Feedback – Why? When? How often?

When training our dogs, we often expect them to read our minds. Well, they can’t! But you can help them by offering feedback to them. What is feedback? It is a way of helping your dog know when he is doing something acceptable or not.

Good dog handlers offer their dog feedback on their behavior throughout the day. When you see your dog laying calmly on the floor, let them know you are happy with this behavior! Say, “good dog, what a good dog”, in a sweet voice.

If you have a puppy, you should be giving him feedback constantly! I mean if you are with him an hour, then offer feedback 50-60 times! For Example, when in puppy class I am always encouraging my clients to reward their puppy when ever they allow another puppy near them or begin to play with another pup. I want puppies to know that I am thrilled when they play well with another dog.

What if we have a bully in the class? I follow that bully around and say, “good dog, yes, good girl, what a good girl”, when she is nice, so the second she gets to rough, I am there to say, “uhuh, take a break” in a lower tone, then again as she eyes another playmate, I am again letting her know, that she is a “good girl, nice play, gentle, what a good girl”, all in a sweet voice.

Remember puppies need to play rough to learn how to resolve problems so having a bully is not a problem, it just means they need more Feedback!

How about when teaching your dog a new cue? When you first say “Stay” your dog has no idea what you mean. But if you reinforce the stay cue by saying “stay, good stay, that is a good stay”, in a sweet voice then offer a quick reward of food or affection. Your dog will surely learn quicker when you talk sweetly and repeat the behavior that he is doing the right. This type of Positive Feedback quickens the learning process with your dog.

So be a Great Dog Owner and give your dog lots of feedback!!