Imitation has always been challenging to study from a methodological perspective. In recent years, the Do as I Do method provided robust evidence of imitation in dogs. Dogs trained with this method learn to match their behaviour to actions demonstrated by a human model upon request. This way it is possible to investigate, not only on imitative abilities per se, but also on how the observer represents the model’s actions and whether and how it remembers it.
During this talk I will present studies carried out using the Do as I Do method, because they allowed us to investigate on topics about dog cognition that were elusive with other methods. I will also present studies that show that social learning skills and social referencing develop early in dogs, as 8-week-old dog puppies already show evidence of such cognitive abilities. From an applied perspective, this suggests that it might be beneficial to integrate social-learning-based methods not only in the training of adult dogs, but also for puppies.
Dr. Claudia Fugazza
Dr. Claudia Fugazza ist wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in der ethologischen Arbeitsgruppe von Prof. Adam Miklosi an der Eötvös Loránd Universität in Budapest. Im Rahmen ihrer Doktorarbeit führte die ehemalige Hundetrainerin verschiedene Studien zum sozialen Lernen durch und entwickelte das Trainingsprotokoll zur "Do as I do"-Methode. Neben ihrer Forschungstätigkeit gibt sie weltweit Workshops zu dieser besonderen Form des sozialen Lernens.