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Google's not been much help with this.

Today, for example, I was attempting to teach Peggy to bow using a lure. Because she's Peggy (eyeroll), I immediately got three good bows out of her and then every time I tried after that, she'd bypass the bow with a huff and just launch into an exasperated down.

My husband jokingly got onto the floor and said, "Like this, Peggy!" And he demonstrated.

She studied him for a moment, very seriously, and then....she bowed. They easily repeated this 4 or 5 times. Then he tried another movement, stretching his arms across the seat of his office chair: "Do this, Peggy!"

She paused, studied him, and then did exactly what he was doing. They looked ridiculous wedged onto one chair.

Is this an actual training technique? Or just a clever poodle quirk?
 

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Yes they can and they do. Of course we can’t control what they decide to copy but Dr Brian Hare has written a book about his research In this area called “The Genius of Dogs” which is a interesting book to read. It’s part of what makes dogs “dogs” and not wolves is their ability to watch and imitate.

 

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I don’t teach Zeke a whole lot of tricks, but I know when I get a puzzle game for him (with hidden treats) he’s having trouble with figuring out, I will show him how it works. I will slide the stick that pushes out drawers, pull the twine to pull some out and other things each toy does. While he has to really think of some of what he saw, he will learn it fairly quickly. I wait a couple of weeks before I give him the same puzzle again, and he has to think about it, but does finally remember. And I only have to show him once unless it is an exceptionally difficult one.

I know there are other things he has picked up by imitating me too.
 

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Peggy's very clever!!!

I think they are definitely capable of learning from watching us. We have railing on my Mom's deck attached to a dog bathroom yard made of two playpens. I've been very careful to never show Annie that you can pass an object over the railing, or that the playpens are easily moveable. I definitely believe she's smart enough to figure out the trick of jumping the railing or opening the playpens if she knew it was possible! I also never swing a leg over babygates. I am really careful not to model behaviour I don't want her considering.

I occasionally deliberately model for Annie, like getting into her scary new crate to show it won't eat her, paws (hands) up on an object, etc, if I'm frustrated with training. I also modelled to show her how her kong wobbler works, or her now favourite soccer ball works. It does seem to help.
 

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There is an article about dogs learning by imitation here: Train Your Dog Using Imitation - Whole Dog Journal Sounds like Peggy picked up the concept remarkably quickly, though!
This is fantastic! Thank you! Oh the possibilities.....

Peggy's shown an aptitude for this since her earliest days with us. I quickly discovered while dancing with her (don't ask ?) that if I hopped, she would hop. And it wasn't that she was getting over excited and jumping on me. (That's a whole other thing we're working on.) It was back and forth:

I hopped.
She hopped.
I hopped.
She hopped.

I quickly stopped that, because keeping all four paws on the floor is a priority right now. But I'm excited to work on a formal "copy" cue that I can pair with more desirable behaviours.

Thank you again!
 

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Peggy's very clever!!!

I think they are definitely capable of learning from watching us. We have railing on my Mom's deck attached to a dog bathroom yard made of two playpens. I've been very careful to never show Annie that you can pass an object over the railing, or that the playpens are easily moveable. I definitely believe she's smart enough to figure out the trick of jumping the railing or opening the playpens if she knew it was possible! I also never swing a leg over babygates. I am really careful not to model behaviour I don't want her considering.

I occasionally deliberately model for Annie, like getting into her scary new crate to show it won't eat her, paws (hands) up on an object, etc, if I'm frustrated with training. I also modelled to show her how her kong wobbler works, or her now favourite soccer ball works. It does seem to help.
Ha! Yes! This made me laugh, because I can vividly recall shouting to my parents who were visiting over Christmas: "Don't show the dog how to do that!!!"

They thought I was nuts.
 

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This is fantastic! Thank you! Oh the possibilities.....

Peggy's shown an aptitude for this since her earliest days with us. I quickly discovered while dancing with her (don't ask ?) that if I hopped, she would hop. And it wasn't that she was getting over excited and jumping on me. (That's a whole other thing we're working on.) It was back and forth:

I hopped.
She hopped.
I hopped.
She hopped.

I quickly stopped that, because keeping all four paws on the floor is a priority right now. But I'm excited to work on a formal "copy" cue that I can pair with more desirable behaviours.

Thank you again!
Sounds like you should look into doing freestyle with her. That can be great fun for both people and dogs!
 

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I don’t teach Zeke a whole lot of tricks, but I know when I get a puzzle game for him (with hidden treats) he’s having trouble with figuring out, I will show him how it works. I will slide the stick that pushes out drawers, pull the twine to pull some out and other things each toy does. While he has to really think of some of what he saw, he will learn it fairly quickly. I wait a couple of weeks before I give him the same puzzle again, and he has to think about it, but does finally remember. And I only have to show him once unless it is an exceptionally difficult one.

I know there are other things he has picked up by imitating me too.
Does Zeke have a favourite puzzle? I'd like to get one for Peggy.

And I'm not big into teaching tricks either. My favourite "tricks" are when I can just casually request something of my dog, in a conversational tone, and she responds equally casually with the requested behaviour. I love those easygoing interactions (and they can actually make pretty great party tricks).
 

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Sounds like you should look into doing freestyle with her. That can be great fun for both people and dogs!
That would be a lot of fun. Thanks for the suggestion!

Watching these cute partis, I can't help but imagine Peggy out there. Except she'd break mid-routine and just start leaping and mouthing before tucking her tail and launching into zoomies. ?

 

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That would be a lot of fun. Thanks for the suggestion!

Watching these cute partis, I can't help but imagine Peggy out there. Except she'd break mid-routine and just start leaping and mouthing before tucking her tail and launching into zoomies. ?
So long as everybody is having fun, who cares? And as she grows up and you keep working together it comes together into something beautiful. I love watching these videos!
 

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Does Zeke have a favourite puzzle? I'd like to get one for Peggy.

And I'm not big into teaching tricks either. My favourite "tricks" are when I can just casually request something of my dog, in a conversational tone, and she responds equally casually with the requested behaviour. I love those easygoing interactions (and they can actually make pretty great party tricks).
I have some of the Trixie games. A level 1,2 and 3. MY fave is the level 3 as it really makes him think and not get it first time every time. Sometimes he does and others he won’t. Kind of depends how long it’s been since he’s used it.

Peggy sounds really smart, so I would start with a level 2, but she’ll quickly figure it out as Zeke did. But it prepared him to be interested in the level 3 which challenges him.

I forget the name of the best one but here’s a pic of it...


He seems to get a little stuck on the ones with the rope handles, but he has a really soft mouth except during tug of war.
 

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Yes they can and they do. Of course we can’t control what they decide to copy but Dr Brian Hare has written a book about his research In this area called “The Genius of Dogs” which is a interesting book to read. It’s part of what makes dogs “dogs” and not wolves is their ability to watch and imitate.

Thanks for the recommendation! Will check it out.
 

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So long as everybody is having fun, who cares? And as she grows up and you keep working together it comes together into something beautiful. I love watching these videos!
That's an important reminder. Thank you. :)

Peggy's challenging puppy traits are already blossoming into some of our favourites.
 

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I have some of the Trixie games. A level 1,2 and 3. MY fave is the level 3 as it really makes him think and not get it first time every time. Sometimes he does and others he won’t. Kind of depends how long it’s been since he’s used it.

Peggy sounds really smart, so I would start with a level 2, but she’ll quickly figure it out as Zeke did. But it prepared him to be interested in the level 3 which challenges him.

I forget the name of the best one but here’s a pic of it...


He seems to get a little stuck on the ones with the rope handles, but he has a really soft mouth except during tug of war.
Thank you! I've always had dogs with higher than average intelligence, but Peggy's truly something else. Like you see in donkeys, it can manifest as stubbornness. She's not interested in repetition at all which I understand is typical of spoos, but can be quite a training struggle. So anything that works her impulse control is a winner!

Adding this to my shopping list. Thanks :)
 

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Gilligan was afraid of our staircase after we brought him home. He would go up, but was afraid to go down. My husband got down on his hands and knees and showed him how to go down the stairs. Then Gilligan followed down.

He did it twice and no more fear.
 

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Gilligan was afraid of our staircase after we brought him home. He would go up, but was afraid to go down. My husband got down on his hands and knees and showed him how to go down the stairs. Then Gilligan followed down.

He did it twice and no more fear.
That is so cute. :)

I always call in my husband to demonstrate things for Peggy. I love the way she studies him and then joins in. We even use this technique sometimes when she's being stubborn about eating. He pretends to eat a kibble and she dives right in.
 

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We tried getting him to eat that way since he was so fussy.... that didn't work. But going down stairs did :)
 
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