Do Dogs Remember People?

Scientific evidence suggests that dogs can remember their owners and the actions of their owners. Dogs may have the ability to remember people after long absences, too.

Dogs are beloved companions and pets for many people. Often, there is the question of whether the dog really recognizes and remembers their owners. Recent research has shown that dogs likely have episodic memory, which is the ability to consciously recall past events and people.

In 2013, Claudia Fugazza and Adam Miklosi of Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary created a study to test if dogs could imitate their owners actions. Basically, they wanted to know if the dog could watch their owner perform an action, and when asked later do that same task themselves. It is called the "Do As I Do" method. The researchers found that dogs can observe their owners doing a task and repeat it, even after taking a long, distracting break. This not only shows that dogs pay close attention to their people, they also remember their actions.

Dogs can also get separation anxiety and are obviously pleased when their owners return home. Another study, in 2011 by Therese Rehn and Linda Keeling, noted that dogs were much more excited to see their owners after being gone over 2 hours compared to just 30 minutes. This indicates that dogs also notice the passage of time and it affects their reactions when their people return from a long absence.