New publication: Do as I … Did! Long-term memory of imitative actions in dogs

New publication: Do as I … Did! Long-term memory of imitative actions in dogs

Fugazza et al. tested pet dogs trained with the Do as I Do method for their ability to imitate human actions after retention intervals ranging from 1 to 24 hours. For comparison, another twelve dogs were tested for the same actions without delay between demonstration and recall. Our test consisted of a modified version of the Do as I Do paradigm, combined with the two-action procedure to control for non-imitative processes. Owner demonstrated one of two possibile actions on an object while the dog watched, then owner and dog went home for the whole duration of the retention interval and came back for the recall phase. In the recall phase the owner asked the dog to imitate the previously demonstrated action using the ‘Do it!’ command.
Imitative performance of dogs remained consistently high independent of increasing retention intervals, supporting the idea that dogs are able to retain mental representations of human actions for an extended period of time. The ability to imitate after such delays supports the use of long-term declarative memory for imitative actions.
Fugazza C., Pogány Á., Miklósi Á. (2015) Do as I … Did! Long-term memory of imitative actions in dogs (Canis familiaris) Animal Cognition DOI: 10.1007/s10071-015-0931-8