Do dog whistles hurt dogs? (+5 tips)

This blog post will answer the question: “Do dog whistles hurt dogs?”. It will also cover topics such as why dogs do not like high-pitched noises, whether dog whistles are good for training, and sounds that only dogs can hear. 

Do dog whistles hurt dogs? 

DailyPuppy claims that whistles are not necessarily harmful for dogs but when whistled in an improper manner, dogs can have a serious problem with it. Compared to humans, dogs have a much more powerful and sensitive hearing. This means that while we cannot hear the high-pitched squeal of the whistle, dogs will not too. 

Sounds that do not bother us can be annoying, and at some point painful to dogs. If these sounds are heard by dogs indiscriminately, they will feel unnecessary discomfort. 

Dogs are able to hear sounds of a much higher frequency than humans can. Humans can hear sounds around 23 kilohertz but dogs can hear sounds up to 45 kilohertz, which is basically twice the frequency we humans can hear. 

Dogs have much more powerful senses of hearing than humans so dog whistles that some of us will not even notice can be painful for dogs especially when used in an abusive manner. A loud noise blaring in our ears would cause us pain and blowing the whistle too close to dogs will similarly hurt it. 

Consult a professional trainer or veterinarian who can advise you on responsible use of the whistle. 

Why don’t dogs like high-pitched noises? 

Wag! states that dogs have roughly three times the hearing capability of a human. Some sounds may seem acceptable to us, but these sounds can already be deafening to dogs. Their wider range of hearing capability allows them to hear sounds at a higher frequency then the human ear can perceive and the cone-like shape of the ear allows them to focus and zone in on specific sounds which may be far off. This being said, it is easy to see why dogs would fear and run from different devices in your household that produce a lot of noise. 

Vacuums are commonly known to frighten canines but it can be anything from a lawnmower to fireworks that might specifically set your dog off. Providing a relatively noise-free environment or playing soft music to cloud out the noises from these devices can go a long way to reducing your dog’s stress or fear when these things are going.

Are dog whistles good for training? 

Yes! Dog whistles are good for training but how your dog feels should also be taken into consideration. Like other dog training techniques, it is not a guarantee that your dog will learn a command you teach immediately. The same thing can be said for dog whistles. Some dogs do not respond well to a dog whistle. 

But for so long that you do not use the whistle in an abusive manner, your dog should be fine with it being trained using a dog whistle. 

What are sounds only dogs can hear? 

Dogs do not have a sixth sense but their incredible hearing can be considered its super power. There are some sounds it hears better than humans, there are even those that only their species can hear! 

The sound that dogs really hear better than humans are high-pitched sounds. While the average adult cannot hear sounds above 23 kilohertz, dogs can hear sounds as high as 65 kilohertz. These are sounds that are far too high-pitched for us, humans. 

According to Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think, dogs can also tell the differences between frequencies. They can hear “the difference between the musical note C and another note that differs by one-eighth of the distance between C note and C sharp”. 

Hearing is indeed an area where dogs put humans to absolute shame. It is not shocking, therefore, to understand that the very reason they are set as guards of homes is because of their incredible hearing. 

More about sounds that only dogs can hear is talked about by the American Kennel Club.


This blog post answered the question: “Do dog whistles hurt dogs?”. It also covered topics such as why dogs do not like high-pitched noises, whether dog whistles are good for training, and sounds that only dogs can hear. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do dog whistles hurt dogs? 

Is using a dog whistle bad? 

Not necessarily, especially if these whistles are used only in moderation. Having a whistle ringing for long periods of time will irritate your dog. When used moderately and in conjunction with other rewards like dog treats, dog whistles can be excellent dog training tools. 

Do dog whistles make dogs stop barking? 

The high frequency will annoy your dog who can hear it. If you whistle every time your dog barks, they may be able to associate their barking with the irritating whistle and they will eventually stop barking to avoid being annoyed by the whistle sound. 

Do dog whistles work on wolves? 

The dog whistle is a specialized training tool to train dogs. Wolves may hear the sound of the whistle but it will not mean anything to them. 

How far away can a dog hear a dog whistle? 

This depends on the whistle but on average, the dog training whistle can be heard by dogs from up to 400 yards away. 

What sound stops a dog from barking? 

A dog whistle has a frequency of about 15 000 Hertz to 20 000 Hertz so this will irritate the dogs and will instantly stop the dog from barking. 


  1. Wag! “Can Dogs Hear Whistles? – Wag!” WagWalking, Wag!, 27 Mar. 2018,
  2. Wag! “Why Dogs Don’t Like High Pitched Noises – Wag!” WagWalking, Wag!, 9 Mar. 2018,
  3. Stephanie Gibeault, MSc. “Sounds Only Dogs Can Hear: Higher Pitches Is Where They Shine.” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 13 July 2018,
  4. C.Valitutti. “Are Dog Whistles Good For Training?” Dog House Times, 11 Apr. 2020,
  5. “What Can You Use As Ear Plugs for a Dog?” Dog Care – Daily Puppy, 19 Nov. 2020,

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