(Main picture, gorgeous ELROY, up for adoption now at the Niagara Falls Humane Society, A Lab/Shepherd mix who is only 1.5 years old. For more information CLICK HERE).
I really wish I had the memory of a dog. It’s hard to admit that my memory is not what it used to be. There was a time when I had 20-25 phone numbers at my place of work memorized. Those were the days before speed dial, so the entire number had to be dialed whenever a call was placed, and I was required to call many different locations every day. Now I realize this is a skill we no longer need, but wow, do I ever wish I had the brain power to accomplish it!
A few days ago I took my daughter’s dog to the Botanical Gardens for a walk. She was recently adopted from the Niagara Falls Humane Society, and this was only the second time she had been in my car. We had our nice long walk in the cold, windy weather, and when we returned to the parking lot she headed directly for my vehicle! I was amazed that she could already choose my car out of the many others parked there. I’ve read that dogs don’t really see colours, or at least not as many as most humans, so it’s unlikely that she was recognizing the colour of my car. Also, my vehicle was not the only grey one in the parking lot.
Our neighbors’ previous dog, normally very quiet, would often start barking late in the afternoon, and without fail, the neighbour would pull into the driveway a few minutes later. Could the dog hear her master’s car coming, or was she conditioned to know the time of his arrival?
(Below, Rosie an 8 year old Husky Mix who has a special adoption fee of $150.00. For more information CLICK HERE).
The first mini Schnauzer we had loved to go to my husband’s parents’ home. She’d be quiet in the car until we turned the last corner before their street and then she could not contain her excitement. She would begin jumping around the car, whining until we thought our eardrums would rupture. She was a GPS system before they were invented! Could she sense from our reaction that we were close to their house, or did we emit an odour that gave this away? Or could she smell my mother-in-law’s delicious peroghies?
When I would bring my grandpuppy Dane to my place we had to drive past the road leading to the dog park, a place she loved. She would whine as the turn approached, and when we didn’t head that way she would look longingly back as if to say “Hey, you missed the turn to my happy place!”
I’ve looked into some studies conducted about the memories of dogs, and there is a theory that rather than remembering things, certain events or situations are imprinted in the canine’s mind, usually to help them survive. Certainly, in the wild, like all animals, they remember food sources and know where to find water. They know which cupboard or jacket pocket holds the treats. But perhaps this could be attributed to their amazing sense of smell, too.
(Below, Fred, a loving Hound who wants to get out of the shelter and into a nice home! For more information please CLICK HERE).
One study humourously mentioned that dogs can remember commands they’ve learned for the duration of their lives, but are unable to remember that chewing an expensive leather shoe is not allowed, minutes after being told this truth. Well, we all know people with selective memories, don’t we? Why not dogs? Apparently dogs don’t have very good long term memories, and yet recognize someone after years have lapsed. Once again, this could be a super-nose thing.
Whether these talents we observe in our furry friends are super memories, super noses, imprinting, conditioning or survival skills isn’t really important in my opinion. It just makes their personalities so very special and gives us more reasons to love them (well, maybe with the exception of the chewed up shoes).
Below, Carver, a four year old Mastiff mix who knows how to shake a paw! Would you like to take this big guy home? For more information CLICK HERE).
There are dogs, cats and rabbits ready to impress you with their above-average intellects at the Niagara Falls Humane Society. It would be so great if you took time to stop by for a visit, check out volunteer opportunities or donate some of the needed supplies to help the shelter pets. Lots of information is available on our website: www.nfhs.ca, too!
This week’s column written by Phillis Babyk
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