Animal Cognition

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 263–269

Do as I … Did! Long-term memory of imitative actions in dogs (Canis familiaris)

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10071-015-0931-8

Cite this article as:
Fugazza, C., Pogány, Á. & Miklósi, Á. Anim Cogn (2016) 19: 263. doi:10.1007/s10071-015-0931-8


This study demonstrates long-term declarative memory of imitative actions in a non-human animal species. We tested 12 pet dogs for their ability to imitate human actions after retention intervals ranging from 1 to 24 h. For comparison, another 12 dogs were tested for the same actions without delay between demonstration and recall. Our test consisted of a modified version of the Do as I Do paradigm, combined with the two-action procedure to control for non-imitative processes. Imitative performance of dogs remained consistently high independent of increasing retention intervals, supporting the idea that dogs are able to retain mental representations of human actions for an extended period of time. The ability to imitate after such delays supports the use of long-term declarative memory.


Long-term memory Deferred imitation Declarative memory Long-term recall Dogs 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Hungarian Scholarship Board
    MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Group
    • MTA01 031
    Hungarian Science Foundation
    • OTKA K81953 and K109337

    Copyright information

    © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

    Authors and Affiliations

    • Claudia Fugazza
      • 1
    • Ákos Pogány
      • 1
    • Ádám Miklósi
      • 1
      • 2
    1. 1.Department of EthologyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
    2. 2.MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research GroupBudapestHungary

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