Dogs learning from other dogs?

Discussion in 'Behaviour & Training' started by Melody, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    I had a strange situation yesterday. I'm wondering what you guys think. As you know my sister's dog is here. I've noticed in the past, that Misha's behavior is better after Summit leaves. I've seen different exchanges between them and I know that the older dog is teaching my dog stuff that I don't fully grasp.

    So, here is what happened. Each day I give Misha part of my rice cake. It's part of her "wait" and "leave it" training. I put a couple of pieces on my knee. She has to sit there until I finish. When I give the okay command, she can have them.

    Yesterday, Summit caught on and she wanted her piece, too. So, I saved her a chunk as well (kept separately from Misha's). When I gave Misha the okay command, she waited. I said it again. She scooted up an inch but waited. One more time, she still didn't take hers. Out of annoyance, I gave Summit hers. Only when Summit was done, did Misha jump up for hers. She is usually not that patient!

    I don't want to put too much into this, but do you think she was waiting for Summit to go first? Do you think there was some sort of respect thing going on between her and the older dog?
     
    Melody, Jun 9, 2012
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  2. Melody

    tajnz Well-Known Member

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    Dog’s definitely pick up on and are influenced by each other’s behaviour. I believe that Misha was displaying respect for the elder dog. Perhaps Misha felt that the elder dog was the top dog as dogs tend to have ranks within packs.

    When I was growing up I had two dogs who happened to be sisters. We originally adopted Honey but Rosie her sister was unable to find a home after her first adopted mother was allergic to her and had to return her. So we adopted Rosie. Honey soon took on many of Rosie’s behavioural traits and vice versa which was fascinating.
     
    tajnz, Jun 12, 2012
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  3. Melody

    zararina Well-Known Member

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    I do believe that dogs can learn from each other, understand each other and communicate to each other. ;)
    Maybe she thinks the visitor should have her piece first before getting hers. :p
     
    zararina, Jun 12, 2012
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  4. Melody

    Victor Leigh Well-Known Member

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    Dogs definitely have their own pecking order. I have seen this with my own dogs. It has nothing to do with size either. Benjamin is half the size of Dark Lady but Benjamin is much older than Dark Lady. So when it comes to food and there's just one piece, Dark Lady would defer to Benjamin.
     
    Victor Leigh, Jun 12, 2012
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  5. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    Summit is coming to stay again this weekend, so I have a chance to test my hypothesis. We'll see if Misha acts the same way. I know that she defers to Summit for other things. Summit likes to sit at the front door to wait for her family. Sometimes Misha wants to be at the front door, too. However, she will move if Summit comes near.

    Victor, you are right that size does not matter. My brother has four dogs: 2 mini pinschers, 1 doberman, and 1 yorkie. The leader of the pack is not the doberman. It is the female mini pinscher who is the oldest. It is funny to see her run to the door and have this trail of dogs following behind her. If they get too close, she gives a growl and everyone backs off. She is smaller than Misha. She's a little tyrant. LOL
     
    Melody, Jun 12, 2012
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  6. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    I thought I would update you all on my experiment. Summit returned this weekend. We did our rice cake ritual as usual. Misha sitting on one side and Summit laying a couple of feet away.

    As I was breaking it up, I dropped a piece. Normally, Misha would try to catch it before it hit the ground. :D However, she sat there and she waited. She was aware it was on the ground. I wanted to see what would happen, so I continued eating. Soon, Summit belly crawled her big body all the way to my feet and ate the piece on the ground. Misha never interfered!

    I am convinced that the older dog is teaching my dog about her proper place in the pack. She's getting manners!
     
    Melody, Jun 17, 2012
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    Victor Leigh likes this.
  7. Melody

    Victor Leigh Well-Known Member

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    It's times like these that I begin to wonder why is it that human beings cannot even learn the simple things which dogs can understand. The pecking order may seem archaic to some people but to me it serves a function in keeping things orderly.
     
    Victor Leigh, Jun 18, 2012
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  8. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    Victor, I agree. If you watch dogs, you can see their interactions. The younger ones learn from the older. They pick up very quickly who is boss and who is follower. There is so much unspoken going on between them. I don't think humans are in tune enough to read those kinds of signs even between humans.

    This reminds me of my dog, Sierra, who was gentle and good with other dogs. Her problem was she was serious about her food treats. My Dad would give her small piece of bread after he ate dinner. She sat patiently for a half hour to get that piece of bread.

    Once my sister's dog was staying with us. She was less than a year old at the time. She decided while Sierra was focused on the bread it would be great time to play with her. She jumped on Sierra's side and Sierra reacted. In a split second, she turned on her, flipped her on her back, stood over her, and gave a low growl. Then, she got up and walked back to her spot and sat down to wait.

    She clearly told the youngster to back off. She didn't start a fight, didn't bite her. She sure got the message across though. I never had any more issues with them over food. Sierra set the boundaries herself and they were never breached again.
     
    Melody, Jun 18, 2012
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  9. Melody

    Dani72 Active Member

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    In a pack situation the leader always gets to eat first so it does sound very much as if your dog is deferring to your sister's as the leader. I love to watch the interaction between my two-far more interesting than the telly.
     
    Dani72, Jun 22, 2012
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  10. Melody

    Victor Leigh Well-Known Member

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    I have witnessed something like this myself. Candy lives alone in my house. Benjamin lives in my shop with the other dogs. Benjamin is the senior dog at the shop. One day, I took Benjamin to visit Candy. Candy was furious. She growled and snarled.

    Interestingly, Benjamin just ignored her. In fact, he walked right under her body to get into the house because she was bigger than him by a lot. Then he just laid down and took a nap. Finally Candy just had to accept his seniority.

    So, from that, I understand that dogs do not have to fight to establish their position. Benjamin was so confident of himself that he didn't have to fight to show who's the leader.
     
    Victor Leigh, Jun 22, 2012
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  11. Melody

    mkCampbell Active Member

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    I can tell you that our Shih Tzu puppy learned to be house trained by watching our older Golden go out side for the bathroom. The younger dog learned from watching her "Big Brother." I have no doubt that was the case although I would like to take full credit for it. The same could be said for lightning. The Shih Tzu became more afraid of lightning as she grew older and I think that was because the Golden hates lightning and thunder.
     
    mkCampbell, Nov 20, 2014
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  12. Melody

    claudine Well-Known Member

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    I believe that dogs can learn from each other.
    However, my Homer has never done that. He doesn't respect dogs older or bigger than him. He barks at all animals. Sometimes I worry that he's too aggressive:(
     
    claudine, Jan 19, 2015
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  13. Melody

    Winterybella Well-Known Member

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    Well I can speak to this with some authority. My case might be slightly different from the initial poster but I can safely say that my last dog taught her mom quite a few things. Remy the mother was given to my son as gift. When Remy came home she was shy and it seemed like she was afraid of her own shadow. I could get her to do nothing. All I could do was love her.

    Then her daughter came along. Hyper Zola, unafraid and not the least intimidated. I taught Zola to sit and other basic things from early and overtime Remy started to follow. Remy would refuse to go on walks and after watching Zola go with me for walks she eventually followed. So my once shy, seemingly unfriendly dog is new a new "person" thanks to her outgoing daughter.
     
    Winterybella, Jan 19, 2015
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  14. Melody

    mkCampbell Active Member

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    We now have a foster dog who has quickly learned the house routine from our other dogs. I don't know if it's a "pack" type of thing at this point. I'll know when I walk by the back door and he's standing there ready to go outside by himself if needed instead of waiting on the other two or for us to call them out for a bathroom break and a walk.
     
    mkCampbell, Feb 18, 2015
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  15. Melody

    sushdawg Member

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    My older dog seems to be learning from my puppy, and vice versa. I try to reward my older dog by doing his stand-by tricks like "shake" when I praise the puppy for sitting or coming. Recently, I told the puppy to "down" (lie down") and she gave me her paw, so clearly she was picking up on some of the older dogs behaviors.

    An article I once read mentioned that if one dog is continually getting rewarded/treats, and the other dog in the pack is not, the two dogs will try to work together and figure out why so that they both get the correct response, which would support your idea that one dog is learning from another one. I think it probably depends on the intelligence of the dogs, how aware they are of the other dog, and age, among other factors.
     
    sushdawg, Mar 12, 2015
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  16. Melody

    Trellum Well-Known Member

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    I think of dogs as children, and in my experience children can learn from other children very easily and often do... So I'd not be surprised if dogs actually did the same! Not one bit! I raised 2 dogs together, so I didn't really get to see a lot of that, because both of them were raised together by me. I did notice my schnauzer imitated me since day one, she saw me put my head on a pillow, and next night she tried to make her own pillow with the carpet. She is such a smart girl...
     
    Trellum, Mar 24, 2015
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  17. Melody

    Winterybella Well-Known Member

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    Well again I have something to speak about here. I have seen this firsthand and now with the "new kid on the block" I am seeing it more. If I am being honest. I want to chastise my older dogs these last few days. I am not happy with the way the "new kid" is manipulating at least one of the other dogs.

    She is a biter and my dog was NEVER a biter. Last evening I heard my son asking Zola the veteran if she did not have a mind of her own. Apparently because the little new kid Ginger is biting up stuff, my otherwise sweet Zola is starting to bite too. I don't even know what to do.
     
    Winterybella, Mar 24, 2015
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  18. Melody

    claudine Well-Known Member

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    This is so cute!!:D Homer has never tried to imitate me. But he sometimes yawns when I'm yawning:) It's really funny!
    I think of dogs as children too.
     
    claudine, Mar 24, 2015
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  19. Melody

    Trellum Well-Known Member

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    Hehehe, I thought it was so odd!!!! That evening (I had lied her carpet flat on the floor) she made her way under the carpet!!! She looked like a funky ghost, lol, then she started moving around, as if she knew what she was doing. She made her way out, by that time she had already made herself a pillow with the badly folded carpet, lol!!!!! She started doing that every evening!!!! :eek:
     
    Trellum, Mar 25, 2015
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  20. Melody

    Trellum Well-Known Member

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    Oh no!!!1 Looks like Ginger is corrupting Zola :O Gosh, my mom disliked biting so much, that was one of the things she didn't like about dogs (which is odd because she loves them), her old dog torn off a lot of her things, even her fav sweater, hehehe. Biting is such a tough habit to eradicate, best of luck with that!
     
    Trellum, Mar 25, 2015
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