Do rescue dogs remember their past? A Step-by-Step Guide

Recent Discovery About Long Term Dog Memory

Another type of long term memory in humans is called episodic memory. This is something like re-watching a movie of our life and reviewing snippets of our past. It is another way we learn based on past experiences. This type of memory does not take any effort on our part like semantic memory, which requires some work. Our episodic recall can be quite spontaneous and is often triggered by a word, smell, sound, or situation that reminds us of a past event. We often relive these past events as both cognitive and emotional experiences.

Now, there is evidence that dogs and other animals may also have some limited form of episodic memory. A recent study in 2016 by animal psychologist Claudia Fugazzahas suggested that dogs may also recall past experiences beyond simple associations with triggers. Scientific American recently featured this interesting article, by Karinna Hurley on January 10, 2017. If this is true, then dogs may very well remember living in a shelter in a more complex, emotional way than we have previously d.

So, it does seem that dogs can remember their stay at a shelter, since they may actually remember in a way that can be relived in their minds. This may also bring up some emotions. This might be especially true if a dog was there for a long time and has stored a variety of experiences from his stay.

Even the best of shelters and kennels can be a stressful place for a dog. shelters are usually noisy and chaotic compared to a home setting. Every aspect of a dog’s life is controlled. It can also be a very lonely time for a dog. Regardless of whether a dog lived with a family or was a stray living on the streets, dogs are not used to being in confined spaces alone. They are pack animals and either live with other dogs or their human families.

Dogs, like humans are social beings and do not thrive well if they spend too much time in a confined run without interaction. Dogs also have a lot of energy and need to run and exercise. Otherwise, their pent up energy can turn into emotional stress.

Shelter staff do interact with the animals they protect as much as possible. And, volunteers often take dogs out for walks to offer social time and exercise. Some kennels and shelters have play areas that offer some interaction with other dogs. But not all dogs play well together and a shy dog can be intimated by a more aggressive dog. A shelter certainly cannot offer the same environment as a loving home. A dog may sleep poorly due to the howling or whining of other dogs. The longer they stay, the more stressed, fearful, and hyped up they may become.

History of Dogs Remembering Their Past

Do rescue dogs remember their past?

We mentioned that for many years researchers believed dogs could not remember their past, but that has recently been proven wrong. The Budapest study we referenced earlier determined dogs do have some sort of mental remembrance of not only past events but of influential people theyve encouraged along the way, as well.

This is a pretty important revelation for many reasons, but namely, because it drastically changes the way we think about dogs and our interactions with them.

Not only are dogs wonderful, loyal companions, but they are much deeper and have a lot more going on up there than previously thought. Sure, they want to please you and know how to mimic your actions, but they also can recall things that have happened to them throughout their lives. Thats pretty neat, if you ask us!

Signs a Dog Remembers Their Past

Now that weve established that dogs are capable of remembering their past and retaining that memory for years, lets look at some of the top signs that your dog is maybe having a flashback of their life before you.

In order to do so, we must acknowledge just what incredible creatures our furry friends are. Not only can they sense our emotions and tune in to how we are feeling, but they can also pick up on the inner-workings of other dogs. It seems we learn more about dogs and the canine mind every single day, something we certainly arent complaining about!

A groundbreaking study conducted in Budapest, Hungary uncovered that dogs are excellent observers who can actually mimic human behaviors and actions just by seeing them.

They learn through experience and can both remember and reenact actions by their human companions. This also leads us to our next point – that dogs have associative memories. They will remember a person, place, or experience based on specific associations they have with them.

When looking to your dog for a sign they are having a blast from the past, pay close attention to their behavior and how they are interacting with a person or in a certain environment. Chances are you know your dogs behavioral traits by now, so if they are acting a little strange or even crazy, they very well may be remembering something from the past.

For example, dogs often have a hard time with men wearing hats. Where does this stem from? Many dog owners believe (and rightfully so) that their dog had a bad experience in the past with someone who wore a hat, leading them to have a strong negative association with any man who wears a hat.

Here are some signs your dog remembers their past:

These are other signs your dog remembers their past:

  • Displaying Out-Of-The-Ordinary Behavior
  • Reacting Strangely To Certain People Or Things
  • Showing Fear
  • 7 Common Issues In rescue Dogs And How You Can Help

    A rescue dog is an absolute treasure. Despite its humble beginnings, it is less like a thrift store bargain and more like a diamond in the rough.

    If you’ve had the pleasure of owning a rescue dog of your own, then you have undoubtedly learned the following truths about these special creatures.