Timing is essential in training.  Many people do not realize the degree of importance and deliver their message too late or too early. I am constantly working on my timing.  Our dogs have such amazingly fast minds that if you don't get in there and deliver a message quickly you can miss the opportunity all together.  I lump most of our human reaction to a dog action into the "feedback" category.  It is self explanatory and really helps us to think of it as just that, information.

Feedback:  a reaction or response to a particular process or activity.  Evaluative information derived from such a reaction.  Knowledge of the results of any behavior, considered as influencing or modifying further performance.

Delivering feedback at the precise moment of high impact is the best way to get your message across.  Let's say that your dog is looking at your shoe that you left out.  You watch and wait until the dog has the shoe in their mouth to say "hey, that's mine, drop it."  You missed out on a very influential line of educating.  Given the feedback before he picked up the shoe would have got the most important lesson, "don't touch my shoes."  Instead he rewarded himself by picking up the shoe and will learn to grab them when you are not looking.

As well as being fast and not lagging on the delivery of feedback we must learn to drop it.  Humans tend to hold grudges, its what we do.  But when teaching our dogs we should never hold on to extended feedback, it is useless.  When working with your dog or just in the day to day life lessons; deliver the message and move on.  Holding a grudge, keeping the delivery going we break down the bond that we are trying so hard to build.  Trust.

In and out, that is how feedback should be delivered.  If you are slow on your delivery then work on that.  If you miss a behavior and cannot give either 'correct' or 'error' feedback fast enough, move on.  Just move on and hopefully next time you will be fast on your delivery.  Teaching people to 'let it go,' is probably one of the things that I have to nag on and on about.  Eventually they typically get it but not without me standing right there and saying "stop, move on."

A correctly timed feedback delivery sends much needed information.  Drag it out and into the realm of grudge and you are spending time on useless and damaging human stuff.

In and out.    


  1. Hi Y'all,

    Great post. I learned the importance of quick feed back growing up on a farm raising horses and later working and training performance horses. It easily carries over to dogs.

    The problem is that as we age our responses slow and now sometimes I find my feedback is missing the mark.

    BrownDog's Human

  2. Nice post! Any strategies for improving timing (e.g., games, dog-free practice sessions, etc.)?


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