Johan Lind and a group of researchers at Stockholm University studied the memories of 25 species of animals, including dogs. What they found might make you a little bit sad. According to the study, a dog’s short term memory only lasts for two minutes!
This means that after 120 seconds, your BFF can’t remember that super snuggle session you two just had. But, a pup’s memory is far longer than the 20 second memory span of chimps.
That’s why your pup gets super excited when you come home or sometimes when you simply re-enter a room. They can’t remember exactly when you left, so to them it seems like you’ve been gone furever.
This all runs on the theory that only humans have episodic memory, which is the ability to recall specific events from our past. According to National Geographic, animals’ brains are mainly wired for survival and aren’t concerned with the trivial details of daily life.
We may remember who gave us our birthday gifts, but your pooch likely has no idea where she got that awesome squeaky ball. She just knows that she has it and loves it.
This might sound like a bummer because you may think this means that your beloved pet will forget you after two minutes. But have no fear! Your pup knows exactly who you are and is very aware that you are part of a pack.
Dogs have associative memories, allowing them to remember repeated events (including places and people) and the feelings attached to those events. This type of memory accounts for a dog’s ability to learn tricks and for him to remember that he really loves going to the park.
But, scientist Gema Martin-Ordas tells National Geographic that we need more research before we judge an animal’s memory. Lind doesn’t disagree noting that the laboratory environment might be throwing off the animals’ responses.
Whether this study proves to be true or not, the important thing to remember is that your dog may not remember the individual hugs, but they remember the love. And isn’t that really all you need?