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Old 12-17-2012, 02:27 PM
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Default How much do dogs learn from other dogs?

I've always known that dogs learn from each other. I've often heard stories of people that bring their dog to daycare and they come back with some new habits

But I ask because, to me, it seems Jackson REALLY is a copycat and pays attention to other dogs a lot.

For example, I dogsat a few weekends ago, and the dogs get Kongs with peanut butter when we leave. So Jackson watched me make the Kongs w/ PB and give them to the dogs. Jackson has NEVER liked PB. Like, ever, in his entire four years of life. He was begging for my PB&J sandwich the other night. So I gave him a lick of PB and he ate it up... so I decided to make him a frozen kong with some PB and whaddya know? He loved it. The last time I tried that, he snubbed it and I got stuck cleaning it out.

Also, he's always loved the pool and the water, but up until this summer, the only way he would dive in was by first jumping onto the raft THEN diving in the water. Our neighbor got a Black Lab puppy this summer and by the time she was around 14 weeks old, she was diving into our pool over and over again, just off the sides. Jackson very much observed her. The NEXT day was when he took his first REAL dive off the sides of the pool (not jumping onto the raft first). And again. And again. And now he doesn't need the raft at all.

Oh and fetching? I've been working his whole life now to get him REALLY amped up for fetching (balls, frisbee), and he would always do it but not for long periods, or even long distances. Ever since he's been hanging around my uncle's GSD who is a fetching maniac -- he suddenly is completely psyched about the game. Begs to fetch. Plays for a long time. I have a ChuckIt and he ruuuunnnsss. I absolutely am LOVING it.

Is he just really smart, really observant? How often do dogs actually copy each other, or learn from each other?
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:45 PM
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I would imagine they do, some dogs more than other. Don't know if it would really be any indicator of intelligence or anything though, just... a personality trait.

The only thing I have ever felt Juno picked up from another dog is barking. And I probably only notice it because it annoys the heck out of me lol. It's only at the dog park, when playing with other dogs. She used to never bark there. One day when she was still puppy-ish, there was a dog there that wouldn't shut up. And ever since then? She turned into like, the most vocal dog at the park ever. She has toned it down A LOT but for a while she was constantly yelling at other dogs and it sucked!!!
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Old 12-17-2012, 04:28 PM
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Izzie has learned a lot from her friend Gyp. Most of it is learning confidence.

- She's more interested in toys now, especially if gyp has played with said toy.
- She will stand her ground more and tell off other dogs sometimes. Especially in play. Gyppie wouldn't tell her off before but she has been lately. The teacher has decided the student has graduated I think.
- Izzie just wants to be where gyp is and doing what gyp does, it's an adorable little idolization she's got going on.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:17 PM
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I'm pretty certain that Elsa would be no where near the dog she is today without the efforts of Shambles. If Sham does it, Elsa does it. I conditioned her with things like getting in the car, walking, nail trims, etc. for months and accomplished all of them almost immediately with Shambles there doing them first.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:39 PM
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Summer is a follower. Almost everything she does it's because Mia does. If Mia is excited then Summer is excited that Mia is excited. Chasing squirrels is something she 'learned' from Mia.

Mia on the other hand does what Mia wants when she wants, lol.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:47 PM
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Zander is more like an enabler. He doesn't necessarily "teach" things, but he doesn't learn them either. But if it's fun, he's all for it. For example, he has NEVER dumpster dived before. But when we had our foster Cody, he was suddenly ALL for tipping the outside cans. It isn't an idea he came up with, but it's not like he "knows" to stay out of trouble. It was just fun for him.

So. He's a dork that just wants to have fun.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:55 AM
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Em is more of a teacher. She teaches a lot of SDITs I work with how to alert, after spending a lot of time with them. I'm a firm believer that other dogs who wouldn't have alerted otherwise, can learn from a dog that currently alerts.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:11 AM
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Yeah mine all do this. A lot of times if I'm shaping a new behavior I'll have one dog in my office and the rest will watch from the door. By the time I get to the last dog, if the ones before have been successful the lat one is usually much faster to get it, no matter who it is. Webster is the craftiest about this and on several occasions he's bounded into the room and performed the finished behavior before I even get the gate shut.

Kim only swims because Mira swam and Kim couldn't stand that Mira could do something that she could not. She became brave enough to jump off the canoe launch steps into the river (can't just run in) for the same reason.

It's also the reason he and Kim and more enthusiastic about retrieving and agility. They watch Mira's unbridled enthusiasm and all-out approach and suddenly they are more into it too.

But it works both ways. Webster taught Kim to bark and she found it to her liking and can be a chatty Kathy sometimes. Webster taught Mira that counter surfing pays well. Mira taught Cookie how to move the gate in front of the quail condo and help herself to quail eggs.

So ya know, you have to choose wisely
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:22 AM
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Oh my gosh, Kailey does everything Schaffer does. If he eats it, it must be okay, even if she had just turned her nose up at it two seconds ago. If he goes swimming, it must be fun. If he barks at it, she should bark, too.
It's hilarious when she finds something she can do that he can't, though, because she turns into such a show-off. Like one time, Schaffer was having trouble crossing a bridge. When Kailey saw this, she started prancing back and forth in front of him. If he did this to her, she'd copy him and realize that bridges aren't so scary. But it just stressed poor Schaffer out and he ended up swimming across the stream instead.
So I guess you could say I have one copy cat and a dog who likes to discover things on his own. Actually, thinking about this puts certain aspects of training in a new light.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:30 AM
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My dogs pick up on quite a bit from one another, but usually not good things. Which is why when I get a puppy I make sure they do more things 1:1 with me than with the other dogs. Puppy will not be going on any outings with Dance for this reason for a very long time. I might take her out with Keira a few times because Keira doesn't react poorly to anything, but even so, I really try to limit the time any new dog (puppy or adult) spends with the other dogs, especially in the beginning.

Ripley is the type of dog who really doesn't think much for himself and just does what other dogs do. He is very impressionable. All of my dogs are, but he seems much more so. So I think a lot of it can be a very individual thing.
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