dogs but almost silent for humans.

Pros
  • Comes in twin pack with clicker, lanyard and wrist strap
  • Inexpensive
  • Adjustable frequency
  • Almost noiseless for humans
Cons
  • Not completely silent

10. Mighty Paw Training Whistle – Best for your comfort

Mighty Paw Training Whistle

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The Mighty Paw Training Whistle is an ultrasonic whistle with a slim, sleek design. The sound it emits is of such a high frequency that, like other ultrasonic whistles, it is easy for dogs to hear, but not for humans.

The whistle comes with two different attachments, a soft neck lanyard or a retractable belt clip and also includes full training instructions.

Pros
  • Almost no sound to humans
  • Choice of attachments
  • Full training instructions
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Not all dogs appear to hear this whistle

Best Dog Whistle Buyer’s Guide 2021

Why use a dog whistle?

Whether you’ve got a dog yet or not, if you don’t already use a dog whistle, you may be wondering what the purpose is. After all, you’ve got a voice!

In one way you’re right and dog owners and trainers have been using their voices to communicate with their dogs for hundreds of years. A dog whistle is certainly not a necessity. However, if your dog is further away, distracted or there’s a lot of background noise, then you need to make your signal louder and clearer. A whistle allows you to do this.

In addition, if you are on a walk in the park, where your dog is having a great time running into every corner and playing with all his friends, you may be issuing a lot of commands, which can be quite wearing on your voice.

The other reason that a whistle can be a good substitute to your voice is that your voice can betray your emotion, whereas a whistle can’t. If you are worried, angry or frustrated this will come through in your shouted commands, and your dog may be worried to come to you. A whistle is more consistent and will always give the command in the same tone.

The only negative to training your dog to follow whistle commands is that, if they become more used to listening out for the whistle than your voice, then the day you forget the whistle you are going to struggle to communicate with your dog. The best compromise is to train your dog to both voice and whistle commands and use both frequently. 

We’ll talk more about how to train your dog to the whistle later.

Different types of dog whistle

There are three main different types of dog whistles. 

Pea whistle

If you shake this whistle, you’ll hear the pea (a small ball, usually cork) rattling around inside; you might even be able to see it if you peer through the air hole at the top. The sound is made by the pea vibrating around in the cavity.

The main difference in sound is that with a pea-whistle you are able to trill and make different sounds. This does give you the ability to create a wider range of complex commands to your dog.

The down side of the pea-whistle is that, even with supposedly “anti-stick” peas, in freezing conditions the saliva coating the pea will freeze and stick it to the inside of the cavity, preventing it from moving and sounding. In general, they are also not quite as loud as pealess whistles.

Pealess whistle

With a pealess whistle there is nothing to stop the airflow, so you get a loud and consistent sound every time.

Ultrasonic (or silent)

Some people make the false assumption that all dog whistles are the silent types, and you’d be surprised how many dog whistles are returned to shops because they make a noise! This is not the case and there are both positives and negatives to the silent dog whistle. 

The ultrasonic dog whistle issues sound waves at a frequency that is beyond most human’s hearing range but is still within the range heard by your dog. In fact, some dogs with very poor hearing, can hear and respond better to an ultrasonic whistle.

They are generally not actually silent but issue a sound similar to blowing through a straw, or you may hear a quiet whistling sound. This is much better if you’re in a busy place and you are a lot less likely to irritate your neighbors. Your dog will be able to hear the sound loud and clear.

What to look for when choosing a whistle

Robust design and manufacture

dog whistle

 You’re likely to be carrying and using your whistle very often and it will almost certainly get dropped. It needs to be a robust and durable plastic or metal.  

You may think that a whistle is a whistle, but to achieve a consistent sound you need precision manufacture. In general, the top brands are top brands for a reason when it comes to whistles.

Replaceable 

At some point your whistle is going to need replacing, usually because it’s got lost. If your whistle is one of a kind and you can’t replace it then you’re going to need to teach your dog to respond to a new sound. It’s better to have one that you can replace quickly and easily, or even better, have a spare. Also make sure that everybody walking your dog is using the same type of whistle.

Consistent pitch

You want a whistle that gives a consistent pitch so your dog recognizes the sound quickly. Some whistles can be adjusted to give slightly different pitches, which means that you can find the pitch that your dog responds best to (generally, smaller dogs respond better to higher pitch and larger dogs to lower pitch), but once you’ve got your pitch, keep it consistent.

Brightly colored

So you can find it when you drop it.

Attachable

Some of the whistles we’re reviewing today come with a lanyard to hang around your neck; some come with a split ring so you can attach your own lanyard; some come with a wrist strap or a retractable waist clip; one has a finger clip. You’ll need to find a way to carry your whistle with you easily to reduce the likelihood of losing it.

Sound that travels a long way

While sometimes you may be giving commands in your back yard or a small park, in general, you’d probably be using voice commands in those situations. You’re more likely to be using a whistle in the countryside, where the sounds of wind, rustling trees, waves and running water are likely to compete with you and your dog is likely to stray further away from you on your adventures.

Washable 

With everyday use in and out of your mouth, you’ll want to be able to wash your whistle to keep it hygienic.

Training your dog to respond to a whistle

dog whistle

A lot of people naively expect that if they blow a whistle their dog will magically come to them, or stop barking, or stop chasing the neighbor’s cat. This is not how whistles work. Countless dog whistle negative reviews are “it doesn’t work, my dog still barks”.

This is because the whistle is just another noise to a dog, and while it may temporarily stop them barking or chasing as they are startled by the sound, unless you have taught them what you want them to do when they hear the whistle, they will just carry on what they were doing afterwards. Continued use of the whistle in this way will just confuse and annoy them.

Imagine you are going about your business and somebody shouts “Hey!” at you. You’ll stop what you’re doing, look at them, and then with no further communication, you’ll get back on with your day. If you continually blow the whistle, but don’t follow this through by teaching the dog what you want them to do when you blow the whistle, that’s like somebody continually shouting “Hey” at you, and never explaining what they want you for.

If you wish to stop a dog from barking, you might consider a Dog Bark Collar instead, or try these methods.

So how do you train with the whistle?

The first thing to do is to train your dog to respond correctly to a small number of voice commands – “sit” and “here” are the most basic. When you say the word sit, help your dog into the sitting position and then immediately give them a reward. You are making a positive link between the word and action. Do the same with “Here”.

Next, choose a whistle signal that will go with each command. For example, one short blast for “sit”, and three short blasts for “here”. Every time you give your command word, also sound the whistle command, and praise and reward your dog for doing it. Soon you can try giving the whistle command without the word some of the time, to see if your dog has made the link.

After a while, you should be able to use the whistle or the word command for the same result, and the reward will usually be praise (with the occasional treat to keep them keen). 

If your dog appears to be somewhat selective about obeying commands (either words or whistles), then you need to go back to a bit more regular practice and plenty of treat rewards to put that positive link back in again.

Just to reiterate – using a whistle alone may briefly stop problem behaviors, but only because the dog is distracted. The dog must be trained (by using positive reinforcement) in what you want it to do when you blow the whistle – whether that’s going and lying in its bed, or coming to you.

Check out our guide to training a dog using voice commands

Final Thought on Choosing the Best Dog Whistle

The type of activity you undertake with your dog will have the most impact on which dog whistle you choose.

For those doing most of their training and dog exercising in urban areas, then almost certainly an ultrasonic whistle such as Acme 535 Silent Dog WhistleJESOT Dog Training Whistle or Mighty Paw Training Whistle is the way to go.

Some whistles are better suited for particular breeds, such as the Acme 210.5 dog Whistle and the Acme 212 Pro Trialler, which may have a bearing on your choice.

For best volume and a great distance in the outdoors, the Fox 40 Mini CMG Finger Grip Whistle, the Storm Alert Whistle and the Acme Thunderer 560 Whistle have the best penetration and reach.

Our pick of the whistles, though, is the Acme 212 Pro Trialler. The short, easy to handle and robust design, bright colors and high, even pitch all combine to make a great all-round whistle.

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