MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: how long is short term memory of dogs

Date: Tue Nov 24 04:25:35 2009
Posted By: Royce Moncur, Staff, General Science and Environment, Outside Input School Services
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1254815894.Zo

I am happy to answer this question as an expert of sorts. I have bred and 
trained working sheepdogs for 30 years. 

I'm not sure that dogs have a memory in the same way we understand 
memory. We add lots of human story-like packages to memory. We remember 
things in context or setting. Dogs seem to 'learn' and hold that learning 
for their lives. 

When training a dog it only takes one or two repititions of punishment 
for the dog to take this learning and hold it for ever. The punishment 
must be immediate and relate exactly to the behaviour though. 

I don't understand your last sentence. Ignoring a dog is not a 
punishment. It may upset the dog... but cannot be related to a behaviour 
so would not contribute to learning. Responding to behaviour as opposed 
to ignoring can reinforce it as a reward though. 

I hope that helped. Cheers Royce

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