I’ve been looking to change my whistles since the ones I have been using are too hard. I was using the brass baby blaster, which is too heavy for me. I also was using the plastic whistles, which made my tones sound hard, and as a result, my dog ran on the edge. I have used many whistles and still wasn’t quite happy with one. In addition, to top it off, my whistling since the heart surgery has been hard for me. That is because when the Doctors did the second Major Open heart surgery, they closed me up incorrectly and didn’t line me up so my sternum is off kilter and it affects my lungs. I can’t get the correct draw of air sometimes. Therefore, I had to relearn my whistles and I was struggling with it.
I went to a Patrick Shannahan lesson and he noted that my sounds from my plastic whistles were hard and made my dogs run on the edge. I tried to soften them but it was not working. We had a talk about how the sound of the whistles and the amounts of whistles can either make or break your run. Nan and Roo are hard, fast dogs so this just merely amped them up.
We worked on me controlling my whistles and I got better. Patrick suggested trying a Corian whistles since it might have a better tone for me. So, I went home and ordered a Corian whistle from BorderCollics Anonymous and it arrived in record time. For those of you that know about BorderCollics Anonymous, it a owned by Betsy Drummond, who is married to Rob, a Border Collie handler.
It arrived on Saturday so I didn’t have time to practice with it with the dogs before I went to the trial on Sunday. I did regal my husband in the house with it and soon he fled to his studio. I did play “Mary had a little lamb” for him once and was quite proud of my whistling skills until he said that he never heard “Mary had a little lamb” all in one note before. This time, I didn’t ask him for any critique of my whistling but I did see he didn’t flee as quickly as he had done before.
The Corian Maxi Whistle in triangular shape, which is different that I am used to. It is a light whistle and granite gray. I wasn’t too sure about the shape and whether that I would like it or not but soon that thought disappeared quickly.
The first dog that I ran was Nan. She is very reactive and does my commands at warp speed. I raised the whistle to my mouth and thought maybe I should have practiced a bit more but it was too late. I blew the down and tried not to make it hard. It came out strong but not hard. Nan stopped and I walked her on. She came on nice and easy and I began to use the whistle and soon realized that the sound was soft but strong.
It wasn’t hard and I was able to carry the sounds, going soft to make Nan ease up or louder to make a point. The run went well, aside from my handling mistakes and I could see that Nan was not edgy during her run. She was listening and trying hard to please and the whistle did not make her go edgy.
After my run, another Open handler came up to me and asked me about my whistle. I pointed it out to them and we talked about it. I was amazed that another handler could hear the difference in my whistling. I could see that Nan was relaxed and I wasn’t tense after my run.
The true test was my next run with Roo. He wants to please but will run through the bit. He ran to the top and the sheep broke before he could get there. Normally, my down whistle would sound panicked but this time, I made a point of not trying to be panic and make it mean sometime. The sound was true and he stopped. His flanks were clean and we eased the sheep through the course. He was a pleasure to run and not having the hard edge to my whistle made a huge difference.
I noted with the Corian that I could go loud but not panicked, and go soft and subtle. I was able to do quite a bit of variations and tones and saw the relaxation in my dog’s postures. What a huge difference and I highly recommend this whistle to anyone. The handler who commented on my new whistling also ordered a Corian.