Researchers from Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) have shown that dogs can imitate human actions viewed in two-dimensional video projections. Using the “Do as I Do” training method, two dogs, Tara and Franc, were trained to replicate human actions from live demonstrations and video projections. The study tested their ability to imitate actions from different camera angles—frontal, side, and overhead. Dogs successfully replicated actions from frontal and side views, common in their daily observations of humans, but struggled with overhead views.

This research highlights dogs’ observational skills and their social nature, which drive their capacity for imitation. It underscores the importance of social learning, where dogs watch and replicate human actions, facilitated by the bonding hormone oxytocin and reinforced through rewards. The study’s findings, published in Biologia Futura, offer insights into canine cognitive abilities and suggest potential for broader research into animal cognition using this method.

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