Home' Smart Farmer : April 2012 Contents April 2012
HIS is the 20th article in the Working
Dog series, which started in June 2010,
and during that time, most have con-
centrated on knowing, selecting, housing, car-
ing and training your dog.
In other words, the emphasis has primarily
been on your dog.
Now it's time for you to have some training
and go up a level to become a better dog han-
dler and a better stock handler. And you can
do it without stress.
It's time for you to 'whistle' while you work!
This skill in very important, which is why I
am going to dwell on this next month as well.
This month we will discuss:
• The benefits of using a whistle
• How to select the right whistle
• Learning to blow the whistle
By now you know that a good stockman
opens gates or drafts stock while standing in
front of the stock. Your dog brings the stock to
you. You're the leader.
In that position, loud verbal commands or
hand-waving will inevitably cause the stock to
become hesitant, stop the flow or react in
many different ways.
But they generally ignore quiet whistles. You
can stand right in front of them at the drafting
gates and, by using a whistle, keep them flow-
ing straight past you -- no stress.
If you are instructing your dog, I can guar-
antee that, at some time, you will change the
inflection of your voice, or the volume. That's
When a situation becomes stressful, your
voice will get louder, or quicker, or harsher.
Your dog doesn't understand human emotion
and sees this as panic.
The result? Your dog will try to please you by
going faster, barking, looking at you more
often or a number of other outcomes. All this
is completely unnecessary and adds stress to
the stock, the dog and not surprisingly, you.
How do you avoid it? Answer -- use a whistle.
One of the advantages of using a whistle is
that you can't get emotion into a whistle. It
stays the same. The outcome is that your dog
won't panic, the stock will stay calmer, and
you will be in control.
Experiments show that once you have mastered
the art of using a whistle, you can train a dog
much faster. You may be surprised to know that a
dog will learn up to 60 per cent quicker if he is
trained using a whistle -- a remarkable difference.
Knowing this, it becomes obvious why shep-
herds have been using whistles for hundreds of
Kelpie in full flight -- backing sheep, and below,
at work during a three-sheep trial.
Even from a distance, your dog can hear
your whistle much clearer and understand it
much easier than when you cup your mouth
and shout at him.
The simple act of cupping your mouth and
increasing the volume actually distorts the
sound the dog hears -- the last thing you want.
This is another reason why shepherds have
been using whistles for hundreds of years!
Making a selection
If you're one of those terribly clever people
who can easily whistle all sorts of tones and
trembles, that's wonderful. Provided, of
course, that you don't have to put your fingers
in your mouth to make the sound.
If you've got your fingers in your mouth, it
defeats the whole purpose as you can't use
your hands to open gates, draft stock or do
anything else for that matter.
Let me give you an example. Say you have
just caught a fly blown sheep and want your
dog to stop work and come back to your side.
What are you going to do? Take your hands
off the fly blown sheep and put your fingers in
your mouth to whistle him back?
Actually, you'd probably shout at him but
we'd be back to where we don't want to go.
So, you need to find a whistle that can do
the job. Some of the things to consider are
whether it fits in your mouth properly and if it
can rest on your bottom lip and stay there even
while you talk (you'll find out why later)?
Is it too heavy to use for prolonged periods,
or too light? Is it made of plastic? Can it be
washed in boiling water? Can it make many
tones in different pitches?
Over the years, I have tried countless whis-
tles, from bent-over tins and silent whistles to
plastic, jade, aluminium, copper, riveted,
non-riveted, adjustable ... the list goes on.
All of them had one failing or another.
I couldn't find a good one made in Australia so
I embarked on a journey to try and design one.
It took me some 11 attempts to make the
Australian Deefa Whistle, which fulfills all the
requirements listed above.
The Deefa is now sold all across Australia
and overseas. You'll find it at the Working Dog
Centre, if you're interested.
Learning to whistle
•I know that this sounds pretty basic but
when you buy your whistle, it should come
with a set of instructions on how to place the
whistle in the right position, how to hold it
the right way and how to make a sound.
At first, you can concentrate on being able
to make a sound each and every time you
place the whistle in your mouth.
Once you've got that little skill down pat,
you can go to the next stage.
•Your next step is to learn how to play a
tune, something simple and one that you
Some examples -- Happy Birthday, When the
Saints Come Marchin' In, Twinkle Twinkle. It
might be best if you don't try Beethoven's Fifth
or Advance Australia Fair!
Why learn to play a tune, you ask?
Well, it trains your tongue to move and make
the notes without you consciously thinking
• Designing whistle tones for your dag
• Getting the right mind set
• Training your dog using a whistle
• Need to know more?
Whistles blow away
stresses of training
Loud voices cause panic
Learning up to 60pc quicker
Buy the right fit
Hay, Oaten, lucerne, pollard Small Animals ( Ducks Guinea Pigs Chickens Rabbits)
Dog & Cat Food • Frozen Meat
• Large Selection of Dry & Bulk Biscuits • Worm & Flea Treatments
Trailer hire, G Pool supplies
ANGLE VALE SEED & FODDER
Lot 207 Angle Vale Road, Angle Vale
Ph: 08 8284 9313 Mob: 0438 828 020 www.anglevaleseedandfodder.com
Cattle & Horse Feed
FOR ALL YOUR
DOG & CAT
Ben Page's "Natural Method" works with the dog's natural instinct. The 2-day course
gives you a system to develop all-rounders or 'utility' dogs -- dogs that can work in the
paddock and the yards. Learn the leadership rules of the dog pack, recall, stop, side
commands, casting and much more. If you don't have a dog then ring us.
www.workingdogcentre.com 08 8667 5484
"Thanks for helping me to understand
the dog's way of thinking. Hopefully I
can now work with them instead of
"Your system is so clear and concise."
"I can now understand our dog back
home. He was right and we were
Working Dog Centre Training Course
Please book quickly as Ben's courses are always popular...places are limited
5th & 6th May 2012
Links Archive March 2012 May 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page