Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

A Havachon Remembers Her Puppy Travel Crate

on April 19, 2011

I’ve read in a few places that experts – the big unnamed “THEY” – believe that dogs don’t have long-term memory. I’ve never subscribed to that belief.

Daisy in her puppy travel crate last summer

If that was true, how is it that they remember people they haven’t seen in more than a year? Scent, yes, but they associate that scent with something – kindness, cruelty, whatever. They remember.

Our vet and books by trainers recommended that we use a loud, sharp whistle to help train Daisy. She doesn’t like loud noises, so this was a humane way to get her attention when she was acting up. We kept forgetting to buy one, so we made a loud noise by hitting a spoon against a pot lid. It worked like a charm.

We haven’t used that pot lid in months, but the other day Daisy was NOT listening and her incessant “jump-and-spin” excitement that caused her an injury previously was non-stop. So I took out the pot lid – no spoon – and showed it to her. Immediately she stopped jumping and obeyed our “no jump” command. She stayed calm even after I put the lid away. Even after months of not seeing it, she still remembered that she didn’t like it and that she needed to listen.

This weekend, I passed Daisy’s puppy travel crate along to my friend who just got an 8-week old Westie. Daisy outgrew it months ago, but it sat in a corner of our family room all this time. Naturally, Daisy still associates the pink crate with car travel, which she loves. I took the crate out of its place late last week, leaving it by the door so I wouldn’t forget it  Saturday morning. She saw me move it and new that the space where it stood was empty. She sniffed it out many times.

Daisy in her "ready to go" stance last summer

Yesterday, I decided to pack Daisy’s two winter coats away. One was a hand-me-down from a friend; Daisy only wore it once, back in November. Five months ago. When I brought it out, she got all excited and started dancing around, expecting to go out.

But then she ran over to where her travel crate used to be and just stood there like she always did before we’d take her out in the car. She stood there in position as if a phantom travel crate was still in its place . She could clearly see that it was gone, but still, that was her spot all those months ago.

We haven’t used the puppy travel crate in six months, but the association and memory was still there, even though the crate wasn’t.

I think dogs do have long-term memory, at least a certain amount. Maybe some don’t – my last dog was a big Shepherd-Collie-Husky mix with a wonderful temperament, but she was just happy to be pet, played with, and fed every day. A happy-go-lucky sort of dog. Everything other than love, play, and food was just white noise to her. She wasn’t a dumb dog, but she didn’t have the desire to out-smart us like Daisy and other dogs I know have. Whether or not she had long-term memory, I couldn’t tell. I was also too busy raising a baby to notice a lot!

What do you think? Do you believe that dogs have long-term memories?

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17 responses to “A Havachon Remembers Her Puppy Travel Crate

  1. Scriptor Obscura says:

    Yes, they most definitely do. To prove this, here is a true story.

    My mother had several dogs growing up, including one named Trampolina. One day her father put Trampolina in the car and drove a long, long distance away, and then left her there by the side of the road. I do not know why he did this, I don’t think that my mother even knows why herself.

    This was many miles away from my mother’s house. But somehow Trampolina miraculously and incredibly remembered the way back home and arrived home some time later, having walked for several hours after being abandoned at the side of the road. To this day, this is one of the many stories that my mother remembers of her childhood and tells me on a regular basis. Although she didn’t say what happened to Trampolina after her epic return, I don’t think that she was ever abandoned or let go again after that!

  2. I most definitely think they have a long term memory. Like Daisy, Gus remembers items that he has not seen for months and months.

    I love that her travel crate was pink…it’s SO Daisy. 😀

  3. granny1947 says:

    I am quite sure they do. About two years ago Jasmine charged a cat while I had her on her lead…she sent me sprawling and my leg was bleeding. She was immediately contrite. If I point to my knee now and say “what is this” her ears go down and she looks so guilty.

  4. Jackie Paulson 1966 says:

    Your story put me in tears, as Barb19 and I have built a friendship and we love animals, I could not abandon any animal, not even a turtle. I have two cats that I love dearly.

  5. Judy says:

    I think that dogs do have long term memories. I had a German Shepherd once that was bitten by a black dog when it was one and a half years old. Ever since that day, he has always hated black dogs and would attack them if given the opportunity. I would call that a long term memory.

  6. barb19 says:

    I’m sure they do have a long-term memory.
    When Poppy was a puppy, about 12 weeks old she was attacked by an Airedale Terrier in the park (for no reason whatsoever). The Airedale bit Poppy’s back leg, but because she was still very fluffy (she hadn’t had her first clip), all he got was a lump of fur.
    Needless to say, she was terrified and we didn’t go back to that park for almost a year. When we did, she dragged on the lead as soon as she got near the gates, and started shaking. She wouldn’t go in. Long-term memory? I think so!
    What a sad story about Trampolina – I can’t fathom how anyone could abandon any animal like that, it’s so cruel – but good on her for remembering and making her way back home. I hope it was a good outcome for her.

    • raisingdaisy says:

      What a incredible story – there’s no doubt in my mind that with everything everyone has said, dogs definitely have long-term memory. How awful for poor Poppy though. Makes you wonder if they have nightmares after a scare like that.

  7. I do not subscribe to that old tale! My pups have demonstrated many times they remember things beyond a few days … they may easily forgive and forget when we mess up, but that does not make them mindless.

  8. I think dogs certainly are capable of retaining information in their memory banks. Our Miss Maple, however, has ‘selective’ memory! She would feign forgetfulness whenever the situation suits her and, at other times, remember things that we wish she would have forgotten…

  9. Becs says:

    This is my teething puppy’s favorite toy. She gnaws on this for hours on end (seriously!). There’s no funky smell to it like other rubbery products, either. Great toy!

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