When thinking of dogs, they are always given the role of faithful companions of man. Thousands of years ago, dogs were domesticated, and, since then, they have become one of the best friends for humans. However, can dogs forget people?
Human and animal interactions
Relations between humans and dogs are quite complicated. From the beginning of their relationship, including the domestication process, both experienced changes.
Throughout history, a natural selection process has been carried out. In this way, traits that allow greater survival have prevailed.
Because of this, some studies have highlighted that dogs are animals that are experts in reading humans, their social and communicative behaviors. They are even more skilled in this aspect than animals that are evolutionarily more related to humans, such as primates.
These skills allow them to establish strong relationships with humans. For example, dogs are able to establish a reciprocal look, both with other dogs and with humans. This facilitates communication and allows relationships to be created.
Bowlby was the first to raise the theory of attachment. According to this theory, it is based on the fact that humans seek to establish relationships, both physical and emotional contact since they are biologically predisposed to it.
The ‘pet effect’ is the denomination given to the positive effect that living with an animal has on the health of a person. Therefore, the relationship between ‘companion species,’ such as dogs and humans, is linked to the release of oxytocin and a positive influence on the health of the individual.
At the scientific level, the intervention of hormones such as oxytocin has been studied. Oxytocin has a dual effect; it is able both to facilitate the establishment of relationships between individuals and to reduce the level of stress.
However, no scientific studies have been found that measure a dog’s ability to remember its masters. This is because no owner would want to separate from their dog for a long period of time just to study how long their pet is able to remember it.
Intelligence in dogs
You can think that to see if dogs can forget people, you have to know the intelligence of the animal. However, nor speak the same memory to talk about intelligence.
Due to the great diversity of races, and the genetic diversity present in each one of them, it is not so simple to measure the intelligence of each one of them.
It is known that in dogs, there are three types of intelligence, while humans have several types of intelligence. The three types of intelligence are:
- Adaptive Intelligence It is applied in learning and problem-solving.
- Work Intelligence The one that intervenes in obedience.
- Instinctive intelligence. Capacities determined by genetics, as well as instincts.
Different studies have shown that dogs are able to differentiate a specific human figure. They can also react autonomously.
His memory: can dogs forget you?
To answer the question of whether dogs can forget people, it is necessary to know the different types of canine memory when measuring their ability to recognize and memorize.
Different studies have reported the existence of immediate memory and later memory in dogs. In 2004 a study was conducted with a border collie named Rico. This dog was able to identify 200 different objects.
The study authors concluded that Rico had different cognitive abilities. These are the following:
- The ability to differentiate between objects with different characteristics and labels.
- Exclusion learning, which is a generalized mechanism.
- Ability to store information in memory.
For this reason, it can be determined that dogs are able to remember their owners, close people, and even other pets even if they have not been with them for a long time. Thus, dogs cannot forget people.
They also have an associative memory, so they can remember specific events over a long period of time. Later, they can help them when making decisions if they find themselves in a similar situation in the future.
Can dogs forget if a lot of time passes?
The associative memory allows them to relate events that have already occurred if they find themselves in similar situations. However, dogs tend to remember more actions, voices, smells, because they associate them with an emotion.
An example in Greek mythology is the return home of Ulysses after ten years outside fighting in the war. The only one who recognizes the first is his canine companion Argus, whom he had raised since he was a puppy.