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Will my dog still remember me after 5 years?

Will My Dog Remember Me? (And For How Long?)

Have you ever looked at your dog and wondered what is going on inside their heads? A very common question we have for our dogs is whether their memory works like ours.

It is essential to mention that there are two main kinds of memory. These are Semantic and Episodic memory. Dogs are known to mainly have semantic memory, but they also show signs of episodic memory.

There is still research on whether episodic memory actually exists for dogs.

Semantic memory has to do with the memories they have created within a passage of years. The training they might have had, their owners, and their playdates.

On the other hand, their Episodic memory consists of memories such as mimicking behavior that its owner once approved. Another example is showing you where an object is because they saw it 5 minutes ago.

Nevertheless, if they actually have episodic memory, it doesn’t function as it functions for humans. Dogs cannot perceive the past and future, as they are utterly focused on the present moment.

Dogs can remember things for significant periods of life. Although, they usually revoke memories in times that are of benefit. To explain, this means that they can choose the memories they want to remember. For instance, they will remember you leaving for a trip and coming back after some months.

On the contrary, they might not recognize one of your friends they have seen once or twice.

Associative Memory

The strongest kind of memory for dogs is associative memory. Short term and Long term memory fall under the umbrella of associative memory for dogs. When dogs associate specific places when you take them for a walk, these memories imprint on their minds and last very long.

Hence, when they can make associations between places, people, and things, the memories they create are powerful.

Associative memory resembles episodic memory as well. Positive reinforcements are linked with good behaviors, and negative reinforcements are connected with negative attitudes.

Associative memory also helps dogs remember their favorite treats or walks. For example, when given their favorite treat, they know it is time for their walk.

In addition, it is more possible for them to remember “important” events. Hence, their long term memory is enhanced. Short term memory is not really their strong “trait.”

Imprints over memories

It is vastly supported that dogs don’t actually have memories as we have. They can’t remember images and faces, but they develop imprints of certain occurrences.

For example, suppose a squirrel runs past them and startles them. In that case, an imprint of fear will be created and associated with squirrels. Thus, every time they see a squirrel, they will be afraid of it.

Natural Rhythms vs. Memory

More often than not, we mistake the natural rhythms of dogs with their memory abilities. In particular, they do not actually remember every day at 9 o’clock that they have to eat. It is their natural rhythm to eat every day at 9.

Spatial Memory

Dogs can remember the areas they spend most of their time. Hence, they can notice any kind of change in these areas. They can memorize all parts of these areas. Nevertheless, their motions are what really helps them. More specifically, their walking patterns inside the house help them remember their home for a long time, if not forever.

Procedural Memory

Both humans and dogs have procedural memory. It is the kind of memory we use to fulfill tasks daily (how to make coffee, lock the main door). Dogs have this kind of memory too.

Because of their procedural memory, we can train them. They associate treats with their correct responses to training instructions. Hence, by combining associative; procedural memory, they can be trained.

Olfactory Memory

The smell memory of dogs is one of their most vital traits. Although their smelling ability is better than the human one, dogs can pick up scents even if they haven’t been created at that specific moment. They can smell odors for an extended period after they have been exposed to an odor for the first time.

Dogs also have a specific organ called Jacobson’s organ, which helps them taste and smell simultaneously. Dogs are primarily using their remarkable ability to smell to communicate efficiently. It comes as no surprise that most of the cases when dogs respond to our orders involve food.

The scent of the food is really intense for them and, therefore, triggers them to behave correctly to “access” that smell again. Most of their favorite moments include vivid smells too.

Dogs’ olfactory memory is so good that they can recognize dogs or people they haven’t seen in years. When getting in touch with another dog or human, they pick up their scent, and they never forget it.

Dr. Bruce Kornreich (associate director, Cornell Feline Health Center, Ithaca, New York) supports that “ dogs’ short-term memory is anywhere between 5 and 30 seconds and long-term memory can remain almost indefinitely. (petmd)” It is also a fact that a dog’s ability to pick up different smells is directly associated with the dog’s memory span.

Create Happy Memories for Your Dog

First of all, make sure to understand your dog and what makes it happy. Every dog has different plausible habits and tastes. I will provide a list of some suggested ways to create memorable moments for your dog and for you.

Teach them tricks to create happy memories

When spending time with your dog, make sure to teach it at least one trick. During your playful time, the dog will associate this trick by making you happy and seeing you being playful. Therefore, the trick will be imprinted on its memory as a joyous moment with you (the owner).

Walk with your dog to bond closely

Besides your ordinary walks with your dog around the neighborhood, try taking your dog to different places and walk with it. Try going to forests or expansive parks where the dog can run as well. Seeing other sites will make an impression on the dog and will definitely be a memory.

Play daily with your puppy to make it remember you

When you are playing with your dog, you are showing your fun part to the dog, and it feels like it is the one provoking these reactions out of you. Hence, when entertaining each other, you create a better bond with them.

Try playing fetch with a frisbee, letting the dog bite a rope, and then moving it around with it following the rope. Try slightly to anger the dog to chase and “capture” you. (don’t let the dog bite you too much, though). There are many activities to try!

Have a deep and meaningful chat with your puppy

Often when a person who has a dog is going through a difficult time and feels upset or sad or angry, the dog senses that. Many dogs will approach you to comfort you.

You should let the dog do that. It will try to hug you, kiss you, and sit on your lap. I assure you, it works! If you reward it with a smile, you will make the dog feeling very happy to have lifted up your spirits.

Share Special Events With Your Dog

Make sure to show your dog your joy when getting a promotion or getting engaged. They can feel your excitement, and they automatically experience it as their joy. Also, take your dog with you during Christmas time to your family dinner.

Christmas time always appeals to them because of the Christmas tree, the fairy lights, the abundance of food, and of course, the unlimited amount of Christmas decorations they can chew on!

Travel “doggo” buddies – Create memories on the road!

Planning to go on a trip? What is a better company than your dog? Take them with you and give them a fantastic experience of getting on an airplane or a boat.

Another great way to bond with your dog is to take them on a trip to the beach!

Will My Dog Remember Me Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, dogs’ memory is crucial for them and for humans too. Although all the kinds of memory function as one of the most basic ways to communicate with other dogs and humans, their memories are beneficial since they enable humans to train and instruct them.

The most important of all is that dogs can remember their owners and not only, if not forever, for long periods.

Humans are still doing research on how dogs’ memory works. We can be optimistic and hope that we will have a clearer perspective on how dogs actually use their memories to the fullest in the future.

Their memory is also a key factor for establishing a good relationship with your dogs and building a loving and essential bond that they will never forget.


My name is Chris and I am the co-creator of Oodle Life. My wife and I love playing with our active miniature Labradoodle Max. We want all Oodle puppies to be healthy and happy, have lots of fun and be part of the family.

Remember Me? Loving and Caring for A Dog With Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

SKU: CDV226 Availability: 15.99 Weight: 0.90 LBS Shipping: Calculated at Checkout Author: Eileen Anderson Publication Year: 2016 ISBN: 9781943634019 Page Count: 158 Publisher: Bright Friends Production

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Remember Me? is a guidebook for owners of dogs who are losing their mental faculties as they age, and the story of a dog and owner who retained their bond through this most difficult situation.

If you have an aging dog, Remember Me? will give you the information you need to weather the difficult condition and give your dog the most fulfilling life possible.

In Remember Me, you will learn:

About the symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction, medications and other interventions that are showing promise in treating the condition;
How to adapt your home and habits to keep your dog safe;
The many products available to solve the problems of senior dogs;
How to make things easier on yourself, physically and emotionally; and
The complex question of euthanasia and how to make your own decision about it.

The story of author Eileen Anderson’s small terrier Cricket, who developed dementia, is threaded through the book. As Cricket’s dementia worsened she paced, she circled, she stood in corners, she forgot what she was doing, and at times she lost and found her owner repeatedly. For the last weeks of her life she even forgot how to drink water. As Cricket’s condition deteriorated and needs changed, Anderson learned about the disease and developed methods to care for her dog.

She shares these methods in Remember Me? and her calm, conversational tone is soothing to dog owners who are suffering—sometimes more than their dogs.

Do Dogs Remember People? For How Long Will My Dog Remember Me?

Do Dogs Remember People? For How Long Will My Dog Remember Me?

Dogs’ ability to remember is a topic for many discussions. Although dogs can recognize people, dogs, and places, their memory works differently than human memory. You probably caught your dog getting excited when he sees his familiar person, a famous place, or one of his dog friends. They will immediately show how happy they are. So it’s normal to think they can pretty easily remember people. Well, things are a little complicated. Stay with us and find out for how long dogs remember people.

How does a dog’s memory work?

Dog and human memory are two completely different things. Humans can store and recall different memory in any given moment through episodic memories. These episodic memories allow humans to identify other people, places, and events.

Dogs’ memory is based on associative memory. This associative memory will allow dogs to remember different people, things, and dogs based on association. Dogs can recognize familiar smells, sounds, or sights and use that information to brighten their memory.

dog and owner

This is an effective method for your dog to remember different things for longer. Just as dogs can remember all the good stuff, they can also recall some bad situations that happen in their life.

Do dogs remember people?

You are safe if you are going on a long trip and you are afraid your dog will not remember you when you get home. A dog’s memory can last quite long. They will use their sense of smell and ability to recognize a familiar face. Their sense of smell is by far their best weapon to remember people. They can remember smells for years.

Even if you are gone for a year, your dog will use his senses after initial contact and recognize you.

How long do dogs remember people?

For how long will dogs remember people will depend on a few different factors. How strong your bond was, what dog breed is in question etc. In general, dogs can remember people for a very long time. There were some cases where lost dogs reunited with their owners, and even after 4 years apart, dogs remembered their owners. They have a powerful sense of smell, and their sense can take them a long way.

Do dogs remember other dogs?

Dogs will use their senses and memory to remember other dogs. With a sense of smell, your dog could quickly identify his dog friends. If your dog spends a lot of time with familiar dogs, he will remember them. It will be easier to recognize other dogs if they see them in the same place or circumstances.

human hand and paw

Does my dog remember our first meeting?

You remember the first day you bring your new puppy home, isn’t that right? But for dogs, it’s somewhat different. A recent study showed that most dogs will not remember your first meeting , but that doesn’t mean they don’t remember you. Dogs could have episodic memory in some way, and they could be able to remember some events from their past. The thing is that dogs’ memory comes with a lot of limits. So going that far in the past probably means your dog cannot remember your first meeting.

Can dogs remember bad experiences?

Since dogs rely on forming associations to remember, they can create a negative association that can cause bad memories. If your dog fears veterinarians, their memory will kick in every time he sees the vet clinic, and they will be instantly scared. That is based on their previous «bad» experiences.

To overcome this problem, you must replace «bad» situations with positive ones. Try making a trip to the vet office a fun trip for your dog – bring all of his favorite persons, his toys, a lot of snacks, etc. If you can do that, your dog will create a new association with the vet office and will not be scared anymore.

Do dogs use their scent to remember?

Dogs use all sorts of techniques to remember things. It is estimated that dogs’ smell is 1000 to 10 000 timers better than humans. Dogs will use their smell scent to remember. This sense will provide the best information and efficiently identify different people, dogs, and places.

dog and owner sitting

It is widely known that dogs can sense human emotion; your dog can understand your behavior based on those emotions.

Will my dog forget me?

If you are afraid that your dog will forget you, you are safe. Dogs use association to remember the good stuff they went through with you. Although your dog will not remember all the things you did together, places you went, or food you tasted, your dog will create positive associations with you coming home, taking him to the dog park, feeding him, etc.

These associations and memories are the main reason your dog gets so excited when he sees you, even if you are gone for just a few minutes. So no, your dog will not forget you.


Dogs use their association techniques to remember different people, places, and dogs. In most cases, they rely on their sense of smell to remember things. Even if you are gone for some time, when you come back, your dog will use his senses and will be able to recognize you.

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