Sorry for the delay,but It was worth because today we have the interview that you are waiting for, with Claudia Fugazza.
Claudia Fugazza is from Italy and works as a PhD student researcher at the University of Budapest with Prof. Miklosi, she has created a new training technique based on social learning: Do as I do.
1.How you define yourself?
I am just a researcher in Ethology!
2.When you thought about changing laws for dogs?
Studying wolves and dogs has always been my primary interest but I decided to completely devote my life to my passion as soon as I realized that my job as a lawyer didn’t leave me enough time to do what I really loved to. It has been hard to decide to quit something ‘sure’ for the ‘unknown’, but I’m very happy with my life right now.
3. How does "do as I do" work?
The Do as I Do is a protocol that was first used to test imitative abilities in chimpanzees in the fifties.
Recent ethological studies revealed the social cognitive abilities of dogs and demonstrated that they are surprisingly predisposed to learn socially from humans. The first study on dog’s imitative abilities using the Do as I Do was published in 2006 (Topal et al. Reproducing human actions and action sequences: “Do as I Do!” in a dog. Anim Cogn (2006) 9:355–367 DOI 10.1007/s10071-006-0051-6).
I developed the Do as I do as a new training method based on dog’s social cognitive skills, particularly on his imitative ability.
With this technique dogs will learn new behaviours observing and imitating their owners.
With the training protocol, dogs first learn the “imitation rule” through operant conditioning and are then able to apply it to novel behaviours, tasks etc. so that, at the end of the training protocol, the owner will be able to teach new behaviours to their dogs, simply showing them what to do.
I’m currently using this method for both applied dog training purposes and to scientifically test dog’s imitative abilities.
4. What is the fundamental difference between wolves and dogs at the behavioural level?
There are many studies on this topic. One of the main difference between wolves and dogs is that dogs seem to be much more predisposed to communicate, cooperate and form social bonds with humans.
5. What are your next goals?
As a researcher I still have many questions to answer about
dogs social cognitive abilities and there is still much to be
discovered!I will also dedicate some studies to the applied
world of dog training, addressing some applied issues aimed at
improving the current training methods.
6. Is it possible to apply your method to other social species like horses?
At present there are no date on the use of this method with other species and the whole idea came from the special predisposition of dogs to learn socially from humans but it might be that other scientists, working on other species will surprise us about this. I keep my open-mindedness!
Grazie tante Claudia!