Man's best friend will always have a special place in most people's hearts. Our four legged companions can show such loyalty, love, affection, and companionship towards us; those are characteristics that dog owners live for! As humans seem to like doing with anything we're proud of, we also like to show off our pets a little bit too. A few "ooh your dog is so cute!" and "what a precious little thing" can make a dog owners day. It gets all the sweeter when they're well behaved, but what about if they're a genius...?
Skidboot (born in 1972 of owner David Hartwig) was nothing short of "genius." Winning $25,000 on Animal Planet's "Pet Star" and even making an appearance on Oprah, Skidboot can wow audiences from 2 to 90 yrs old with his ability to understand plain English. (See video below)
As we look more closely at Skidboot and his interactions with his owner we can start to see how Skidboot accomplishes this seemingly "genius" feat. In several other videos, owner David shows how he has trained Skidboot to do what he does: through simple operant conditioning. By offering verbal and tactile praise (positive reinforcement) David is able to teach Skidboot each individual portion of an act (the one that won him $25,000 too). By chaining together many small tasks (likely shaping those tasks as well) Skidboot seems to go from a dog that only fetches to a dog that "understands the English language".
Yes it's cute. Enjoy it, but sorry to ruin the magic; Skidboot is a cute dog with a patient trainer who knows the art of operant conditioning.