London - A dog may be a man’s best friend but a study shows that a puppy is his best pupil.
Scientists have found that dogs as young as eight weeks can learn from humans just as quickly as from their mothers.
Puppies including labradors, border collies and Belgian Tervurens learned to slide and lift a box lid to get at sausages and dog treats whether they saw their mother, a strange dog or a person do it first. They also remembered how an hour later.
Dr Claudia Fugazza of Budapest’s Eötvös Loránd University said: "We can train puppies from a young age by showing them what to do like their mothers. If we want them to fetch a stick, we should fetch it first, and if a person wants them to use a new bed they should lie down in it first."
Surprisingly, the study – published in the journal Scientific Reports – also showed the puppies learn more quickly from strange dogs than from their mothers.