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October 20, 2014

How Do Dogs Remember?

When I pulled into my mom’s driveway late at night, Eko knew. I don’t know exactly when he realized it, but Eko absolutely knew where we were. Was it the sight of the house? The smell of the yard? I wondered how dogs recall a memory, but didn’t have much
When I pulled into my mom’s driveway late at night, Eko knew. I don’t know exactly when he realized it, but Eko absolutely knew where we were. Was it the sight of the house? The smell of the yard? I wondered how dogs recall a memory, but didn’t have much time to ponder the question as the car-weary pups bolted to the front door. They were enthusiastically welcomed by my mom’s pup, Auggie.20.1

As usual, he was all smiles!

The gang has been in a non-stop romp since we arrived and I’ve spent a good amount of my time catching lamps, fixing rugs and keeping the house in one piece. I’ll definitely post some photos later this week of the gang in action.

NJ treated us to late fall’s beautiful palette with early-fall-like temperatures. It was a perfect mix for a visit to the local dog park. I remember how Eko used to love flying around the park, soaring through the agility course.


Either the jumps shrunk or Eko grew, because he could basically walk over them this time around

Penny hadn’t seen an agility course before so it was fun to see her follow Eko’s lead. But the best part of the day was undoubtedly our hike on the trails.


There’s something about walking trails with your pups on a gorgeous fall day that just can’t be beat


Watching Penny follow Eko’s lead was great – the two adventure buddies stuck together like glue


“Hey wait for me!”


A good romp, a good sunny spot, a good nap. Life in NJ is good for a pup

Visits home always remind me how everything both stays the same and completely changes. Yet with all those changes, Eko still perfectly remembered my mom’s house, Auggie, and the dog park.

Any theories about how our pups remember the things they do? Like us, I’m guessing it’s a combination of senses.  Elephants never forget, but dogs have a pretty good memory too!

Comments for How Do Dogs Remember?

  1. hey, wait for me… that’s typical for all little sisters :o) I think dogs are like elephants, they never forget… Easy looks always in the bush were he found the rotten egg 4 years ago :o)

  2. Victoria says:

    i think dog’s remember people and places just like us – happy memories for visiting family, friends and dog parks and not so happy memories for the vet’s office – of course smell might work the same too now that i think about it.

  3. fredrieka says:

    Glad you were able to walk trails like we do, there is nothing like it. And don’t those leaves smell good

  4. I’ve wondered this as well. I think the first thing that strikes them as familiar is probably scent-based for sure. Those noses are pretty freaking powerful!

  5. cdog5 says:

    Will, glad you all are having a great return trip home! Looks like the dogs are enjoying themselves thoroughly (and love the photos — those romps in the autumn woods are pure poetry)!

  6. OhMelvin says:

    Yay for family! I love the question about how they remember. I think it’s a combination of scent (even through closed car windows).and how in tune they are to their human. As you turned the corner, your heart rate and emotional state changed and Eko recognized what you were giving off as ‘his reaction to Grandma’s house’. I really think they can sense this as much as scent.

  7. Kyla says:

    I used to know how dogs remember, but I’m old and I forgot.

  8. Elyse says:

    I think they remember things the same way we do — smells, sights, sounds, moods. They just don’t get the advanced notice!

  9. See, I told you a long walk in the woods is more therapeutic than running! It also provides opportunities for spectacular photos, especially the one of Penny with the leaves. Framing material there.
    I think dogs’ memories are sense based; especially Ridgebacks and other hounds. Ridgebacks just have both sight and scent to aid them. Our dogs always know when we’re close to the ranch and will insist on rolling down the windows( Neeka stares at the door panel then up at the window until it’s down) in order to inhale the cold coastal air. Kinda tricky to do on really windy roads.

  10. coastingnz says:

    our boys are the same – especially Nico our Dalmation. We could go back somewhere one or two years later and he remembers – from a particular turnoff with still a good 20kms to go, the excitement starts.

  11. pawedblog says:

    I don’t have a clue how they remember but they definitely do! Gorgeous photos of the pups romping… And another healthy dose of Augie! Yay!
    Hugs, Carrie & Pups x

  12. Emmadog says:

    Sounds like a fun, yet wild time!

  13. dashlilly says:

    What a great trip! Love the fall!! Yep, dogs definitely remember. My two have been to the East Coast maybe three or four times total in their lives. Never fails that after driving for two days, when we turn down my sister’s STREET, Dash begins to whine and bark and get excited for where he is. Both of them can not jump out of the car fast enough when we get to the end of the driveway. Pretty amazing.

  14. I don’t know how they know, my guess is smell but who knows, either way it’s really cool!

  15. What a beautiful walk! Norman always knew where we were.

  16. I don’t know how dogs remember. I pretty much don’t remember anything. If Mom takes out the garbage, I am surprised and confused when she comes back in – like I forgot that she lives here…. Remembering is mysterious…

    Love and licks,

  17. pretty amazing how woofies, and us cats, remember so much…just from smell and hearing…and a bit of sight

  18. Dakota NEVER forgets and I often wish he would! lol

  19. Hmmmm Mummy says she thinks whee have better memories than whee let on. Whee can remember the time she gets home from work and the time our vegetables are due but whee go strangely deaf and forgetful when she mentions it’s time for bed or time for a bath. Whee are not sure what she’s on about!


  20. Good question – I actually did a little research and wrote a post about it last year (http://slimdoggy.com/mythbuster-8-do-dogs-remember/). I think this kind of memory falls into the category of associative memory – probably triggered by sights and smells. Looks like you guys had a great time.

  21. Boomdeeadda says:

    Oh, I think they remember too. When ever my dad came to the lake, buddy would always excitedly greet him with tail wagging. He often did this for other people too cause he was a friendly guy but with dad it was special.

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