Skip to main content

Shepherds Mouth Whistles: Herding Dog Whistle Review

Herding Dog Training Shepherds Mouth Whistle

Dog whistles have been used since the late 1850’s 
for long distance control of dogs for obedience, hunting and retrieval as well as the herding of stock.  Whistle commands are used when working dogs outdoors over long distances, where verbal and visual commands are impractical.  

Typically these whistle commands are taught after the dog has mastered the related visual or voice commands in close proximity to their trainer. 

A variety of styles of whistles are in production, and each has its advantages based on the type of work the dog is performing and environmental conditions.  In this review we will discuss which model whistles are appropriate for herding dog training along with video tutorials of whistle training basics for this venue.

Herding Dog Whistles Compared

If you are adept at whistling, scroll on down for the video on traditional herding whistle commands. For those of us that have a hard time making any sound through pursed lips, Acme makes two models of whistle that, with a little practice, should suit you nicely. 

Keep in mind you will need to practice with the shepherd's whistle to get the hang of it, and you will want to do that out of earshot of your dog.

The Shepherd’s Whistle also known as the Shepherd’s Mouth Whistle is used to give directional commands to the sheep dog over long distances, often when the stock and the dog are out of site of the handler.  There are two types of shepherds whistles, the metal and the plastic models.

Nickel Whistle:on sale now 
at PetGiftsOnline.com $7.99


The Metal or Nickel Shepherd’s whistle 

This inexpensive model has a clearer tone and carries over greater distances.  It also has a classic, retro design that ties the 19th century shepherd to the 21st century shepherd. 

 
This model is the most popular seller, however, some purchasers were sensitive to the taste of the metal. It is made of nickel and can taste like having a penny in your mouth. 


Others complained that the machined edges were rough and required a little sanding to make it comfortable.




The Plastic Shepherds Mouth Whistle

Plastic Shepherd's Whistles On Sale for $4.99
The advantage of the plastic model is that it is less expensive and preferable in cold winter months when temperatures drop to freezing.  Metal whistles can get stuck to the lips when temperatures drop below freezing.  Both whistles require some practice before they can be used effectively.


Typical herding whistle commands include: down, stay, walk up, come by and away to me (see below for a comprehensive list of commands).

Once you have mastered the calls on the mouth whistle, you may want to invest in a high-end whistle to impress and psych-out your competition at the next herding trail. These whistles are beautifully hand crafted and produce clear, clean tones.


Buffalo Horn Shepherds Whistle
Hand Crafted Mouth Whistle Made of Buffalo Horn

The Buffalo Horn Shepherds Whistle is hand crafted in Wales.  This is ideal for those shepherds who find that they dislike the taste of metal in their mouths or for those working in colder regions where metal sticks to the lips.

This model is thicker than most herding whistles, and takes a little time to get used to having a thicker whistle in the mouth. However once you get used to it, you will find it is easy to hold and even easier to find various notes for your calls.


The Corine Wyoming Whistle is another
Corian shepherds mouth whistle
Corine Wyoming Whistle
option for those who dislike the taste of metal in their mouths, but want a colorful whistle that makes a fashion statement.


Made from Corian these whistles come in a variety of colors and are available at several online outlets. These pictured to the right can be found at Border Collies in Action.  

Stock Dog Gems also offers a wide variety of colors, including cilantro, hazelnut, elderberry and hot pink.
Engraved Sterling Silver Shepherds Whistle
Hand Engraved Sterling Silver Whistle





If money is no object, consider the Engraved Sterling Silver Shepherds Mouth Whistle

The silver model runs $175.00.  However, there is also an engraved brass whistle available for the more reasonable price of $60.00.  These whistles are had engraved by master engravers in the USA.

Both the brass "sounder" and the sterling silver whistles produce clear tones that travel long distances.

Images for the Engraved, buffalo and Corine Wyoming Whistles are courtesy of and can be purchased at Border Collies in Action.

How to Use The Shepherd's Mouth Whistle


  1. Place shepherd’s whistle in your mouth with the curved, open edge facing outwards; allow it to  rest on your tongue. If you place your tongue against the lower hole you will silence the whistle.
  2. Hold the whistle in your mouth so that it creates a gap underneath the whistle. The back of the whistle will sit on the back of your tongue.
  3. It doesn't matter which way up the whistle is placed. However, it requires a few practice blows before you will get a sound.
  4. Blow into the whistle and by varying the blow, and you can create different sounds.
  5. For an even wider range of sounds, move your tongue up and down to reduce or  widen the gap beneath the whistle.


Frequently Used Stock Dog Herding Commands

  • Down or Lie Down, Stand or Stop: Any of these can be used to stop or slow his approach the dog. Stopping the dog with a “Stand,” may help prevent stock from startling when the dog resumes motion.
  • Come By or Go By: The dog’s left flank, sends the dog in a clockwise circle around the stock
  • Away to Me or Way to Me: The dog’s right flank, sends the dog in motion counter clockwise around the stock.
  • There: Pauses the dog before changing directions, or commands the dog to stop going around and to turn in facing towards the stock.
  • Walk-up or Walk On: The dog walks straight onto the stock
  • Here: Calls the dog to come toward you ("Here" is used instead of "Come", to avoid confusion with Come By).
  • Get Out, Get Off of that, or Get Back: Used to push the dog further away from the stock (creating more distance between stock and the dog).
  • Look Back: Orders the dog to turn back, and find and fetch stock left behind
  • Stay: Commands the dog to stay put until further commanded
  • Steady: Slows the dog down and commands him to straighten up behind the stock (to stop weaving back and forth)
  • Take Time or Easy: Command for the dog to slow down, and move at a slow pace
  • That’ll Do: The dreaded command, calls the dog off of stock and signals that work is finished



Popular posts from this blog

How To Easily Determine Dog Age By His Teeth

If you’re wondering about a dog’s age, the condition of his teeth will give you a lot of information. The old expression, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth ,is derived from the fact that horse’s teeth have distinctive wear patterns, that can help you determine his age fairly precisely for the first 7 years of his life and well beyond. Just as horses’ teeth provide strong evidence of their age, dog teeth have distinctive wear patterns that can help you to discern the age of your new family friend fairly accurately. 3 week old toothless puppy How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have? Puppies should eventually have 28 deciduous teeth , 12 incisors (the  small front teeth - 6 upper and 6 lower), 4 Canines (the fangs) and 12 premolars and molars. They are missing the first premolar and the last molars, that will eventually develop in the adult dog. The incisors are located along the front row of teeth, between the canines. Incisors are used in grooming and nibbling activities. The c

99 Names for Female Border Collies | Scottish, Irish and Welsh Dog Names

The superstar of the herding group, the border collie is keenly alert to every opportunity, at work and at play. Their intense expression is an extension of their ability to move and work stock by using their "eye." A natural gathering dog, the border collie assumes a predatory stance, the signature crouch, and stares down the stock. She is then able to guide the stock from one pasture to another or round them up, and shed individual sheep for shearing or vaccinations. These energetic dogs need exercise and a job to do.  However, that job may be something as simple as a bone or chew toy. They are very people oriented, and like to check-in with their people whether they are hard at work or play. The are sensitive dogs that respond quickly to praise or light scolding. Too heavy of a hand or voice can easily crush their spirit. Traditional Border Collie Names for Females Scanning the International Sheepdog Society's (ISDS) database of over 300,000 entries in t

70 Unique Names for Dogs From Mythology and Folklore

Mythology offers many meaningful name ideas for man's best friend. The names of gods, goddesses, heroes and monsters can imbue your dog's name with magical powers and mystical abilities that allow them to anticipate your will. Choose your mythological dog name wisely, for some names may become a self-fulfilling prophecy! These names have been selected as some of the more meaningful and unusual names from mythology along with their stories. Feel free to recommend your favorite names from mythology in the comments section below. We always love new suggestions. Name Categories: Names for Female Dogs from Greek Mythology Names for Males Dogs from Greek Mythology Badass Big Dog Names from Folklore and Diverse Mythologies Names for Dogs from Norse Mythology Lyrical, Mystical and Mythical Names for Dogs  Nike - Winged Goddess of Victory     Photo Credit By Jörg Bittner Unna   Greek Goddess Names for Female Dogs Circe - Daughter of Titan sun god, Helio