>I've always been curious about dogs learn things. <snip> I haven't quite
been able to figure out whether she learned
>it from Jakey or whether she learned from *us* that this is a good >behaviour
because we always tell Jakey how cute he is and are paying >attention to him
while he is doing the squeaky thing. Interesting >behaviour.
I think you nailed it that they have "learned from *us* that this is a good
behavior" because of two experiences I have had with animals learning
1) When my two *** goldens and I adopted Steve as their new human daddy,
these dogs were both almost totally non-vocal. (It had been strongly
discouraged as part of retriever training). But Steve is blind, and they found
out quickly that the cute faces, pawing at objects, or standing by the back
door looking expectant didn't work with him. It wasn't long before I realized
that they had developed a whole array of vocalizations that they used to
communicate everything from "don't step on me; I'm right here!" to "I'm on my
back here and in the mood for a belly rub", etc. Justice stopped
"de-squeaking" toys (he used to remove the squeakers in record time!) and they
used the squeaks to lead Steve around in games of keep-away and hide-n-seek.
Justice finally put me in hysterics with an oration that lasted about 20
minutes (really!!) that must have been the pent-up vocalizations of years and
years. And T'Chere would routinely raise her snout to the ceiling, and
delicately howl, even learning to turn on a sound sensitive light when I forgot
to leave her a light on. (I learned a lesson, and SheBop's repertory includes a
myriad of vocalizations. It cracks me up!)
2) I "babysat" a baby elephant at the Audubon Zoo when she was in her display
area where people could get close enough to touch her (which meant she could
touch *them*, too, and she was the *most* mischevious thief I have ever seen!!
- Which was why she needed a babysitter.) She was about 1/2 mile from the
elephant house, and I learned that when she turned that direction and assumed a
distinctive posture, if I would put my hand on her forehead, I could feel the
sub-sonic rumblings that meant she was talking with the other elephants over
there. I could not hear them, though, as they were below the frequency poeple
can hear. Yet, when she was interacting with humans, her vocalizations (which
were almost constant) were always pitched within our range of hearing, often
mimicing sounds we make. And her favorites always got her attention, like
rasberries and sneezes. Dolphins tend to do the same thing. Everyone's heard a
Animals learn what we respond to, and then do that to elicit a response from us
again. We could learn a lot about eliciting desired responses from the way
animals train us!
TTFN - Susan F.