Issue 61

6 Inventions That Changed the Canine World

Culture, politics and necessity tend to be the biggest influences on the canine species. If there was a job that needed to be done, man tended to find a way to create a dog breed that could help. More recent changes and happenings in the dog world are linked to politics and culture, but every now and then the destiny of the dog is altered by a moment of pure genius or enlightenment. We're talking of course about inventions.

Some inventions fixed a problem that existed for dog owners, such as the lead and collar, but the concept of a buckle and harness is hardly exclusive to dog ownership is it? Other inventions came about and went on to influence dogs and dog ownership, either directly or indirectly.

Andrew McInnis explores what he believes are 6 of the most important canine inventions that changed the world in which we live with our dogs.

Dog Whistle

The dog whistle was the brainchild of Birmingham man Francis Galton. Galton, who was the half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was a prolific inventor, researcher, explorer and meteorologist. He developed and established the scientific concept of correlation, devised the first ever weather map and coined the phrase “nature versus nurture”. He was a clever man, to put it simply.

The Galton’s Whistle as it was first known was initially developed to test the hearing range of humans. It features a plunger which alters the pitch at which the whistle sounds, enabling the user to lower the sound until it falls into the range of the human subject. It was discovered that dogs are able to hear and respond to very high pitched sounds. This equipped man with a device that was ‘silent’ to human ears but audible to dogs.

Its use within dog training has been immense.


Imagine a time when we can translate our words into sounds that dogs will understand with entire clarity. It’s no less plausible than telling someone twenty years ago that certain dogs will be have a 100 per cent success rate at detecting Cancer.

Which canine invention has had the biggest impact on your life with dogs? If it's not on our list, let us know!

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