Training your dog to respond to a dog whistle can be a literal lifesaver. If you’re at the park or another crowded place, being able to make a sound that will cut through all the other noise — and one that your pup will unmistakably recognize as coming from you — can allow you to communicate with your dog and prevent her from running into the street or getting into another dangerous situation.
There’s one big problem with buying a whistle, though: if most of them sound the same (or make no sound at all), how can you tell which one is the best? Rather than dragging your dog to the store and blasting her ears with a variety of whistles, you can simply read the reviews below.
We’ve ranked ten of our favorites, based on criteria like effectiveness, ease of use, and more.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Dog Whistles – Reviews 2020
1. Michael Josh Outdoor Whistles – Best Overall
If you like to let your dog go off the beaten path, you can rest assured you’ll always get him to come back with this Michael Josh Outdoor Survival Whistle.
It boasts double tubes that enable it to produce 150 decibels’ worth of sound, enough to be heard from quite a distance (although you have to blow pretty hard to produce that much racket). This can also help emergency personnel locate you if you get in a jam.
While you can use it anywhere, it really shines in camping situations. It doesn’t have a built-in pea, which leaves no room for mold to grow. This lets you use it in any conditions, even if you get a little dirty along the way.
It’s also easy to keep with you, as it’s attached to a keyring. The company includes a carabiner and a lanyard, so you can keep it close by while also keeping your hands free.
Even if you’re never in a survival situation, this whistle from Michael Josh outperformed any other we tested, which is why it’s our #1 pick. It’s convenient, effective, and rugged, which is about all you can ask for from any dog accessory.
2. SportDOG Special Whistle – Best Value
Good luck overlooking the SportDOG Special, as the bright orange color helps it stand out in just about any situation. This is a great whistle for training hunting dogs, and it’s designed not to freeze up in any conditions, either, so you can take it with you on a winter hunt without worrying about it failing at an inopportune moment.
It produces a low-pitched noise, which is easier on everyone’s ears and also allows the sound to carry over greater distances. This makes it an unobtrusive model for use on hiking trails and at dog parks since you can call your pooch without disturbing all the humans in the area.
The low pitch makes it a good model for training puppies, as you can get their attention without blasting their eardrums.
Our only issues with this whistle are the fact that it’s made from flimsy plastic, which limits its durability, and it doesn’t come with a lanyard, which makes it harder to carry around. Luckily, it’s inexpensive, so if it breaks or falls out of your pocket, you can replace it without breaking the bank, which is why we feel it’s the best dog whistle for the money.
If you want an option that only your dog can hear, the Acme 535 is a silent model that utilizes high tones to attract your pup’s attention.
Despite the fact that you can’t hear it, it’s still extremely powerful, able to be heard up to two miles away. This makes it ideal for those who let their dogs roam around off-leash, or for users in rural areas who let their dogs explore at their leisure.
We’re not sure how much you value attractiveness in a dog whistle, but this is the classiest option on this list, as it’s made of sleek stainless steel. You’ll pay a little extra for that attractiveness, but it also makes the whistle tough and durable.
The Acme 535 doesn’t ship with a lanyard or keyring, but it does have an attached cap. This can help keep the mouthpiece clean — but only if you can get it to stay on, which is a chore.
We believe this is the finest silent whistle on the market, and one of the best whistles, period. However, it’s hard to justify paying so much when the two models above it function just as well for a fraction of the price.
4. Forepets Professional Dog Whistle
The Forepets Professional earns its name, as it’s an excellent training tool to stop barking and other problematic behaviors. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use it to that end, as the manufacturer includes a helpful training manual.
Busy trainers will also like the thick lanyard it comes with, as well as the locking nut feature on the cover that keeps the cap in place. This lets you get down and dirty with your dog without worrying about losing your whistle.
However, much of the training regimen rests on finding the right pitch for each command, and doing so is no easy task. This limits how many commands you can teach your dog on the whistle, while also increasing the degree of difficulty.
It’s also not easy for many dogs to hear, especially if they’re barking at the top of their lungs. As a result, you may have to blend it with other training techniques.
If you can get your dog to respond to it, however, you’ll likely find it an invaluable training tool. It would need to be a little more versatile than that to earn a higher spot here, though.
5. Ortz 45 NC Dog Whistle
The Ortz 45 NC can be adjusted to multiple frequencies, each of which can be paired with a different command. This lets you string together multiple orders, giving you full control over your dog without having to raise your voice. Since you can’t actually hear any of the frequencies, however, you may have difficulty pairing them consistently.
Its range is similar to that of a regular whistle (one you make using your lips). While that’s not overly impressive, this whistle is designed more for close-range work, such as at home or in a crowded dog park.
The flip side to that is this doesn’t make a very strong impression, so it might not be enough to stop extremely problematic behaviors. If your dog is completely focused on barking or chasing a squirrel, for example, this isn’t going to be powerful enough to break his concentration.
As long as you don’t expect too much of it, the Ortz 45 NC can be a valuable training aid. Just plan on keeping it at home.
6. Acme Shepherd Mouth Whistle
The Acme 575 Shepherd is different from many traditional whistles you may have used in the past. Instead of holding it with your lips, you insert it fully into your mouth and manipulate it with your tongue.
The upshot is it allows you to create a wide variety of pitches, which then increases the number of commands you can issue. Learning to do this can take some time, however, and many users may get frustrated before seeing any results.
Another issue with it is it’s one-size-fits-all and, well, not all mouths are the same size. It may be too large for many users, making it uncomfortable to use. It’s also made of nickel, and some people are allergic to that particular metal.
If you ever get the hang of it, the Acme 575 Shepherd is extremely versatile with a good range. However, dog training is hard enough without having to learn an entirely separate skill, and we wonder how many pet owners will be dedicated enough to learn how to properly use this.
7. Logan LWA1 Sheepdog Whistle
The Logan LWA1 was designed by professional sheepdog handlers — people who need to communicate with their dogs quickly and clearly over wide stretches of land. As such, it’s a professional-grade whistle (at a premium price).
Made from high-grade alloy aluminum, it’s sleek and durable, and comes with an instructional manual on how to use it. Of course, that may be a red flag for some users — do you really need a manual to use a whistle?
For the Logan LWA1, you do. It can produce quite a few different pitches, but convincing it to do so isn’t easy, so those instructions will likely get dog-eared pretty quickly.
It’s extremely loud, to the point that you may get all the dogs in the neighborhood talking back to you (not to mention a few of the neighbors). Unless you’re a professional shepherd, you can likely find easier-to-use whistles that are much cheaper.
8. SmartPet Dog Whistle
The SmartPet Whistle claims to be ultrasonic, but it’s clearly audible to human ears — and it’s pretty loud, too. That may put many users off from the very beginning, especially if they ordered it because they were hoping for a discreet solution.
It’s loud enough to work well in noisy, raucous environments, or with dogs that are hard of hearing. However, anything that can be heard over a ton of background noise is likely to ruffle a few feathers, and if you have a deaf dog perhaps whistle training isn’t the best idea.
There isn’t a lot of nuance to the pitch, either, so it’s best used as an attention-getter. That puts you in an awkward spot in regards to training, as you would then need to have another technique at the ready once you’ve stopped your dog in his tracks.
Still, stopping a dog cold does have its uses, especially with certain hyper-focused behaviors like aggression or chasing prey. Other whistles can give you this same amount of attention-grabbing while offering multiple other uses, though, which is why the SmartPet is near the bottom of our rankings.
9. THINKPRICE Dog Whistle
This option from THINKPRICE is extremely small, which makes it easy to carry around — but also easy to lose in the heat of training. It breaks into three pieces as well, giving you even more opportunities to misplace something.
You can adjust the pitch by twisting the rod in the middle of the whistle, but doing so is often difficult to do, especially if your hands are full with leashes or other accessories. Users with large hands will likely find it frustrating to align properly as well.
The THINKPRICE requires you to put your lips in the exact right position. If you move them too far up, it will drown out the noise, whereas keeping them too far back limits how much breath gets through. It may not seem like much, but it gets annoying when you’re constantly having to adjust in the middle of a training session.
It’s hard to justify recommending the THINKPRICE over some of the more user-friendly options on this list, but its diminutive size gives it value as something you can keep stashed in your car or bag. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to justify more than a #9 ranking.
10. Mighty Paw Training Whistle
The Mighty Paw was created with the needs of professional trainers in mind. It’s strange, then, that it should be mediocre at the basic function a whistle can perform: actually whistling.
It makes more of a quiet warble than a recognizable whistle, and while this unique sound may be distinctive, it’s not easy to hear. That’s especially true in loud or distraction-filled environments.
In fact, many dogs don’t react to the sound at all, even if they do hear it. You’ll almost certainly need to pair it with some sort of reward, like a treat or clicker, which diminishes its value as a standalone training tool.
On a positive note, it comes with two different attachment options: a lanyard and a retractable belt clip. That’s undoubtedly convenient, but does little to overcome the Mighty Paw’s other shortcomings.
If you want a convenient and effective way to train your dog, we recommend using the Michael Josh Outdoor Survival Whistle. It’s loud, perfect for use while camping, and works well in extreme conditions.
A cheaper option that’s nearly as good is the SportDOG Special. While it’s made of flimsy plastic, it’s nevertheless excellent for training hunting dogs, and its vivid coloring makes it difficult to lose. Its low pitch can be heard from quite a distance as well.
We hope the reviews above make it easier for you to find a whistle that your dog will respond to, so that you can begin a successful training program. If nothing else, you can use one of the silent whistles to drive your annoying neighbor’s dog crazy.
Featured image credit: StockSnap, Pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Dog Whistles – Reviews 2020
- 1. Michael Josh Outdoor Whistles – Best Overall
- 2. SportDOG Special Whistle – Best Value
- 3. Acme 535 Dog Whistle – Premium Choice
- 4. Forepets Professional Dog Whistle
- 5. Ortz 45 NC Dog Whistle
- 6. Acme Shepherd Mouth Whistle
- 7. Logan LWA1 Sheepdog Whistle
- 8. SmartPet Dog Whistle
- 9. THINKPRICE Dog Whistle
- 10. Mighty Paw Training Whistle