Sorry, everyone. After you’ve thrown that ball, if it’s been longer than a few minutes…your dog has completely forgotten about it. They’re not being rude; they just don’t have any short term memory unless it has to do with food, or fear. National Geographic posted a study in which 25 species, ranging from dolphins to bees, had their memories tested….and the midway point before the memory was lost was a measly 27 seconds. Dogs measured in at 2 minutes. That’s…not very long. Humans rank in at 48 hours. Go us! But wait – then why does your dog (or cat) panic every time you go to the vat? Or get excited when you ask them if they want to go a for a walk? According to the study, those are simply “associative memories”. Johan Lind, team lead, elaborates:
“They’re not based on memories of specific events. In the second case, the cat associates the carrier with danger. Such memories are very robust and will stay for a long time—for life—in animals.”
What do you think? I trust science, of course, but I can see why people might be slightly skeptical of this. Perhaps it depends on if the memory is associated with a strong emotion, like Lind stated, and the word “walk” or “treat” is always associated with happiness (or relief, har har), but then again, we all know cats and dogs that remember tons of things; people, their favourite toys, where things are, keywords…I’ll be keeping an eye on this study. Things like this often change in a few years, like discoveries often do!