There are three main ways that can dogs learn new behaviors: cause and effect, trial and error, and social learning. An example of cause and effect might be, your dog jumps on humans and gets attention. Now your dog continues this behavior. An example of trial and error might be your dog jumps on the counter a few times, looking for food but finds none. Then tries it again one day and finds the rotisserie chicken you left out. Now your dog is always “counter surfing” looking for that next big jackpot.
Social learning is when a dog copies a human or another dog. For example, those of you that have more than one dog you may find that your newer dog followed your other dog through the doggie door and thus did not need to be taught by you when your first dog needed to be taught. Another method of structured social learning is the “Do as I Do” Method. I have taught my dog Chobani to copy my behaviors. This type of learning will be wonderful for complex behaviors and service dogs. Please see the video below for an example and let us know if you are interested in learning or teaching your dog how to do this. We will be doing some classes around this in the near future! Lots of Woofs!