What's the Difference Between Clicker Training and Whistle Training?

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What's the Difference Between Clicker Training and Whistle Training?

Most dogs, if not all of them, will need some form of training to help with obedience and to teach them good behaviour. There are two popular types of training for these purposes, the first being clicker training and the second is whistle training. Whilst they both perform similar functions, their methods are slightly different.

Clicker training is a much more modern type of training, mainly used as a means of re-enforcement for good behaviour and is a teaching method used by trainers to associate this good behaviour with a click and a treat.

Whistle training differs in that a noise is emitted from the whistle that only the dog can hear. With this type of training, whistles are generally used to call a dog's attention or as a sign of unhappiness with the dog's behaviour.

The rest of the guide will aim to discuss further differences and the individual properties of each type of training tool to help with a further understanding of this topic.

Clicker Training

Types of Dog Clicker

As far as dog clickers are concerned, there is not much diversity in the range of clickers available. This is mainly due to the fact that dog clickers only need to perform one simple function, to click.

There are a number of different colours available for dog clickers, a choice that is entirely subjective to the owner of the dog and the clicker.

There are also different types of button that are to be pressed down, especially in terms of size and shape. Clickers with differing styles of button can be found easily on auction sites such as eBay at sensible prices.

Dog clickers can also be found with a range of different tones of click included in the clicker. The reason for there being different tones is for the training of different ages and breed of dog. For example, when training a younger dog a tone needs to be used that does not harm the dogs ears, as they will be much less responsive. Another example would be that a different tone might need to be used for breeds of dog that are stubborn in behaviour.

Carrying a Dog Clicker

With dog clickers being fairly small in size, there are a couple of ways in which they can be carried around and kept close to hand to enable them to be found easily as and when a dog shows signs of obedience. These ways of carrying a dog clicker are as follows:

Type of Carrier



Dog clickers can often be purchased that incorporate a bracelet into the design. This means that whilst training a dog, the clicker is always close to hand. It is important that the clicker is always nearby due to the fact that some dog's behaviour can be unpredictable and the clicker needs to be fairly quick to reward the dog for good behaviour before the moment passes and the association between obedience and the click in the dog's mind stays connected.


Dog clickers can also be found that can be attached to keyrings. Dog clickers attached to keyrings can be useful, especially if a dog is being trained outside or being trained to behave when being taken on trips in a car. By keeping the dog clicker on one set of keys, the owner will also always know where the clicker is, another useful benefit.

Whistle Training

Types of Dog Whistle

As opposed to dog clickers having only one definitive type, dog whistles are available in a variety of different formats that provide a number of varying sounds and means of blowing the whistle. Here is a table providing examples of the main types of dog whistle that are available on the market for those wishing to purchase one:

Type of Dog Whistle


Lung Powered Whistle

Much like the majority of whistles, whether for dogs or not, these types of whistles are blown into to create a noise. However, it is the noise that is created that makes dog whistles of this nature so different. Instead of a shrill sound being emitted, the whistle is designed especially to release a sound that to the human ear, sounds like a hissing. However, the sound emitted from the whistle is at such a frequency that only a dog can hear it. This frequency can range anywhere between 23 and 54 kHz, which is way beyond the range of the human ear.

This is an advantage for a trainer as it means they can use the whistle out in public without causing grievances due to excess noise, all whilst being able to be heard by the dog. There are also dog whistles available on which the frequency of kHz can be adjusted to suit the use of the whistle. For example, some trainers use the whistle as a means of calling the dog back to them, whereas others use it as a form of punishment for bad behaviour.

Electronic Whistle

Whilst not as popular as lung powered whistles, electronic dog whistles are still used for very much the same reasons. They do not require the owner to blow into them to make the sound, but they still emit a noise of the same frequencies as dog whistles as a means of recalling the dog. In addition for use as a means of calling the dog back when off the lead, electronic whistles are sometimes connected to sensors on the collar of a dog. This is sometimes used as a means of preventing unnecessary barking and a training method for this concern. An ultrasonic sound is released that sets off the transmitter on the collar, alerting the dog to its behavioural issue.

Hunting Whistle

Hunting whistles are very similar to the standard lung powered whistles. However, they are used for different purposes. Whereas the majority of lung powered whistles are used as a means of recalling a dog back to the owner whilst off the lead, hunters often use hunting whistles for their dogs to stop them. The reason for a hunter wishing to stop their dogs is so that they can catch up on horseback before carrying on with the chase.

Hunters also using hunting whistles as a means of training dogs to send them in different directions alongside the use of hand signals. For these reasons, dogs used for hunting a trained in a completely different manner to those who are trained as household pets.

Buying a Clicker or Dog Whistle Online

The ideals surrounding the training of dogs and dog obedience are widely discussed online. Due to this, there are a number of online resources that one can use as a means of gaining more knowledge on the subject.

There are forums solely dedicated to debating and discussing the ins and outs of dog obedience training. Topics such as the best dog clicker to buy or the most suitable whistle for a certain breed of dog are frequently discussed. With this in mind, one may be able to gain some insider knowledge, brand recommendations or ideas of standard prices just by browsing these sites. There are also blog posts written that offer advice on the best way to train dogs in general. These can also be used as a guide as to which is the best product to purchase.

Also online are a number of retailers that specialise in the sale of dog whistles, dog clickers and other dog obedience training tools. These can also be useful as a way of gauging the standard prices that are offered for the likes of dog whistles and clickers. Understanding these prices can lead to the spotting of a more reasonably priced item of the same manner elsewhere, for example, an auction site such as eBay.

Buying a Clicker or Dog Whistle on eBay

Using an auction site like eBay can be of a great advantage to potential buyers of dog whistles and dog clickers. Not only does the site provide exclusive listings of dog obedience products, it also offers the opportunity for buyers to get these products at a price that may be considered inexpensive when compared to specialist online dog obedience product sellers.

eBay provides this opportunity by offering a number of buying options, such as, making aBest Offer (if the option is given by the seller), using theBuy It Now facility, or entering into an auction by placing a Bid. Before doing any of these, one should be familiar with the terms and conditions of both eBay and PayPal.

To view the listings of dog clickers and dog whistles on the site one should go to the Pet Supplies category of the site. From there, one should choose the Dog Supplies option and click on the Training and Obedience filter tab that should appear on the left hand side of the page. Once this has been reached, one can make use of the remaining filter tabs or type in search preferences into the keyword search bar to narrow the search to personal needs.

Remember to read the product description carefully and check the seller's transaction history to make sure the whistle that is being purchased is wholly suitable for use as a dog training whistle or clicker, as poor quality imitations can be harmful to dogs.


Therefore, there are a number of differences, as well as similarities between clicker training and whistle training:

- Sound: Whilst the sounds of the obedience tools differ (in that one is a click and one is a sound wave frequency that only the dog can hear), they are both forms of dog training that are quiet and do not affect those around them. These methods are preferred to the shouting at dogs, a technique that may cause annoyances to neighbours or other uses of public spaces.

- Use: This is where the main difference lies between the two. Clicker training is used as a means of positive re-enforcement, meaning that when a dog behaves well the clicker is used alongside a treat or reward several seconds later. On the other hand, whistles are generally used as a means of calling a dog back to the owner or as a means of punishment for excessive barking or bad behaviour.

- Product Range: Whistle training can be done with a variety of different products such as a hunting whistle, electronic whistle or a lung powered whistle. Meanwhile, clicker training is only performed with one style of product that only varies in colour or clicker design.

If one is looking to understand the differences between these two types of dog training in order to find the best product for training a dog, the best place to go for the buying of these products is eBay. The site offers the chance for sensible prices, all the while allowing buyers to perform transactions in a secure environment.

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