Feedback - a reaction or response to a particular process or activity. Knowledge of the results of any behavior, considered as influencing or modifying further performance.
Feedback is important, in fact it is essential in teaching dogs and I am all about feedback. Ask any of my clients and they will tell you that I nag about a lack of feedback. When you ask a dog to do something; they comply and you offer nothing in the form of feedback of any kind, you miss a great moment. Feedback can come in many shapes and forms but the fastest and best way to offer it is in the form of sound. The sound can come from you, just a sound emanated as no words are required. It is an instant reaction to an action.
Timing is everything with feedback; it must be delivered at the precise moment to work. Deliver it after the fact and you miss the mark having lost valuable time. Feedback is all about information and being that we cannot talk to our dogs and explain it must be delivered at the correct time to carry the much needed information. Catching an unwanted behavior while it is happening is a great time to give feedback; you do not have to wait for the end of a behavior to deliver your feedback.
You can also deliver feedback just before an unwanted behavior starts which interrupts the act of the behavior itself. Alternately you are left with a behavior that was deserted at the curb and you can then fill that space with something good. For example: a puppy is heading towards your favorite shoes. Of course you see this happening because you are supervising 100% of free time, right? Before they get to the shoes you give an AHHH and as they look to you for further instruction you praise and move onto something else to do, perhaps a basket of toys instead.
My error feedback sound for Elsa is a low, mouth closed sort of mmm. I still use AHHH but it saved for more serious feedback. Correct feedback is simply happy noises and lots of them. Because I started giving feedback from the get go with Elsa the smallest sound emitted from me stops her in her tracks. I try not to use words because they can be used for so much more useful things like tagging a behavior. The word NO is strictly saved for big offenses in my home. I actually rarely use it, but used it last night and this morning. Being human we like to say NO for some reason and it automatically came out when Elsa went to chase a rat last night and thought about diving off the bed this morning. My husband had put on casual Friday clothes today and she mistook them for jogging clothing. Both times I shouted NO there was no pre-thinking, it was strictly an automatic response from me.
When you have a new puppy, your days should be filled with continuous feedback. This is how they learn, good and bad it is all feedback. Chirping happily as they do all the wonderful things that you like and the low disapproving sounds to mark errors. When you start right from the beginning of your shared life it becomes second nature to deliver feedback and your dog becomes accustom to the constant learning curve. Given no feedback of any kind leaves a dog to flounder around in our human world with no guidance.
As a canine guardian, it is our responsibility to guide.