There are many reasons why people carry dog whistles with them, the most common is for recall training. But what else can these whistles do and can it be used to fed off a potential or ongoing dog attack?
Before we attempt to answer this question, we need to briefly remember what the dog whistle does – it creates a noise that dogs can hear but humans can’t. It’s not a pleasant noise or a terrible noise… it’s just a sound. The aim of a dog whistle is to help owners attach that noise to a behaviour – owners should be blowing on the whistle and if the dog comes back to you or performs a desired action then you would proceed to give them a treat.
Therefore, a dog whistle should be seen as a ‘signal’ to the trained dog and the dog only. To any other dog it is just a noise.
So can a dog whistle help to stop dog attacks?
It’s unlikely that a dog whistle would do anything to an aggressive dog looking to attack or in the middle of an attack. The noise a whistle makes isn’t really unpleasant to an untrained ear and is mostly effective on dogs who have trained to respond to that exact noise.
However, you can use a dog whistle to prevent dog attacks by having great recall, much better and at a greater distance than if you did not use a whistle at all. Therefore, despite the dog whistle being relatively useless at stopping a dog attack you can still use it to bring your dog to you quickly if you spot problems in the distance.
Something along the lines of a foghorn is much more likely to startle an attacking dog enough to stop them in their tracks. An other techniques you can use are lifting the hind legs of the attacking dog and of course picking your dog up and turning away.