The Full Facts About If Dog Whistles Work Through Walls

A dog will hear the whistle through walls if:

  • It is correctly pitched for that dog
  • They have been trained to respond to it

A dog whistle isn’t ideal for adjusting bad behavior in a neighbor’s dog. Even if they hear it, they won’t know how to react to it.

Training a dog is essential if you are going to have proper control over its actions. There are several ways you can do this, but a dog whistle is one of the most popular.

Before you choose a training method, you’ll want to make sure it works in a variety of circumstances. Since dog whistles aren’t designed to be heard by humans, you might wonder whether it could be heard through walls. You are probably going to use it indoors as well as out, after all.

If you want to know the answer to this question, keep reading. I’ve spent a lot of time digging up information on this topic. I know more about dog whistles and their pros and cons than I ever knew before.

I even bought a dog whistle a while ago and have been experimenting with it. The training continues… I’ll let you know how it goes.

Put simply, if you’re thinking about using a whistle and wondering if you can use it while in a different room to your pooch, read on.


Dog Whistles Can Be Heard Through Walls

Not by you, perhaps, but your dog should hear it with no problem. The dog whistle has been around for over 100 years, and in that time, it has been used to train countless dogs to obey specific commands.

It can be used in many places too, especially where your dog might be off-leash, and you may wish to bring it back, such as in:

  • Parks
  • Forests
  • Fields
  • Other outdoor areas
  • The yard if you’re indoors and want to call it in for dinner!

It’s fair enough to wonder whether your dog would hear the whistle if it was indoors and in another room to you, where the door was closed between you. That might be unlikely, but it could occur.

When you think about it, though, many outdoor areas present barriers between you and the dog. A well-trained dog should respond and return to an owner blowing a whistle in the middle of a forest if that is what the dog has been trained to do. It doesn’t matter how many trees are in the way.

The same applies with a wall, fence, or other barrier. Even if you have a wall made from breezeblocks, you shouldn’t experience any problems. If the dog has a clear path to come to you and you have taught it to do this, that’s what it’ll do.


A Dog Will Only React to a Whistle If It Has Been Taught to Do So

If you are thinking about buying a dog whistle, you should realize that it is not a miracle training device. It doesn’t do all the hard work required to trigger your dog to perform whatever you want it to do.

Dog whistles can be used to teach a dog to do all kinds of things, such as:

  • Returning to you when off the leash
  • Sitting on command
  • Running in a certain direction (think of sheepdogs)
  • Stop barking

Since it can hear that whistle even through walls or doors, you just need to teach the dog to respond to the sound of the whistle in whichever way you desire. Depending on the dog, this can take anything from a few days to a few weeks.

My dog, Freya, was so fast when I taught her to ring a bell whenever she wanted to go outdoors to do her business in the yard. It took just a few short days for her to get it. Potty training took way, way… longer to start with, though.

She learned to sit in about an hour (or at least it felt like it), but laying down took much longer to master. You simply never know how long it will take – even with the same dog. Freya is proof of that.

Some people when using a dog whistle think the dog didn’t notice that they had used it.. The

reason is that the dog may not understand it should be alert to that noise. Again, it comes down to training.


Make Sure You Adjust the Pitch of the Whistle First

Did you know different dogs react to different pitches? I must admit I didn’t know when I first started looking at this topic. That means any dog whistle you get should be adjustable (most good ones are, though).

The whistle I bought in the photo below has a rubber sleeve on it. I slid that off to reveal the metal whistle. One end can be unscrewed, so I just adjusted it by tiny amounts, blowing on the end with each attempt. Freya just stared at me to start with. I’m sure she thought I was mad.

She’s probably right.

Anyway, after six or seven attempts, I made another tiny adjustment and blew it again. This time, her head cocked to one side. I knew I had the correct pitch, so I slid the rubber casing back on and kept it handy for training sessions.

I have no doubt that if I’d just tried the whistle in another room to start with, Freya wouldn’t have responded to it. However, because I took the time to find the correct pitch for Freya’s fluffy ears, it worked.

But only when I had started to train her, of course.


Humans Cannot Hear Dog Whistles, So Don’t Test It with Another Human

Normally if you test how loud something is and whether it can be heard from a distance, you’d do so with another person. You cannot do this with a dog whistle, since they likely wouldn’t hear anything even if you were in the same room.

Dogs can hear sounds that are pitched a lot higher than you or I can hear. If you blow a dog whistle hard enough, you are likely to hear the air going through it rather than any sort of whistling sound.

However, you shouldn’t need to blow it that hard for it to be useful. If you are concerned about living somewhere with thick walls where your dog may not hear the whistle, you shouldn’t need to worry. Unless you live in Fort Knox, the whistle should work fine.

Look for a reaction from your dog. That’s the key. Remember, though, training is the element that will bring your dog running to you – if you have trained them to do so on the whistle’s command.


Dog Whistles Aren’t Recommended for Problem Neighborhood Dogs

Often  frustrated people whose neighbors have dogs that continually bark, want to know if the dogs would stop barking if they used a whistle.

The typical response confirmed that dog whistles would only work when coupled with solid training methods. These methods must be repeated until the dog gets the message and stops barking whenever desired.

Since a neighbor’s dog is not your own, you wouldn’t be able to achieve the result you want by using a whistle. As one person said, it is for training – it is ‘not a silencer’.

The idea behind using a whistle in this way does make sense. If you live next door to someone with a dog that constantly barks, you may think about sitting in your living room and blowing the whistle. The dog will hear it through the wall, but your neighbors won’t.

Think about it, though – if the dog has not been trained to respond to that call in a specific way, it won’t know what to do. It might stop barking long enough to wonder what the noise is. Other than that, there is every chance it will soon start up again.

If something is making the dog bark incessantly, resolving that issue would be the only way to resolve the barking.


If You Use the Whistle, Some Dogs Might Stop Barking

This seems to be the exception rather than the rule, though. Remember, dog whistles can be adjusted to change the pitch of the sound the dog hears. When you first buy a whistle to train your own pooch, your first task is to play around with it to get the right pitch.

Some pitches will be ignored by your dog. You need to try small adjustments until you find the one that your dog responds to. The same would apply with another dog.

There is a chance – a slim chance – that a neighbor’s dog might hate the sound of the whistle if you manage to pitch it right. If that happens, it could be enough to stop the barking.

However, even then, you would need to repeatedly use it enough to eventually put the dog off barking at all. You also run the risk of annoying your neighbor if they realize what you are doing. You are taking control of the dog – not something that is in your remit to do.

In short, then, dog whistles can indeed work through walls and in numerous other places too. Whether the dog reacts to it or not, well… that’s up to you to sort out.


Writer: Allison Whitehead

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