Dogs have an associative memory. This brain process involves your pet remembering that crunching plastic could mean that they are about to get a treat. Due to this type of memory, you may wonder, do dogs remember people? You may worry about your pet forgetting you if you have to go on vacation or out of town for a while. The information provided below will help you understand more about how your dog’s memory works. It will also help to ease some of your emotions and anxiety about your pet forgetting you. Learn more about the information you need to know in the article below.
Table of Contents
- Do Dogs Remember People?
- How Long Do Dogs Remember People?
- How Does a Dog’s Memory Work?
- Do Dogs Remember Things?
- Do Dogs Forget People?
- Do Dogs Handle Change Well?
- Help Your Dog with Its Memory
- So, Do Dogs Remember People?
Do Dogs Remember People?
Dogs are intelligent beings, which should make you feel a little better. These pets do remember people. Some owners report that their dogs remember them after years or months of not seeing them. Think about the viral videos of military personnel coming home to their houses where their pets await, for instance.
When remembering people, there are specific aspects that dogs store in their memory banks. These pets will recognize your face and the tone of your voice. These features help your dog to identify you. These are many of the same ways that other humans recognize you.
Dogs will also remember your scent. If you leave your pet with a piece of clothing or a blanket that smells like you, you can help its memory. When you come home from the time you spent away, your dog will recognize you because of the scent they find on you.
Dogs will also recognize your family members and friends when they show up at your home, even if there is a gap in time. They will know your loved ones’ faces and voices. The dogs will also know the scents on your friends and family members. This feature is part of why they get excited when they see them.
How Long Do Dogs Remember People?
Dogs, as mentioned, use association when remembering things or people. It will associate your smell, your voice, and your tone with you, helping it to recognize you. With this type of brain process in place, your dog will remember people for a long time.
Your dog will remember all of the people who gave it love and affection throughout its years on earth. They will continue to fear those individuals who maltreated them. This type of memory is one of the strongest reasons why you should always shower your pet with love.
No matter how long you have to go, you can rest assured knowing your pet will recognize you when you get home. Your dog will likely rush to the door, jumping up and down in excitement to see your face. It will not leave your side as soon as it sees you again.
If you need to give your dog to a new owner, do not be anxious about it. If these new people shower it with the same love, it will learn to provide the same affection. It will not only think about you, but it will learn to remember the new owners.
How Does a Dog’s Memory Work?
Dogs have a good memory, and it is long-term at its best. This brain process does not work in the same way, as it does for humans. People have episodic memories that allow them to reminisce about the most previous events in their lives.
Dogs do not have these episodic memories as humans do. They have associative memory, as aforementioned. They will recognize specific people and things through the sounds and sensations associated with them. It will then respond appropriately because of the memories that come with the person or item.
If your dog has positive associations, they will get existed when they see specific items and people. You may notice that your pet runs in circles around a specific guest in your home. They may jump up and down when they hear you open the treat bag.
A dog can also make negative associations in its memories. If your pet is afraid of hats, they likely experienced harm from a person who wore one of these accessories. They may feel fear about going to the veterinarian, for instance, because of the vaccines they receive in the office.
How Do You Change a Dog’s Associative Memory?
As you know, not everyone who wears a hat is an evil person. You also need to eliminate the fear your dog has surrounding the veterinarian so that it can remain healthy. Same with your groomer. You have to work to keep your dog calm when grooming. When considering your dog’s associative memories, you need to understand if there is a way to change them.
There are training techniques you can put in place, whether you use a professional or your own research. Eventually, these processes will help to eliminate the negative associations. If you provide your dog with positive reinforcements during the training, your dog will start to form positive memories from the actions you engage.
If one of your guests wears a hat, for instance, you will give your dog a treat if it does not cower in fear. Your pet may eventually go to the person. If this action occurs, you need to shower your animal with as much praise as possible.
If your dog is afraid of the veterinarian, provide it with a treat when it enters the doctor’s office. If it goes to the doctor without any problems, give it more treats or positive affirmations. If your dog behaves throughout the appointment, provide it with a reward after you leave.
How Long Does a Dog’s Memory Last?
Dogs have a long-term memory. They do not do as well with short-term brain processes due to the association process. You may understand this difficulty when trying to train your dog. It is part of the reason why it takes days or weeks to treat your pet with new commands.
As mentioned, dogs do not have episodic memories. They do not remember specific events, they only know the feelings associated with specific sensations. A dog will never recall any specific thing that happened at some point in its life. It will only know about its treats, people, and toys.
When considering short-term memory for the sake of this section, your dog will typically recall something for 10 or 20 seconds. If you find a destroyed piece of furniture in your home after vacation, your pet will not remember engaging in the behavior. For the most part, dogs live in the present moment.
Some researchers state that dogs can remember short-term events for as long as up to two minutes. They will not recall the time you left a room 15 minutes ago. This lack of short-term memory may cause your dog to forget a command you only taught them one time.
How Far Back Can Dogs Remember?
You may also want to consider if a dog has any long-term memory abilities. Remember, as mentioned, these pets do not have episodic memories that they can access. They use associations to identify people, places, and things that they encounter in their day-to-day environments.
A dog will not remember when you brought it home. It will not have any memory of what you did for its last birthday. It may not remember the car ride you took to the pet store, where it got to pick out a new treat. What your dog will recall is that there was love present in all of these events.
If your dog loved someone else at some point in its life, it will still remember those people. They will likely become excited when they see this other person. You do not need to worry, however, as dogs are capable of loving multiple people.
A dog will never forget you or other people who showered it with love. It will always associate you with your scent, and it will know what your face looks like. Dogs can store this sensory information in their brains forever so that they can recognize safety and harm.
Do Dogs Remember Things?
Dogs use their associative memories to remember specific things that exist in their lives. If they have a favorite toy, they will know the scents that the item has. This sense of association will help your dog know exactly where they left these products in your homes or your backyards.
Your dog will also remember treats in a general sense. They likely will know the taste of specific foods, recognizing those that they like the most. Dogs will also recognize that you go to get treats when you open a plastic bag of some form in your home.
Dogs will not necessarily remember every dog that they encounter out in public. They have to get a good scent of one another to know what each one’s specific smell is. You may notice that dogs sniff each other when they first meet out in public. This process helps the animals identify one another.
If the dogs got the opportunity to smell one another, they will recognize each other. The two animals will jump excitedly after they have the chance to sniff. They will likely start to play and get overly excited as they start to see one another.
Do Dogs Forget People?
Dogs will never forget people, as mentioned in the information provided above. If someone harmed your pet, they will feel fearful when they encounter that person again. They will likely cower behind you or will start to growl in an act of defense. If you see these behaviors, you likely need to take steps to protect your dog.
If you gave your dog the love it needed, it will never feel afraid when it sees you. It will get excited and will likely not leave your side. When you encounter a dog that showers you in love, provide it with positive reinforcement.
There are several ways that your dog can recognize you. It will know what your face looks like, and it will know your tone of advice. When you enter your home, if your dog seems nervous, just start talking to it. If it hears you, it will immediately know your love.
Your dog will also recognize your scent. Make sure that you provide it the opportunity to smell your hand when first meeting it. This process helps to form the associations that your pet needs. If you have to go away for a long time, leave a blanket or clothing item with your scent on it.
Do Dogs Handle Change Well?
With associative memory being such a powerful brain process for dogs, you may wonder what you can do to help it through change. If your dog has to go to a new owner, it will learn to love it. Encourage the other person to be patient with your pet.
Dogs will recognize leadership in their families, as they are pack animals. They will spend the most time with the person who gives them the most love. This process will help to develop the bond you need with one another for each of your well-being.
If you only need to leave temporarily, make sure to provide the dog with a sense of love. Teach the person watching your pet the ways you show your animal love. Spend time with the other individual before you leave so that your dog can get used to them.
When you make the transition process smooth, your dog will better adjust to the change. Your pet will not find it as difficult as you may think. You can feel confident in taking the trip you need to go on, knowing that your dog will be waiting for you when you return.
Help Your Dog with Its Memory
No matter if a change is on the way or not, you need to help your dog develop its associative memory. Do not pressure your dog to get used to a new space or person. Give them treats when they start to relax to show them that stress does not need to exist.
Dogs have a powerful instinct, and you need to make sure that you take time with your animal. Trust them throughout the process as they likely know better than you. Eventually, it is okay to teach your dog that someone is not a risk.
Some dogs are more sensitive to depression and anxiety. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that can help to ease these symptoms. This medical care can help your dog feel more confident and relaxed in new environments. Scheduling an appointment will be a form of love for your pet.
So, Do Dogs Remember People?
Now you should understand that dogs can remember people. These pets cannot forget other individuals. Dogs will first recognize someone by the smell they associate with them, as this sense is their most powerful one.
Your dog will also recognize a person by their face or vocal tone. Try to always let your pet see you when you first enter your door so that they do not feel afraid. Speak in the same tone that you typically do with your animal to ease your dog’s anxiety.
You may wonder if your dog will continue to remember you, even after a five-year timespan. Rest assured, your animal will never forget you. The associative memory that dogs use helps them to immediately recognize scents, faces, and vocal tones. It will work when they see someone they love.
There are videos of military personnel and college students seeing their dogs again after months or years. These pets are so excited to see their owners again. You do not have to worry if your dog has an associative memory about you.