Watch and Learn

 

Watch and Learn

Watch and Learn

I read an article stating one way that horses learn is by watching other horses.  Immediately I registered that canines do the same thing.  I had seen this a lot as I worked training assistance dogs.  During my training sessions I would place new canine students into see-through crates where they could watch other dogs in training complete the necessary steps to the Alzheimer's working dog's pattern.  It never ceased to amaze me how much of a head start these dogs had over the ones that hadn't visually seen what a working Alzheimer's dog did.  Even dogs that had not been adopted to be trained for Alzheimer's work learned by observing their fellow students go through the repeated sequence of steps.  One day, an older, abused collie I had rescued to become my own forever dog, began to boisterously announce that he wanted out of his cage.  It took me a minute to understand, as he gently kept bumping my leg, that he wanted to play this game with me too.  And he did.  I had tears in my eyes as he successfully put together all of the steps to complete the Alzheimer's dog's pattern.  I had no idea that he was learning as he patiently watched the others.  To this day my mind can see him proudly demonstrating that he too knew this game.  We played it often after that.

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