Learning by Imitation

Class:  Learn By Imitation Private Lessons
Duration:  6 Lessons or 9 Lessons
Who:  Dog with Relaxed Sit/Stay (see below) –> 6 Lessons
Dog Who Needs Basic Training First –> 9 Lessons
Cost: $360 or $480 Includes Training Gear and Book (if current or past client, cost is $300 for 6 lessons)

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).

See below for a video showing one of our clients who has trained her dog to imitate her behavior after 6 lessons in our program!

Also, we included a video from the trainer Claudia Fugazza with her introduction to the imitation training (as she calls it, “Do As I Do”).


  • 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.
  • If you don’t have this basic training, we recommend taking an additional 3 lessons for an introduction to clicker training and learning these two behaviors.

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!

In the live video above, handler Stephanie trained her dog Kimba that the words “copy that” meant to imitate what Stephanie just did.  Kimba had NEVER entered the circus tent before.  So, when we saw Kimba imitate exactly what Stephanie did – to the point where she circled in the same direction as Stephanie – we knew she truly understood the concept of imitation!