do dog learn from other trained dogs?
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Thread: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

  1. #1
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    do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    hey guys.. questions. do u know if dogs learn good things from other trained dogs. for example if u have a trained dog that does sit, down, crawl, rollover, shake, barks on command, does stays,.. etc etc etc.. if i bring another untrained dog and make him watch while i make older dog do all those things, do u think new dog will pick up something? do they pick any good behavior at all ? very curious

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I do think there is some validity in social learning but that it's most likely about learning to be calm, learning that the people have good stuff worth trying for etc. But not with complicated behaviours like crawl and rollover. Doesn't mean it's not possible, but even us humans often can learn somethings by watching, but that doesn't mean we can perform the behaviours perfectly the first time.

    "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" comes to mind...lol.
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    Senior Member TxRider's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by neupane00 View Post
    hey guys.. questions. do u know if dogs learn good things from other trained dogs. for example if u have a trained dog that does sit, down, crawl, rollover, shake, barks on command, does stays,.. etc etc etc.. if i bring another untrained dog and make him watch while i make older dog do all those things, do u think new dog will pick up something? do they pick any good behavior at all ? very curious
    To some degree yes. They also learn bad habits from other dogs too.

    I wouldn't expect it to learn too complicated things from another dog though.

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    Senior Member FaithFurMom09's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    i can say no. Faith knows commands and when she does em- Hope just stands there and looks at her. Lol.
    Jen, Furmom to:
    Faith- Lab & Golden w/Shepherd
    Hope- Lab
    Elvin- Lab & Husky
    Opie- Beagle (rehomed in '15)
    Charlie- Chihuahua

    ...and 2 cats

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    Senior Member misty073's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Bella is learning to bite gentler from Maggie, and she has also learned how to chase the cat (this is learned because she wont do it unless maggie is there) She has also learned to play fetch from Maggie...but as for sit, stay, leave it...nope LOL
    _______________________________________
    Maggie, My little Jack Russell.
    Bella, My little mix, any guesses to my breed are welcome.

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    Senior Member Binkalette's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Yes. Maggie learned "Up" from watching Zoey.. I never taught it to her. She also learned what "Out" means, but that I think is just from following Zoey out when I say it.. :P

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Well I knew a trainer and I use that word loosely that had 10 kennels on concrete slab and he told clients that all he had to do was put untrained dogs in the 10 kennels and he would then work his dog in front of them and after so many of these workouts the untrained dogs would become trained dogs. I don't know what was worse, the absolute charlatan/fraud he was or the absolute stupidity of some people to believe scammers.

    I think that trainer moved to Nicaragua and is in the checking business now.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I think some things like when you have a bunch of dogs and say lets go outside and everybody heads for the door, the new dog soon learns what that means. If you have three dogs in front of you and two of them know to sit when you tell them to, the new dog may sit but he does not know what sit means. When I first started Agility with Remmy, my sister's dog was braver and would run through the tunnels and chute, and Remmy followed him. It did not teach him to go through them when I told him to as he was just following but then I could start to teach him to go through when I asked.

    On these sort of things that a dog learns by following, I think they can start to learn from the other dog but you still have to teach them what it means to do it when you ask.

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    Senior Member PappyMom's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    When Lily first lived at my mom's house as a puppy, my mother's older pug, Annie, would 'herd' her back into the yard if she wandered out. By the time Lily was about 5 months old, my mother was able to open the door, let them out, they'd go out to potty and come back to the door to be let in. Lily never left the yard because Annie would nip at her legs till she went back in the yard. It was a hilarious sight to see..and made for a perfect dog.

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dogs think I am.
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    Senior Member FlashTheRottwuggle's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I believe untrained dogs do learn a lot from being around trained dogs but not necessarily everything. My first dog Casper went through basic obedience training and knew sit, stay, down, heel, as well as other commands and tricks we taught him. When he was 11 yo, I got Shep as a 10 wk old pup for my son who was 5. We lived on a dairy farm and I really didn't have time for any kind of obedience training with Shep. The dogs spent most of their days with us in the barn or on an enclosed back porch with freedom to wander as they please. (They never went beyond the back yard unless we were with them amazingly.) Within 2 days, Shep learned to go outside to do his business simply by following Casper. I never even got involved other than cleaning up the overnight mess for 2 nights. When visitors arrived and I told Casper to go lie down, Shep went and lied down with him. When Casper rounded up the cows to bring them to the barn, Shep was right there.

    After our divorce, my son and I and the 2 dogs moved to an apartment in the city. Shep was completely housebroken without a problem already. When I started going on regular walks in the AM, at lunch, and in the evening, I would tell Casper to heel and Shep fell in line. After Casper passed from old age, Shep was so well trained that I would have to say he was more obedient and responsive than Casper ever was without a lesson or class.
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    Senior Member agility collie mom's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    Well I knew a trainer and I use that word loosely that had 10 kennels on concrete slab and he told clients that all he had to do was put untrained dogs in the 10 kennels and he would then work his dog in front of them and after so many of these workouts the untrained dogs would become trained dogs. I don't know what was worse, the absolute charlatan/fraud he was or the absolute stupidity of some people to believe scammers.

    I think that trainer moved to Nicaragua and is in the checking business now.
    Probably could have sold those people the Brooklyn Bridge too!
    "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera

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    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Just FYI.....There is a large scientifc study going on right now to try and measure exactly what kinds of learning/knowledge and skills can be passed from one dog to another.

    Should be interesting reading in the next year or so.

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    Senior Member TxRider's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I have watched my newer rescue Kaya learning from my other rescue Hope quite a bit.

    But it seems to be mainly social behavior. Kaya is very fearful and timid, and I have noticed she watches Hope a lot, and watches how she greets people and dogs and has started taking her lead and learning to trust strange people and dogs and new environments a lot more easily than she would without Hope to observe and learn from.

    Hope is fearless and a huge social butterfly, she doesn't react with aggression to anything, she greets and reacts with calming signals, almost puppy like usually. Though she can switch to a dominant mode of behavior, but it's never violent.

    Kaya looks to her as much or more than she looks to me for that kind of thing. She is more prone to fear aggression, and living with Hope is helping her a lot I believe.

    It's taken 4 months, but Kaya now actually takes food from strangers, and has been confident enough to play with one other dog besides Hope, a big intact male lab down the street that Hope loves to go romp around with. It's owner hands a milk bone out to them every time we stop by.

    I believe I saw a study that showed some dogs able to learn from watching others, some even fairly complex things, but it was dependent on the dog and it's personality. More submissive dogs learned from watching, while more independent and dominant dogs did not.

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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I had a dog who learned the basic obedience commands from watching his older sister do them, but dogs learning commands is not the same thing as dogs training one another. A certain kind of competitiveness can be usefully exploited when training multiple dogs.

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    Senior Member KBLover's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I believe they can.

    They learn by watching us (I know Wally has picked up stuff I never formally taught and he's the only dog here so...) - but he would be considered "submissive" so I suppose that's what's going on.

    Interested in that study, though. How dogs think and learn is fascinating to me.

    Wally's latent learning position.

    Believe in yourself, be the type of dog owner you want to be and you won’t need labels." - Dr. Abrantes

    "I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand. " -Confucious says why I love shaping in a sentence.

    "Once you've entered the battle, you've already lost." -Amaryllis' mom on dog and child training.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsh Muppet View Post
    I had a dog who learned the basic obedience commands from watching his older sister do them, but dogs learning commands is not the same thing as dogs training one another. A certain kind of competitiveness can be usefully exploited when training multiple dogs.
    Back to my scammer, this man did this hour long workout in front of the 10 dogs and gave no followup to owners who just sat and watched this program (some from their cars others on lawn chairs etc) I guess he thought if the dogs would learn from watching the owners could too. It was a 10 lesson program. Just imagine going to a class now would be so much easier because you could work dog during class and obviously not ever have to work the dog through the week because the dog would be getting double work during class. The owner actually working him and the dog in spare time viewing all other dogs and owners working in the class.

    8 to 10 weeks and all these dogs would be trained.

    One of the oldest bird dog methods is to start your pup with an older dog and eventually using this method you will produce a fine bird dog. I always started young pups/dogs alone as my goal was an independant bird dog that was hunting birds not another dog to tag along with, Though in some cases the tag along method would work and produce a hunting dog. I did not like it.

    With water dogs I have used older dogs to help introduce some pups to water, letting some pups watch while older dogs hit the water. I just don't classify that as dog training.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Senior Member TxRider's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by KBLover View Post
    I believe they can.

    They learn by watching us (I know Wally has picked up stuff I never formally taught and he's the only dog here so...) - but he would be considered "submissive" so I suppose that's what's going on.

    Interested in that study, though. How dogs think and learn is fascinating to me.
    I'll see if I can find it if I have time.

    They used a problem solving puzzle in the form of courses to navigate if I remember right.

    The more submissive dogs watched the others for direction and learned the solution and the more dominant independent ones who paid no attention to the other dogs had much more problem with the solution or never found it.

    Or that was their conclusion anyway. I don't know if I totally agree. To me it seems some dogs may have just generalized that they could learn from observation and others simply didn't as pups could just as easily explain it.

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    Senior Member qingcong's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    I think it's completely reasonable for dogs to learn natural dog behaviors from other dogs; stuff that's instinctual like how to relax, lifting the leg to pee, bite inhibition, and other social behaviors. But stuff like learning sit, stay, come, heel, and other human creations, I don't think they'd be able to learn simply by observing another dog.

  21. #19
    Senior Member Poly's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by TxRider View Post
    ...They used a problem solving puzzle in the form of courses to navigate if I remember right.

    The more submissive dogs watched the others for direction and learned the solution and the more dominant independent ones who paid no attention to the other dogs had much more problem with the solution or never found it.

    Or that was their conclusion anyway. I don't know if I totally agree. To me it seems some dogs may have just generalized that they could learn from observation and others simply didn't as pups could just as easily explain it.
    Obviously this depends on the breeds and the individual dogs involved in the study.

    However, it is an undisputed fact that "green" retrievers learn a lot of their field techniques by watching an experienced dog go through its paces. It is also a fact that "green" herding dogs learn much about controlling other animals by watching experienced herders. This is attested by many years of experience with these breeds under field conditions.

    I would not be surprised if this translates to other highly skilled performance activities as well - such as obedience exercises, agility exercises, dog sports, etc. Many experienced trainers who have worked extensively with these breeds will say that they do learn by watching.

  22. #20
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: do dog learn from other trained dogs?

    However, it is an undisputed fact that "green" retrievers learn a lot of their field techniques by watching an experienced dog go through its paces. It is also a fact that "green" herding dogs learn much about controlling other animals by watching experienced herders. This is attested by many years of experience with these breeds under field conditions.
    I'm gonna dispute the fact, having worked many years with assorted Labs, Chessies, Goldens and 1 Portuguese water dog (weren't many in country then)

    Yes you can stake out green dogs on shoreline etc and start building desire to enter water or on land and fetch a dummy possibly by watching an older dog but anything further than that is just not gonna happen. My opinion is based on actually working dogs.

    As far as obedience work that would be wishful thinking/dreaming and that's based on years of working dogs.

    I have never worked any herding animals but I believe if you take a green pup out and let him spend 3 months staked out watching an older dog work sheep and at the start of the 4th month just bring out the sheep and turn this pup loose, I think it's gonna a be a total uncontrolled mess.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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