I’m guessing that anyone surprised by the results of a recent study proving that dogs have remarkable memories, does not live with a dog like Teddy.
We are often told that animals live in the moment (and that we should be more like them), but watching this Schnauzer navigate life – recognise people, places, cars; refuse to walk a street where he has had a bad experience or, alternatively, pull us towards a particular pub where he feels safe enough to settle – makes it seem more than likely that our four-legged friend has a Rolodex of memories constantly in use.
We humans often remember things that don’t hold any obvious significance at the time but, whether or not “episodic memory” occurs in non-human animals has apparently been hotly debated in the scientific world. Neuroscience News reports on recent research findings that came about by alternating a sequence of trained responses and unexpected commands with a set of 17 dogs. The results prove that, just like us, dogs pay attention using their memory to process their own actions and that of those around them.
So, now I know that when Teddy gives all outward appearance of sleeping, while leaving one sneaky eye open, he’s not just waiting to see if I drop a crumb that he can snaffle, he’s clearly taking note of the Bigger Picture. Of course he is. Oh, what a clever boy.