Ethology is the study of animal behavior. I pulled out my old ethology notes from undergrad this week trying to find the correct term or idea behind Lamo’s ‘domestication’. Because I think that is what his “owner” did, she took a sheep and made a dog.
There could be several ways this happened.
Imprinting is life stage sensitive learning, where an individual (animal or human) learns characteristic behavior from another. Think of the juvenile cranes in Wisconsin who fly behind the ultralight with its crane costumed pilot all the way to Florida.
Imitation is where an animal mimics or replicates the behavior of another. A mother and baby playing peek-a-boo comes to mind.
Stimulus enhancement is learning interest in an object after observing the interest of another. Perhaps Lamo observed how the family dogs interacted with their owner (in this case the object) and wanted to involve himself too.
Associative learning is essentially putting two and two together. Does your pet know that you get out of bed AFTER the alarm goes off? From the article it sounds like Lamo can figure out when he gets a car ride.
Perhaps Lamo was born with a higher ‘sociability’ tendency, that is, willingness to interact in social groupings. This is a key in dog domestication, as most live for interaction with others. But cats are semi-domesticated at best. Yes, many can’t live with out their humans but there are some cats (usually feral) that have no desire for human or other cat relationship.