Just like you humans, dogs learn in a variety of ways. But how exactly do dogs learn?
Just like you humans, dogs learn in a variety of ways. A big difference is that we don’t speak in words, nor do we understand any human languages. So, our owners need to find other ways to communicate with us.
Since I am a pretty nice dog, I’ve listed some ways below for you.
How exactly do dogs learn?
Trial and Error
A dog learns from being successful and from failing. Dogs are always learning; they are always paying attention. If they try jumping up and getting the attention they want (petting, rubbing, etc.), they learn that jumping works. If, however, the result of the jump is a knee bump in the chest or a pop on the leash, they learn that jumping is not the best way to get your attention.
Showing a dog what is required in small steps. Linking these small steps together gives a dog a mental map or sequence of what is required for any given command or task. This behavior pattern comes from the practice and repetition of a particular routine regularly. I think this method is similar to human problem-solving.
Dogs can also learn from other dogs. Dogs can learn a lot by watching other dogs and by being encouraged to join in. Dogs can learn certain obedience commands, tricks, and even how to swim simply by watching others. Just remember, this can be a double-edged sword, however, as dogs can also learn bad habits by watching others.
Many trainers end their training sessions on a high note and then allow the dog some time to rest and process the information. This gives the dog a good association with training and makes it more desirable for the dog to repeat the last task. Giving a dog time to process and reflect on what just happened can work with both obedience commands and with bad habits. Reprimanding a dog for a bad habit (if caught in the act) works the same way as praising good behavior.
Let’s talk dogs, or even better, let’s learn about dogs. Set aside some time to receive Spike’s dog blogs by Acme Canine.