This DVD set is in English.
Social learning means acquiring new behaviors from the observation of others. Recent studies revealed the social cognitive abilities of dogs and suggested that they are surprisingly predisposed to learn socially from humans.
Do as I Do is a new training method based on dogs’ social cognitive skills, particularly on their imitative ability. With this training technique dogs will learn new behaviors observing and copying their owners. During the seminar Claudia describes how to teach dogs the “imitation rule” and how to progress through the training protocol. Dogs will first be taught to imitate a small set of familiar actions (actions already trained with traditional techniques) and will then generalize this rule. At the end of the training protocol, the owners will be able to teach new behaviors to their dogs, simply showing them what to do. These new actions will be then put under verbal cue. The cognitive abilities implied in social learning and in this training method are also described.
We think that there is a good chance that Claudia Fugazza's Do As I Do training method based on social learning may join the ranks of those that will open the eyes of trainers to a new, effective and fun way of training dogs. You all know that there are a number of methods of training a dog new behaviors based on both classical and operant conditioning. What you may not know is that recent research shows that dogs can also learn by observing and imitation, a process called social learning. Puppies who are able to observe older dogs doing detection work, for example, pick up those skills quicker than those who were not exposed to that activity. And what is most interesting is that dogs, because of the domestication process and the many ways in which they are dependent upon humans, also are careful observers of their human companions and can learn by watching them. Claudia's breakthrough is to use a verbal cue - "Do It" - along with modeling the desired behavior for the dog, for example picking up a toy and dropping it in a basket to show the dog what to do. Starting with behaviors the dog already knows, the "Do It" cue eventually is generalized to new behaviors so that the dog learns that "Do It" means Do As I Do.
Of course it will be you trainers and dog enthusiasts who will be the ultimate judges of this new method. We think that Claudia's work will not only help you train new behaviors, but because you are interacting with your dog in a new way, many of you will find it both fun and a way to keep your training fresh and exciting for your dogs. At this time, Claudia's work is only available in DVD form based on a two day seminar that she recently held in Boise, Idaho. The DVD is over eight hours long and covers both the the oretical basis of social learning and how the Do As I Do method is done in practice.
This is the first training method based on dog’s social cognitive abilities.
Claudia Fugazza is a PhD student in Ethology at Eötvös Lorand University (Budapest), conducting her research on social learning and imitation in dogs with Prof. A. Miklosi. She received her B.Sc. on Dog Breeding and Education (TACREC), a Master in Ethology of Companion Animals and a Master in Dog Training at the University of Pisa (Italy). Claudia developed a training method called Do as I Do (named after Hayes & Hayes 1952 and Topal et al. 2006) which relies on dog’s social cognitive skills and she is currently using this method both for applied dog training purposes and as preliminary training to scientifically study dogs’ imitative abilities.