Dog Education Institute De Roedel             
International Behaviour Therapy Centre 
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© 2003 - 2019
Dog Education Institute
De Roedel

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Primary learning, primary learned: Social learning

’Talking’ with scent, body language, dog language, dog codes and dog manners is something that every dog must learn. It is primary learned social behaviour. Thanks to social learning, the dog language gains meaning for a dog, so that dogs can communicate with each other.


By mixing with others and ‘talking’, a dog gains clarity and security about what its rights and obligations are and what the rights and obligations of the other are. This is important, as when this is unclear, it creates chaos, in which no dog can feel safe and secure.

Social Learning (learning)
This is a learning process that every animal must go through, and that limits itself to interaction between those of the same kind. Human action has little to no meaning here. It’s the ‘natural’ raising in the broadest sense of the word. Positive ratification in the human sense, as used in learning by conditioning, plays no part in this; have you ever seen a dog give another dog a treat? It’s the continual interaction that is the most important reward for the dog: it belongs! And...thanks to that interaction, the dog can learn.


Copyright 2003 - 2019