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Dev Psychobiol. 1977 May;10(3):267-71.

Ontogeny of observational learning in the dog (Canis familiaris).


A split-litter technique was used to test observational learning in 4 litters of Miniature Dachshund puppies, 21, 28, 38, and 60 days old at the beginning of the experiment. In one side of a duplicate cage, one puppy of a litter, the demonstrator, learned to pull in a food cart on a runner by means of a ribbon, while another puppy, the observer, watched from an adjacent compartment, separated by a wire screen. Observational learning was demonstrated by the saving in time for the 1st trial when the observer was given the same problem to solve. Maturation, particularly the development of visual function and motor coordination, set a lower age limit for the emergence of observational learning.

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