Train dog based on social learning? Yes!
Recent research suggests that dogs can engage in social learning which includes the ability to observe the actions of other dogs and imitate them to learn new behaviors. The big news for dog trainers is that author Claudia Fugazza and her colleagues in Europe have discovered that dogs can also imitate people. This natural skill can be used to teach dogs new behaviors using the Do As I Do protocol presented in this book-DVD combination. The Do As I Do method is particularly useful in working with service dogs and canine athletes who must masters skills such as ringing a bell, jumping over a hurdle, spinning and dozens more.
The fascinating research which shows that dogs can observe, then imitate human behavior and remember it over time.
How you can start with a known behavior, then teach the dog to perform the behavior after observing you demonstrate it, followed by the new cue Do it! Eventually the dog learns that Do it! means to do whatever has just been demonstrated by the trainer.
How this method can build a closer bond between you and your dog, bring new energy and joy to your training efforts and challenge your thinking about how dogs learn.
What experts are saying about Do As I Do
Fugazza brings an exciting blend of science, experience and innovation to this training program. Do As I Do is great for trainers, great for dogs and great for their relationship.
Karen B. London, co-author of Play Together Stay Together
A clearly written protocol for teaching dogs how to imitate their trainer as a new technique to add to the trainer's tool box. As someone who has studied dog imitation myself, I am pleased to see this available outside scientific circles.
Ken Ramirez, author of Animal Training: Successful Animal Management
It is rare that a groundbreaking new training concept is presented to the dog-training and dog-owning world. Claudia Fugazza not only brings this fascinating training method to the dog world, she does it in a charming and captivating style that simply begs readers to start teaching their dogs to imitate.It's the next thing in dog training you don't want to miss it. I predict the Do As I Do method will catch on like wildfire; here at Peaceable Paws we are already incorporating it into our classes, workshops, seminars and academies, and having fantastic fun with it!
Pat Miller, author of Do Over Dogs and How To Foster Dogs
This pioneering book provides trainers with the information they need to try this new method for themselves. This will generate a lot of fun for the participants and further data to expand our understanding of this intriguing concept.
Kathy Sdao, author of Plenty in Life is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace
An important and fun read for anyone interested in dog learning and training. Social learning is for the dogs!
Julie Hecht, MSc Canine Behavioral Researcher, Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, NYC
There have been two types of people in the world. Some of them believe that dogs are not able to imitate humans, other are convinced that dogs readily copy human behaviour. Perhaps this is the place where I should admit that I had belonged to the former group of people for many years before József Topál and I dared to test this idea of imitation in dogs for the first time many years ago. I did not have much to lose being a non-believer anyway so it came for me as a huge surprise that Filip, a well-trained assistant Belgian shepherd dog for the disabled, showed clear signs of imitation after some weeks of training.
I also have vivid memories about getting back the reviewers' comments on our first draft paper describing the Do-as-I-Do method and the impressive results with Filip. Their comments were longer than the manuscript, and of course it was clear that these fellow researchers were non-believers like me so it is highly likely that I would have been also critical being in the same situation. But Filip's performance did not leave room for any doubt! So few years later we managed to train some novice dogs by the means of the same method, so there was no doubt that after some specific training dogs are able to show functional imitation of human behaviour without being specifically educated, like Filip was.
Although I always thought that the Do-as-I-Do method could be a useful way to extend the training of dogs (and owners) but it was Claudia Fugazza's courage and persistence that was the key factor in developing this new method for the wider dog loving audience. I hope this book is only the first step to introduce the Do-as-I-Do method to dog trainers and dog owners, and I am also sure that Claudia will have many more ideas to develop this method further and further. This book provides a very nice and helpful introduction to the concept of social learning and also explains in detail how the Do-as-I-Do training should be performed.
I was always a bit annoyed that dog training as the term implies is focusing on the dog while actually dog training is or should be about synchronisation of the behaviour of dog and owner. Just like dancing is not about man-training (most women have a natural talent for dancing anyway) but about learning how to move together in a synchronised fashion. The same applies to the Do-as-I-Do method. Owners or trainers become equal partners of their dogs, and they can also experience and feel what the execution of a specific action means for their companion. Relying on the Do-as-I-Do method gives dog training a real social flavour, makes it more enjoyable and more fun.
Apart from this the Do-as-I-Do method also offers an easy way to teach new types of actions with relatively little effort to the dog. They may not be so precise to execute these actions for the first time but they can get the clue. Claudia Fugazza and I also showed that this method is at least as good as other traditional methods of dog training. And there is no need to abandon your old habits, just teach this method to your dog as a complementing way of social interaction.
At the end let me share a new idea with you. Watching puppies how much they want to engage in group activities including to perform similar actions as their group mates, I have come to think that in dogs learning from the other is a basic skill activated very early in development. The main problem is that in most cases, we, humans get them out of this habit by disallowing such activities. Dogs should not dig when the owner is digging or open the refrigerator after seeing the owner doing it! So Do-as-I-Do method simply awakens a natural skill in the dog and puts some human control over his synchronising tendencies. Thus dogs who are allowed to imitate their owner or actually any others, who has some lust to this, have probably a happier life so let's go and try... you can do it as we did!
Dr. Ádám Miklósi Professor of Ethology, author of Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition
What reviewers are saying...
THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
Do As I Do: Using Social Learning to Train Dogs includes a DVD and is recommended for any who would train dogs using social learning' processes. European trainers have found that dogs can imitate people: using this information, dogs can be taught new behaviors using the Do as I Do' principle. From beginning with a known behavior and teaching a dog to observe and perform it to creating a closer bond between trainer and animal, this pairs color photo examples with fine surveys of dog behavior patterns and how they can work to a trainer's benefit, making for a top book for animal trainers. James A. Cox, Editor in Chief
Claudia Fugazza lives in Italy and is completing her PhD research in the field of social learning in dogs at Eotovos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary.
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