Dogs and memory: Are they more like humans than we thought?
This recent story, “Dogs Remember as Well as Humans”, caught my eye as I was perusing the internet the other day.
A recent study out of Hungary has found that our dog’s memory may be just as good as ours. Go figure!
Researchers tested eight adult dogs for their ability to imitate humans, in this case their owners, and their ability to remember the imitated behavior 10 minutes later. In this case, owners walked around a bucket and rang a bell and their dogs were tested to see if they could imitate them, then be distracted with plan and other activities, and come back to try it again.
What they found was that similar to humans, dogs have something called declarative memory.
“Declarative memory (“knowing what”) is memory of facts and events, and refers to those memories that can be consciously recalled. It is sometimes called explicit memory, since it consists of information that is explicitly stored and retrieved…”
They not only could imitate their owners, but they could remember that behavior later and repeat it. It’s quite an interesting revelation.
Of course , I couldn’t help but think about one very famous dog who demonstrated both of these capabilities – Skidboot.
Do you remember Skidboot? He was the dog who could do an amazing number of tricks just by watching his owner do it first. He appeared on Oprah and other entertainment shows throughout the 90’s. Even though he passed in 2007, I still remember being amazed by his ability to comprehend what his owner asked of him. I have included a couple of videos on Skidboot below.
It makes me wonder if anyone else has noticed this type of behavior in their own dogs. Have you ever had your dog learn from imitating you? And if so, have they come back later and repeated it?