We have been learning recently about a new dog training method called "Do As I Do", where you teach your dog to imitate you. The seminar was run by Dog & Bone over 2 x two day seminars in August, one in Surrey and one in Warwickshire.
Claudia Fugazza was a fantastic speaker, there were 6 or 7 dogs at each event, with a variety of behaviours that they performed. They each needed 3 behaviours under verbal command only (with no 'head nod' cues etc from the owners) before the event, to enable the training to start. One dog fetched his dog lead, some stood up on a stool, some went to their bed, some performed a spin or a lie down and one touched a cone with his nose.
We started by showing the dogs what we wanted them to do, then gave the cue ‘do it’, followed quickly by the old cue for the behaviour. We repeated this until the dogs started getting the idea that they could anticipate what cue we would give by copying us.
Sandy (our office dog) seemed to be getting the idea by the end of the seminar, watching my demonstration of the behaviour I wanted, then performing the behaviour when I just said 'Do It'. It was fascinating watching the dogs get the idea of the training at different speeds, especially as this was a completely new way of communicating with our dogs.
We're looking forward to getting home and working more on this type of training, although Claudia has advised a few days’ rest as studies have shown that dogs actually learn faster with a break in between training days.
If you are interested in finding out more, the English version of her DVD of the 2 day seminar and book explaining the process are available from www.dog-and-bone.co.uk.