Whole Dog Journal Tips November 24, 2014

(Do As I Do Tip #2) Learning The Imitation Rule

Do As I Do Phase One: Learning the imitation rule

The aim of the first phase of the protocol in the following paragraphs is to teach the imitation rule to the dog. This involves the dog learning the cue "Do it!" means "copy the behavior I have just demonstrated" no matter what it is.

  • Choose three behaviors for your dog to master. They should already be under stimulus control, preferably a verbal cue.
  • Remember that you must choose behaviors that the dog can perform and demonstrate.
  • Practice the three behaviors to strengthen the dog's ability to do them on cue.
  • Then, stand in front of the dog and ask him to "Stay" or use some other cue that will hold the dog in position (standing, sitting or lying).
  • Demonstrate one of the three behaviors that you have decided to use during this first phase or the protocol.
  • Return and stand in front of your dog again and use the new cue "Do it!" followed by the specific cue he already knows for the behavior you have just demonstrated (e.g., "Table").

Claudia Fugazza's new book, Do As I Do, examines dog training based on social learning. The book and accompanying DVD, explains and details this innovative approach to training. Buy it from Whole Dog Journal today.

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