Canterbury Christ Church University - One thick puppy (or 50)

October 14, 2010

Teaching an old dog new tricks may be as difficult as the adage implies, according to research. A senior lecturer in psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University recorded the behaviour of 50 pet dogs, which were encouraged to find a detour through a visible gap in a straight barrier. When the gap was shifted, the majority of the dogs failed to go towards the new exit, choosing the first learned route instead. Britta Osthaus, who conducted the research, said it took only two repeats for behaviour to become "ingrained" in the dogs and difficult to unlearn.

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