We often hear the phrase, pets live in the moment, but anyone who owns a dog or cat will tell you that they’ve witnessed incidents that call that statement into question. But did you know cats and dogs have excellent memory?
We may believe that cats and dogs live in the now, but their ability to dream and recall details suggests otherwise. Both animals possess long and short-term memory and can well remember their past.
Pets and Their Short-Term and Long-Term Memories
Short-term memory, also known as working memory, allows people to mentally manipulate information such as a phone number for a few minutes.
This may sound simple, but working memory is crucial for any kind of problem solving. Working memory has been found to correlate with skills in learning, math, reading, and language. Researchers have even found some evidence that in children, working memory is more predictive of academic success than IQ.Dr. Brian Hare, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Long-term memories, however, are stored in your brain and can be retrieved at any time, such as childhood memories or activities from the previous week or year.
Long-term memories do not fade in order. You might remember something that happened to you years ago better than you remember what you did yesterday.Dr. Brian Hare, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Dr. Bruce Kornreich also had an insight on short-term memory.
Short-term memory is anywhere between 5 and 30 seconds and long-term memory can remain almost indefinitely.Dr. Bruce Kornreich, Associate Director at the Cornell Feline Health Center in Ithaca, New York
(Source: Pet Chatz)
Humans have episodic memory, which is linked to our sense of time, including artificial time measures such as minutes, hours, and years. We connect events and look back on them, saying, I remember eating at that restaurant a few months after I got married.
Dogs do not associate time with memories. According to the Dog People, they have associative memory. They remember things, but in a very different way than we do. When dogs go for walks, they remember their owner grabbing the leash and putting on his shoes. As a result, when they see their owner pick up the leash or put on shoes, they become excited because they believe they will go for a walk. They associate the cold metal table at the vet’s office with shots or feeling sick and become anxious when placed on it. (Source: Pet Chatz)
Dogs Relying on Memories
Dogs evolved to survive by relying on their memories. If a situation puts the dog in danger, she must remember it to avoid it in the future. Similarly, the dog must remember both people who provide her with food and a safe place to live and those who mistreat her. In other words, dogs benefit from being able to remember people who treat them well or poorly.
One key takeaway is that punishing a pet for over behavior makes no sense. The old method of training a dog not to relieve themselves in the house by rubbing their nose in it has been proven time and time again to be ineffective. Dogs perceive punishment for actions they did not commit.
When you come home to feathers or trash strewn about the house, no matter how guilty they appear or how guilty you believe they are, they know the stuff is there but likely do not recall their role in its arrival. (Source: Pet Chatz)
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