Careful! Your dog remembers everything you do

August 30, 2018

Those of us who have dogs know very well that not only do they understand a lot of situations, but they understand a lot of our words too. They are intelligent and very quick learners — it seems like nothing  escapes them. So, you might not be too surprised to learn that your dog remembers everything that you do.

Dogs and their eyes

dog with tilted head

Haven’t you felt your dog’s eyes watching you? He watches you get out of bed, get dressed, make coffee, drink the coffee… Why do dogs do that? Or more intriguing, what do they do with that information?

Although the question may seem silly, there are new studies that show something very interesting. Dogs have always been inherently observant. They like to explore what they find around them and enjoy intently watching their furry friends and human friends.

They say a dog’s olfactory memory is the strongest — and nobody would contest this — but that doesn’t mean that it stops at the nose. In fact, today we will share a newly discovered secret: your dog remembers everything you do.

Your dog remembers everything you do, according to this study!

We asked what your dog does with all the information he absorbs watching people, whether it be you or other members of the family. You may think it’s because he’s bored; he’s just passing the time. But it’s actually more than that.

At the University of Budapest, three researchers carried out a study that claims that dogs not only remember what they themselves do, but also what their owners and other family members do, even when these actions are not of the slightest importance to them.

This study investigates episodic memory, which has only been talked about in reference to humans — up until now. Episodic memory is what helps us remember things even if we don’t think they’re important.

How was the study carried out?

A dog and episodic memory.

Researchers trained 17 dogs of different breeds, some mixed-breeds as well. The training followed a program called “Do what I do,” developed by Fugazza, who wrote a book by the same name.

The system consists of matching human behavior with that of dogs and teaching the dogs to copy them upon hearing the command, “Do it!” For example, the owner jumps and says “Do it!” and the dog also jumps.

The curious thing about the experiment is that the dogs are able to imitate their owners’ behavior even 24 hours later. That is, their episodic memory is capable of lasting up to 24 hours.

Given the order “Do it!” 24 hours after the first imitation, the dog still remembers what to do. It’s amazing!

There’s more, though, since this finding could just be dogs learning a new command like “come,” for example. The study went further; it wanted to surprise the dogs. They taught the dogs to lie down regardless of what actions the owner did. However, when they had verified that all the dogs had laid down, they surprised them with the command, “Do it!”.

Being able to repeat the imitation unexpectedly and after several hours means something. It means that their episodic memory works like ours. In other words, they are able to remember everyday tasks even when they do not matter. So be warned! Your dog not only remembers what he does; he also remembers what you do.