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Discussion Starter #1
With Wally's dog whistle on it's way, I've been trying to find information on starting him on learning whistle cues.

The basics of new info->known info->behavior (like teaching any new cue) and keeping it simple/short distance, etc, we're going to work with.

But are there some specific issues to watch out for with starting on whistle training, so to speak?

Figure this could be the next way we both try to grow and extend our communication with each other :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Whistle came and of course I wanted to get started right away.

And of course, I have a question already lol

I saw on a video where stopping the dog on the way in or out doesn't require him to sit, but a long tweet on the whistle is supposed to make the dog stop and sit. Hmm...that would seem inconsistent? I probably should make sure he sits...or would using it as a 'stay' be good enough and if he sits, he sits, but the most important thing is that he stops moving?
 

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What kind of whistle did you get? I have used a shepherds whistle some in herding. They are practically a musical instrument and really allow you to talk to the dog. The biggest drawback is that there is a learning curve. I always hung one off my rear view mirror and practiced "whistling to the oldies" when the dogs weren't in the car with me.
My favorites are the NZ greenstone whistles, but they are pricey http://www.kiwitreasure.com/903-new-zealand-greenstone-shepherds---dog-whistle-pendant.htm
 

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I got this one: Markwort Acme Silent Dog Whistle. I grabbed it for $8 and evidently, others did too since it's not there anymore.

I hear you about the learning curve! Trying to get it consistent is a challenge. I think I'm getting better with it, but Wally will be the judge of that :D

Right now, we're working on one long = "stay" and short-short-short = "recall/front". I have a feeling I'm going to need a notecard because if this is something take we can get working, I can see myself going totally "morse code" on the dog with the whistle permanently around my neck! :D From English to English-Spanish mix to Morse Code?

We did have a success moment today. There were some crows in a field and Wally saw them. I'd say we were about 30 feet away. The field is safe, not near a road, contained in the neighborhood, etc. I gave him the "go get it!" and, of course, he took off after the crow. From about halfway the distance, I gave the long tweet. He stopped (facing sideways, WTF LOL) and looked at me alertly. He got a click and a big jackpot. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another run through tonight. I'm noticing a few hiccups. It seems he's not quite gotten the idea that the whistle is the signal. I can tell he's playing off me/other body cues. For example, if I cue him with the whistle to stay while we're walking, about 50/50 he'll keep walking because he's focused on my moment and is probably keyed on either my voice or my stopping movement. I'm cutting out the voice except to praise him or to give him cues there's not a whistle signal for (like 'finish' to get him beside me or a stay while already sitting so I can back up for another 'front' attempt).

Interestingly enough, the whistle for 'stay' while he's sent out to go get or do something is working VERY well. I find that interesting. I would have thought that would be the hard part!

The 'front' is either slow in coming (if I wait him out) or I still have to use my voice to signal it.

Given that, I turned to the hand signals I do have. So when I give the whistle, I throw the hand signal right at the end or just before the end. This seemed to help him, especially for the stay while walking. I think we'll go with that and see if that doesn't accelerate the synergy between us and get snappy responses. He's definitely trying hard to learn. :)
 

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We just had a practically PERFECT night. I don't know what goes on in his brain (I wish I was a fly on the neuron), but he was on point tonight when earlier this afternoon, it was, honestly, bad and felt like we had completely fallen apart.

The only hiccup tonight, though, was that at first it looked like I had lost the stay whistle, but a bit of a reminder seemed to clear that up (I gave the stay hand signal after blowing the whistle for a long tweet and give it while still blowing the long tweet). After that, practiced the recall whistle a few times (and sometimes he wanted to come even before the whistle) and used lemon cake as his reward (I would say that helped, but he was doing perfectly even before the cake came out). Added some distance as well and it didn't have an impact, even at night and with me going into a darker area.

Gave him some sniff time after those successes and we kept walking.

Then I randomly threw in the stay whistle while walking beside me. This is where some of the reminding had to come in for that, but it was quick. From that point, I could use the recall whistle to bring him in, and it worked. Continued the walk. Sent him to sniff around to pee and then I could even use the recall whistle then at random times while sniffing, and he came back even then. Never got that snappy of a response before. Earlier on, he would "blow it off" (no pun intended). Of course, he got a big cake reward and then I sent him back to sniff.

Lastly I got him wound up and sent him "out" to find this invisible thing, he charged out and I blew the stay whistle. He stayed, but then wanted to wander back to me. So a little review for that a couple times, and then tried it again. Blew the stay, and he stopped (and again with the sideways facing. WTF is that?!). Big time jackpot and I let him go pee on something (a big treat as well for him evidently LOL).

Then, on the way back home, did one last stay while walking. Perfect. Then one more longer whistle recall. Flawless again. Big jackpot and that was it. He was literally bouncing around me like a little kid, too. It's so funny to see his reactions when he does really well. It's like a victory dance :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks like Wally is discriminating pitches now.

I wanted to send him to the porch and call him off. I gave the recall whistle and it didn't work. He didn't move, but he was looking and listening intently at me. He started barking (since I did teach him that in case we get separated for some reason and I don't know where he went - he goes to the porch and barks for either someone to let him in or for me to follow his bark), sitting down, laying down - trying to figure out what it meant. I was going to tell him (use the old recall cue), but then I changed the pitch back to about "1 1/2" (halfway between the first and second notch on the whistle) and gave the whistle cue again and he flew off the porch like something bit him on the butt.

So why was it on the different pitch? Long distance recall. Turns out that either I'm not blowing it right for that pitch at long distance or the pitch sounds different to him at distance and he doesn't know what that means. So lower the pitch to about 2 1/2 (half between the 2nd and 3rd notch) and gave the whistle and he came charging at me as per his usual recall, hit the breaks and fronted nicely just as usual.

That was interesting to see this reaction from him. Seems like this is working like that for the stay cue, too. Seems like how I give it sometimes and/or the pitch makes him think I gave the recall instead of stay. Perhaps I need to blow the stay like I'm mad at him or trying to blow a spitball at him (with more force).

So, needless to say, we're staying with this as I need to practice these two calls much more, but it's good to see him make that discrimination.
 

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Looks like Wally is discriminating pitches now.
This. I think.
I use three different whistle cues but only one is mandatory, so to speak. For some unknown reason my main means of recalling him is a long, two note whistle. And it's not that it doesn't work when the pitch is different; but his response is much more hurried and immediate when I whistle loud and strong. On the flip side, the times when the recall hasn't worked was for two reasons: my lips were dry and it sounded very weak; and he was chasing a deer or something and I shouldn't have tried recalling him in the first place.

But the other two are, as you put it: short-short-short-short-short (as many times as I want to actually) to remind him to catch up. Usually when he's behind me on a trail sniffing something. And a 'where-am-I' note in the same tune as how I say "where am I?" when we play hide and seek.
At one point one short blast meant Sit, and it worked well. But I reverted back to the verbal and visual commands.

Sounds like Wally is picking it up fast KB :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We tried in the rain/windstorm yesterday (until we both were ready to get out of the rain), and it went well, considering.

Of course, him being wet put him in zoomie mode (watching him run around the field just to poop was a sight). On the other hand, those recalls were definitely fast - though he was reluctant to sit at front like he usually does (understandably, though he did it eventually when I held out on the reward until he did).

The worst thing was my stupid decision to bring out bread balls for treats. He actually ate the soggy bread (surprisingly) but what a mess lol. They were dry in my jacket pocket but DUH my wet hand is going to be going in there to get them out. *rolls eyes at my own idiocy*)

I do have a question, and this might be more about stay on recall (to stop him) than anything else, but how can I:

a) bring him closer, but not all the way in
b) "explain" this to him so it's clear and he won't get confused
c) not have this cause him to "second guess" recall (and any other 'return-to-me' action, like after a retrieve) and slow down his response and movement speed

The last time I tried drop on recall (without the whistle but using voice + hand signal for lie down/drop), "b" happened more and then eventually "c" kicked in when he understood, which caused me to stop it. I had no good way to explain to him when I was and was not going to throw in a drop - so he was moving slower, anticipating the drop.

On the plus side, he stops himself if I try to recall him from across a street. He'll come to the curb, hit the breaks and bark. (Not sure why he threw the bark in the there, didn't teach him that LOL, just the stop at the curb, which he obviously generalized over the years)
 

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The only whistle cue I have with my own dog is just whistling from my mouth in a certain way and he comes running.
He doesn't come if you don't do it the right way lol
 

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The only whistle cue I have with my own dog is just whistling from my mouth in a certain way and he comes running.
He doesn't come if you don't do it the right way lol
I think that's a thing. Soro's primary recall is a whistle note. But when my lips are dry or something... it's not that he won't come, but he won't be as FAST to come. I liked the idea of a whistle recall rather than me shouting 'COME' if he's far. But I should either be working on this or have a visual cue or something.
 

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Sorry to play necromancer, but it's a tough choice between necromancy or starting a thread about a thread that I've already started...

Got back into the whistle training and it seems we're both rusty. I'm either confusing him and/or I still suck with making consistent sounds and pitch durations.

You can tell he still sorta gets it, but yeah, we've regressed.

I'm going to have to find a way to make some sort of connections. He gets it really fast when I cue stay with the whistle while we're walking. But in other situations, especially if he's coming back in to me, forget it (seems he's so intent on getting back to me that all else goes by the wayside).

Would it be worth it to keep doing the stay-while-walking just to keep it going? Also using it when he does the sitting when we stop? It doesn't train in context, but it should strengthen the overall association, I'm hoping.
 

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Sorry to play necromancer, but it's a tough choice between necromancy or starting a thread about a thread that I've already started...

Got back into the whistle training and it seems we're both rusty. I'm either confusing him and/or I still suck with making consistent sounds and pitch durations.

You can tell he still sorta gets it, but yeah, we've regressed.

I'm going to have to find a way to make some sort of connections. He gets it really fast when I cue stay with the whistle while we're walking. But in other situations, especially if he's coming back in to me, forget it (seems he's so intent on getting back to me that all else goes by the wayside).

Would it be worth it to keep doing the stay-while-walking just to keep it going? Also using it when he does the sitting when we stop? It doesn't train in context, but it should strengthen the overall association, I'm hoping.
We use a regular whistle (like gym teachers use) for all the guide dogs. it means "come, sit in front of me."

I LOVE IT. pavlov was a great guy- it works like a charm.

3 short blasts when they get fed (starts from before we get them at 8 weeks) and every meal until they graduate.

you whistle 3 times at a meeting and every dog starts slobbering. I love it.
 
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