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    Video of a dog doing the Imitation Experiment:

    An Answer from Dr. Adam Miklosi:

    Are dogs able to imitate the action of others?

    In 2006 we published the first scientific study on imitation in dogs (Topál et al 2006). This was followed by some debate whether one can really speak about ‘imitation’ in this situation. We defined imitation as the ability to perform a functionally analogue behaviour after seeing in done by others (humans or dogs).

    We believe that dogs, as a social species, are able to imitate an action shown by others but it is very difficult to provide a clear evidence for this under controlled experimental conditions. Our procedure was the first to provide strong evidence, despite the fact that dog trainers or people working with dogs (e.g. shepherds) probably relied on this ability already many 100 years ago. Given the assumption that dogs have the ability…

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    joyousgard commented  · 

    PG (borzoi) learned a flip finish for obedience. Her nephew Charo saw the applause that followed what is a spectacular move. The next time I recalled him & asked him to 'finish,' he mimicked Aunt PG to my great surprise. In another less wonderful example, Charo never responded fearfully to loud noises until her saw his two sisters react to the sound of a gunshot (target practice in a yard nearby. Currently, Phoebe spends the first training class or two mostly watching the other dogs in the class. Once she's figured out what's wanted, she executes. Phoebe subscribes to Daniel Boone (or was it Davy Crockett?) who said, "Be sure you're right; then go ahead." I often say half in jest, of Phoebe, she's a sighthound: she wants to see. Something to that, do you think?

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