How To Train a Dog European Style With a Silent Whistle

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Silent dog whistles are a popular European training choice. They've been around for a long time and started out as a way to issue commands while hunting, when it's not a good idea to make much noise. Dog whistles aren't truly silent, but they make a sound that only your dog can hear. A whistle works just like any other training aid. You can use it to reinforce obedience commands the same way you would nonverbal signals, clickers or other methods.

Step 1

Begin whistle training when your dog already responds to verbal commands. Starting too early will simply confuse your dog. Your pet should already understand voice commands and obey readily.

Step 2

Introduce the whistle into regular life. Keep your dog on a lease or check cord while training. Give a normal verbal command, but blow the whistle at the same time you do it. If you are consistent, your dog will associate the whistle with the command. One blast usually means “sit,” three to four repeated blasts means “come here,” and one long trill signals a change in direction.

Step 3

Keep signals simple. A whistle is a means to silently communicate with your dog over long distances. It shouldn't be used for complex commands.

Step 4

Reward your dog each time it responds to a whistle command. You can use a dog treat or verbal praise. Reinforce the whistle commands with positive associations for faster and more effective training.

Step 5

Cease to issue verbal commands once your dog responds to the whistle regularly. Just use the whistle command. Continue to reward good responses. Issue commands from longer distances or out of sight.

Step 6

Discontinue treats. Expect your dog to respond to whistle commands alone, without a reward. By this time, the response should be quick and reliable, even when your dog can't see you.


  • Every dog can hear your whistle and will respond.

  • A whistle will not stop your dog from barking.


  • Start whistle training in a low-noise area.

  • You may need to tune your silent whistle to make the right sound.

  • Use a lanyard to help keep track of your whistle.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Silent dog whistle