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Old 11-15-2005, 10:39 PM
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Default Short Term Memory??

Hey all, is it true that dogs lack or have bad short term memories? Say if your dog goes in the house while you are away and you get home to find it, does he even remember doing it?
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:51 PM
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Nope. You either catch your dog in the act or scold yourself for allowing the accident to happen. You can try scolding the spot itself, but yelling at the dog is only going to make it apprehensive of you coming home next time. An accident on the carpet isn't something that ranks up there as things to remember. How to get out of a crate or into a trashcan, now those are worthy of remembering.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom
Nope. You either catch your dog in the act or scold yourself for allowing the accident to happen. You can try scolding the spot itself, but yelling at the dog is only going to make it apprehensive of you coming home next time. An accident on the carpet isn't something that ranks up there as things to remember. How to get out of a crate or into a trashcan, now those are worthy of remembering.

lol, or how to climb a fence (i am still dumbfounded at that...) but yeah, scolding them after the matter just confuses the heck outta the poor dog...especially if he was just welcoming you home or something!
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:53 AM
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I don't believe that they remember going to the bathroom in the house, no.

If my dog makes a mess in the house, and we come home to it, he sulks. I don't think it's because he remembers the act of making the mess, but because he knows we don't like pee/poo/shredded paper/mutilated sofas. He's very observant and picks up on our moods, and nobody is ever whistling dixie while they're trying to get a stain out of the carpet.. So, I think when he sees that in the house, and he sees us discover it, he gets upset because he anticipates US being upset. Dunno how much sense that made, but that's my explanation for why dogs sometimes look "guilty" after they make a mess in the house
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Old 11-16-2005, 01:40 AM
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I can always tell when Roxy has done something wrong. Ears pinned back, tail tucked, and looking at me with puppy dog eyes. Gets me everytime.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:34 PM
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4 seconds is about all their memory is for somehting like that.
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Old 11-16-2005, 03:04 PM
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I expect that it isn't that they don't remember doing it, they just don't connect doing it that long ago to why we're making a fuss. They do not understand pointing well at all.

Especially since they have no problem remembering that food can be found in the trashcan, or that hearing "sit" means butt to floor and treat appears.

It isn't as if they don't know which waste in the backyard is theirs. My mother's dog constantly pees over where my dog has peed, even if it was hours before. She seems to have no problem knowing it isn't hers...

--Mia
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:01 PM
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mia makes great points there. it doesn't have anything to do with short term memory, just with the capability of the dog to connect being disciplined for something unless it happens when you catch them in the act.

yeah, if you yell often enough when a dog has an accident inside, he will "act guilty" but that's not because he understands that soiling the house is bad, but because of the owner becoming "aggressive" (as the dog sees it) whenever they find a soiled spot in the house.

ultimately, all this accomplishes is the dog doing it out of sight where the owner doesn't see it.
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:57 PM
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I think it does have to do with how they make connections. Remember, this is dog psychology, not human reasoning.

Example: Pup squats and pees on floor. You're thinking, "If I correct him, he will associate peeing in the house with a negitive experience, and stop peeing in the house". Your dog may be thinking, "No peeing allowed! Oh-oh! Better not pee in front of this person anymore, they don't like it!".
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staffy
Hey all, is it true that dogs lack or have bad short term memories? Say if your dog goes in the house while you are away and you get home to find it, does he even remember doing it?
It's not really a matter of memory. I think it's described that way so that we can understand it better. Dogs are the ultimate "zen critters"--they live more in the now than any of us could hope to. We can't explain to them, "Okay, I'm really upset that you pooped on the floor three hours ago. That's why you're in trouble." Because we speak two different languages and we can't accurately communicate our motivations, we have to take advantage of their doggy zen and use it to teach them. That's why, if you want to shape your dog's behavior, you have to react to their behavior within about four seconds. Otherwise, it's in the past, man!
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