Scientists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest have conducted a study which shows that our dogs can imitate things we do. We already know that dogs have the uncanny ability to easily read our body language and facial expressions, so this comes as no surprise to us.
The study does place a whole new light on how our dogs view their world and what their amazing capabilities are.
Although dogs are supposed to have short retention spans, the study showed that they can be taught to pay attention copy an action.
Using the commands, “do as I do” for attention and “do it” to repeat our action, 18 female dogs of various breeds and ages were trained by their owners at the Academy. Given several different tests with short waiting periods between commands and with and without owners in view, the 18 dogs scored near perfect marks.
You can practice simple actions with your dog to test his/her ability to repeat your moves. Touch an object, place a toy in a box and so on. Repetition and patience are important in all types of training as well as praise when it is done properly.
These tests can improve your dog’s long-term memory and his/her ability to imitate you. The training can teach your dog useful actions such as bringing you your slippers, the newspaper and more.
On a personal note about long-term memory:
Many years ago, we lived in a 3 family house with my grandmother and uncle. My uncle lived 2 flights up. He adopted a stray dog and we promptly named her Brownie. She became the entire family’s dog and was very special to all of us. Brownie became an excellent watchdog and was very protective of my grandmother and uncle and wouldn’t allow any strangers near them without their permission. After a short time we (my immediate family and I) moved quite a distance away and were not able to return for a visit until a year later. Brownie recognized our footsteps as we started to ascend the 2 flights and gave us a happy, excited greeting, something she did with no other persons, amazing us all with her memory.