Learning by Imitation

We’re used to training our dogs step by step.  But dogs can learn quickly and just as efficiently by imitating us or other dogs, too! In this class, you’ll learn the basics of teaching your dog to imitate certain behaviors you can perform yourself.  These behaviors can involve anything from picking something up and carrying it, to spinning in a circle, to going and touching an object.  We will follow Italian trainer and behaviorist Claudia Fugazza’s program.  She has been teaching imitation training, called “Do As I Do,” for multiple years.  We consider her the worldwide expert as she also has written research reports on dogs’ ability to learn socially (by observing other animals).

Prerequisites:

  • Your dog must have a solid “sit/stay” in order to train these behaviors. A lie down/stay is fine, too. You should be able to move out at least 20 feet and return to your dog without needing to repeat the cue. It’s important that you can face away from your dog, too.

Preparation for Classes:

  • We will help you with this!  You’ll need to have 3 behaviors with verbal cues prepared for your dog. These need to be behaviors you can physically demonstrate. Examples could be “touch a target,” “spin,” and “pick up a toy.” Remember, these behaviors have to be on a verbal cue. We can help you prepare and add verbal cues! For example, if your spin cue is a visual hand movement, we can show you how to teach a verbal “spin” cue relatively easily!

Recommended Length of Lessons:  6 Lessons of 45 minutes each