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Have I got a treat for you, doggy parents! Ever wondered what’s going on in that little noggin of you pups? More than what you think. There have been numerous studies about memory, remorse, revenge – all sorts of things. This is too interesting to ignore.
I remember when Shasta was about three years old. She got mad at me for something, looked deeply into my eyes with this look on her face that clearly showed she was either pissed off at me, or in the very least, irritated at me – something, but it was very, very clear that she was processing something.
She walked away from me and went into the spare bedroom. I found here there, sitting in the middle of the empty room, staring at a blank wall. She would not respond to me when I talked to her. After a few moments, she turned her head toward me with this look that, I swear, said, were you talking to me?
Every dog parent I know has experienced moments with their dogs. While we may be fantasizing about them as being human, we clearly experience emotions coming forth from our little buddies that express exactly what they are feeling in that moment – joy, anger, regret, the big oops. Dogs live in the moment.
People who can’t see these expressions of emotions are either not as in-tuned with their furry childrenas the rest of us, or they just don’t consider their dog their child.
While some studies state that dogs have very short term memory, they do have a sense of time, and it appears that they have what is called episodic memory. There’s a very interesting article by George Dvorsky that was published 11/23/16 about how your dog remembers your bad behavior toward them.
Yup, you are so screwed. He remembers that time you whacked him for stealing the bologna, so you’d better learn how to communicate with him and learn the best way to dish out punishment. And unless you actually catch him in the act of doing something he shouldn’t be doing, he won’t understand exactly what you’re getting at.
If you come home and discover foam rubber or feathers all over the place from him having a blast while you were gone, he won’t associate any punishment for his actions. He’ll think that it’s bad for that stuff to be on the floor, or all over the place, but not that he had anything to do with it. So, don’t waste your time yelling at him. He doesn’t understand or remember what caused you to be upset.
It’s also important for you to not say his name when you are punishing him. You want him to associate his name with only positive behaviors, otherwise you may end up with a belligerent, or non-responsive doggie.
Be sure to document your doggie’s behavior under the Good Dog or Bad Dog pages in your Puppy Baby Book.