Do dogs remember their owners?
That’s a question I see in the forums quite often.
I usually see the questions from owners who have to be away from their dogs for extended periods of time.
People who are going on deployment or who will be on extended working trips are often worried that their dogs will forget them.
Read on to find out if they really need to worry!
Related: How Much are Dogs affected when owners are not happy?
Do Dogs Remember Their Owners?
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If you’re asking do dogs remember their owners, the quick answer is yes.
Of course, the simple answer is never the complete one!
Let’s find out more!
Why Do Dogs Remember Their Owners
Just like humans and other animal species, dogs remember things. Memory isn’t reserved for the human species. In fact, memory helps almost all species of animals survive in the wild.
Animals remember which sounds and objects might be dangerous or beneficial so that they can either stay away or take advantage of things, respectively.
So it’s no surprise that dogs remember their owners.
After all, owners play a major role in their dog’s lives.
In fact, dogs not only remember their owners, they also remember other dogs that they have a particularly strong bond with as well as beloved toys.
They also remember dangerous sights, sounds, and situations. It’s all a combination of cognitive function – which researchers are finding more and more of in dogs – and instinct.
Let me tell you a story of how well dogs remember.
If It Makes an Impact, It Stays with Them
I used to have a dog named Layla. She was a very good dog. She got along well with other dogs, and she even greeted strangers in the house like they were her best friends.
That was good because she was a 50+ pound pit mix.
Layla was always happy and engaging. However, there was one neighborhood man that she absolutely hated.
That’s no exaggeration.
One night this man was driving drunk and stopped at our local four-way stop. I waited and waited for him to turn, but he seemed lost in his inebriation. He suddenly turned out of nowhere as I started to cross the road.
Luckily, he saw me in time to stop. He rolled down his window and began swearing at me and telling me what an idiot I was. I could see Layla’s hackles go up almost immediately.
After a few minutes of trying to apologize to this intoxicated man, I finally told him to go on about his night and stop bothering me. He took this as a challenge and started to get out of his car.
As soon as his first foot hit the pavement, Layla lunged. I thought she was going to pull my arm out of its socket.
From then on, every time she saw the man, her hackles immediately went up and she growled a low, incredibly menacing growl.
She never forgot him, and she was never off her guard if he was anywhere nearby.
It’s No Surprise that Dogs Remember Their Owners
In that same way that Layla remember the possible danger of that man, dogs remember good impacts.
They remember owners who’ve spent time playing with them, feeding them, cuddling with them, and generally loving them.
Dogs have both the cognitive function and ingrained instinct to remember the good and bad in their lives so that their responses are appropriate to their survival.
So if you’re headed out on a long trip, deployment, or other extended absence, don’t worry.
The answer to the question “do dogs remember their owners” is yes.