The short term dog memory of around five minutes is in stark contrast with that of a cat’s 16 hours. However, dogs can still learn words and gestures for a lifetime. They also recognize their owner even if it doesn’t see them for a longer period. This is mostly because they can remember both the look and the smell of their owner.
Studies have shown that dogs’ memory is very similar to our memory. This is the reason they can copy our behaviour and act similarly later on.
Declarative Dog Memory
Dogs have been proven to have what we call declarative memory, meaning they can consciously recall memories. Dog owners had noticed such behaviour but there was no proof of this.
A study has been conducted in Hungary to prove the existence of declarative dog memory. In Hungary there are a great number of researchers in this domain. The team focused on a group of eight adult dogs, taught based on the ‘Do as I do’ method. The point of the study was to show dogs could imitate certain behaviours of the owner but with a delay.
The dogs in question had to follow their owners while walking around a bucket or ringing a bell. Then they were distracted for 10 minutes. After this period, one owner told the dog to ‘Do it’. The dog repeated the same behaviour. It did even when a stranger said so.
This study is proof that dog memory, perception is quite similar to that of humans. Dogs are able to recall events and based on that imagine and foresee future scenarios.