new study out which asserts that all dogs imitate their owners. Oh, so it's my fault is it? Everyone knows I pee outside my elder son's bedroom when I think no one's looking, strip garden bushes down to the stub for a laugh (see left), and run away from my family members whenever I get the opportunity. (OK, well perhaps that one....)
It's quite an interesting study and explains that dogs do this automatic imitation thing, whereby (for example) if you train them to open a door with their heads and their paws, they will choose the method they see their owners employing. I don't know many people who open doors with their heads, but still.
Even more interesting is that people do this too. I quote:
It's long been known that humans do this, even when the tendency to copy interferes with efficiency.
"For example," according to the researchers, "if people are instructed to open their mouths as soon as they see the letters 'OM' appear on a screen, responses are slower when the letters are accompanied by an image of an opening hand than when they are accompanied by an image of an opening mouth."
So basically, the sight of the opening hand confuses them a bit. Hmmmmm., let's see how I put this knowledge to use in the Expat abode:
- giving teenage boy instructions while pointing to offending pile of wet clothes on the floor is obviously confusing him. From now on I will stand in front of him, look directly into his eyes and keep my entire body still while I shout. Well, there might be smoke coming out of my ears.....
- pointing to the dishwasher while simultaneously finishing my dinner, and telling 7 year old to eat more will not get the teens to put their plates in. Again, need to lock them into eye contact and not flail about.
- trying to communicate to the Ball & Chain that I can't hold a conversation while brushing my teeth needs to be a one gesture event. No pointing at the toothbrush, furrowing brow and making shouty gargling sounds. A firm slam of the bathroom door should suffice.
Since I've spent the last three months trying to train a very headstrong dog, I learned very quickly that the more words you use, the less likely she is to do anything at all. Obviously the same with humans.