Archives for the day Monday, March 9th, 2009

Dog’s memories

 When I was an University student, I used to visit some of my pen pals in foreign countries during  vacation.

USA,UK,Australia,Holland etc but, I visited USA more than other countries. Many of my friends in USA had dogs at home. One of the friends had gentle Golden Retrievers, and I visited her family a couple of times with interval of 2 years or 3 years,but they seemed to remember me and came to meet me with happy jumpy and wagging tail.

I wondered if they still remembered me even after 2-3 years of time not seeing me. My friend said they might have remembered me still.

After moving to the states and had our home, in 2005, we welcomed stumpy little Welsh Pembroke Corgi,”Palette”.

At about 3 months or so, we enrolled in puppy training class. There,the trainer told us that dogs just don’t learn and remember things in snap,and we need to do training repeatedly.

Also, Palette’s breeder told us that she would not think that Palette may remember/recognize her mother Corgi dog & father Corgi dog when she happened to see the parents on walk etc.

 So, these made me think how dogs remember things.

 According to, human can think back to specific events or memories but animal can’t. They say dogs don’t have episodic memories or ability to remember event in the past.

 When dog seem to look like they know it is time for food,or where the food will be placed or when the dog parents will be home etc,it is not by memories but by biological clock: circadian oscillators (use fluctuation of hormones,temperature,neural activity). In other words,they do not remember how much hours passes between meals. Time is recognized just by human.

 (To read more on dog memory,please click here)

 So, I wonder if the Golden Retriever recognized scent,not by memories we spent together a couple of years back from the visited time.

As for puppy does not recognize their parents after separated, I wonder if it  is something to do with scent recognition. As puppy gets older,their scent can change?? I don’t know. It maybe interesting thing to search about.

 While I was trying to find about dog’s memories,I found interesting memory test for dogs from Modern magazine site. (Click here)

 While it is interesting to read how one  can mark score of memories,since they use smelly treats in test,I personally feel that score is more to do with sniffing ability rather than memory of the dog.

Even if dog did not remember where the people put the treat in, they can use keen sense of smell (their nose) to sniff out.So,I think it is hard to tell if it was found by sense of smell or memory.

What is your thoughts on dog’s memory? 


Mar 09, 2009 | Comments are off | Miscellaneous (dogs)