You probably look back on the first time you met your dog with fondness. You felt excited and apprehensive at the same time, but after locking eyes with him, you decided that he was “the one”. But have you ever wondered if your pooch remembers this significant moment too?
To answer this question, we first have to understand how a dog remembers things in general. Dogs have two forms of memories: short-term and long-term. The span of your furry friend's short-term memory is extremely short, and lasts only around 70 seconds.
Any time past that, and he would have forgotten that you even gave him a treat, explaining why he often comes begging for more. That’s right – it may not have been greed, and instead because it already slipped his mind!
That's right, your dog can't differentiate if you've been out at work for seven hours, or were only gone for 10 minutes to take out the trash. Each time you step into the house, he'll greet you with the same affection and glee. However, while your pooch's memory is comparable to that of a goldfish's in certain instances, he has long-term memories as well.
Also known as associative memory, it refers to your dog remembering a sound, smell, or visual clue with a known behaviour or emotion. This could take the form of associating the crinkling of plastic wrapping with him getting a treat. Your four-legged friend can also remember things like which area in the park has the most number of squirrels!
So, does Fido actually remember the first time both of you met? It was a one-off event, so probably not.
While the answer is not the one we were hoping for, you can rest assured that your pooch remembers you, and associates you with a whole ton of positive feelings and emotions! It isn't all that important that he doesn't remember that very specific moment – what truly matters is that the both of you form a bond that'll last a lifetime.
*This article was updated on 26 Apr 2021. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com.sg on 14 Apr 2016.