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Eighty-six-year-old retired psychology professor John Pilley and his border collie Chaser are inseparable. Human beings have lived with dogs for thousands of years. You'd think that after all that time we'd have discovered all there is to know about them. But, as we first reported last fall, it turns out that until recently scientists didn't pay much attention to dogs. Dolphins have been studied for decades, apes and chimps as well, but dogs, with whom we share our lives, were never thought to be worthy of serious study. As a result, we know very little about what actually goes on inside dogs' brains. Do they really love us, or are dogs just licking us so they can get fed? How much of our language can they understand?
Chaser, a dog who can identify over a thousand toys. There are 800 cloth animals, 116 different balls and more than a hundred plastic toys. One thousand twenty-two toys in all. Each with a unique name:
So Chaser could recognize the names of every one of these toys?
John Pilley: That's true, that's true! In every test, Chaser correctly identified 95% or more of the toys!
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Types of Dog Memory There are two general types of dog memory: short-term and long-term
Short-term memory works briefly in order to accomplish an immediate task, and long-term memory is more permanent storage of information. Two types of long-term memories exist: procedural and declarative. Procedural memory involves skilled movements. Declarative memories involve remembering facts and the time-sequence of events.
Some people assume that dogs and cats are not capable of retaining memory over the years. Most people believe both species can only remember for a few minutes, at most. However, experts say that how long a dog's memory span is depends on whether you are talking about short-term memory or long-term memory, associative memory or real memory.
Associative Memory Is when a dog remembers by associating a specific activity with what they see, smell or hear, and whether they have a positive or negative memory of it. For example, my dogs associate the sounds my computer makes when it's shutting down with going outside one last time at night. But if I mute the computer's volume so they can't hear the beeps, they have no idea why I'm getting up from my chair. Although as dog owner's we want to believe that our pets remember every single detail of the life we share together, that may not be the case. Pets pay close attention to every little thing we do, and their associative memory kicks in when something triggers it. Yet when there is nothing to associate an action to, their real memory kicks in and they don't remember what happens next.
Associative memory is the reason why you can't punish a dog, left alone, for tearing up a pillow or getting in the trash. By the time you get home, he has no idea why you are yelling at him, but will associate your reaction with unfair discipline, and will remember it. When a pet associates something negative with an activity, it can be hard to change their behavior. If you only take your pet in the car when it's time to visit the vet, he may associate being in the car with something unpleasant. If your cat has a negative experience in a specific room, she may be reluctant to go back. So it's important for your pet to experience positive things in the car or the room, like going somewhere enjoyable or having fun playing in that "scary" room.
Dog memory can be best understood as primarily associative versus real memory. A dog remembers people and places based on associations he has with those people and places. If the owner puts on a specific article of clothing before taking the dog out for a walk, the dog will react with his usual excitement about going to the park when the owner puts on that coat. This will last for many years unless a new association to the coat is established. A dog is unlikely, however, to suddenly get excited about going for a walk without any sign of the coat, or the leash, or whatever reminds him of the walk.
However, you need to tread carefully to make sure you don't reinforce a negative association your pet will remember. Recently it was discovered that dogs also use "declarative memory" which are memories that can be consciously recalled like facts, such as which areas in the park have the most squirrel sightings, or knowledge that the word "vet's office" means they are minutes away from having a thermometer greet their rectum, although to dogs, it's hard to tell what just happened and what happened a long time ago. Researchers are still uncovering the mysteries of dog memory. For instance, how can some dogs manage to find their way home after being lost for long periods of time?
Negative Versus Positive Associations Associative memory can work towards the negative as well. If a dog has a traumatic vet visit after a ride in the car, he will react to car rides with fear until that memory is replaced by associating the car with getting to go out and play. The stronger the association, however, the harder it is to change the memory
Change the association We can also attempt to change these associations if we need to. Maybe your dog used to love riding in the car until one day she had a bad experience at the vet. Now your dog is reluctant to get in the car and go anywhere. If you can change the association with the car to something happier, then your dog might not be so scared anymore. One common method for dealing with a car-phobic dog is to get in the back seat with the dog and her favorite toy, without the car being on, then spending time playing with her. Repeat this for five to ten minutes at a time until she seems to be over her reluctance to hop in, then go for a drive to some place she likes, such as her favorite dog park.
But remember, the stronger the association, the harder it will be to change it. Dogs don't hold onto the past. There is no reason to live anywhere but the present!
Associative Memory Versus Real Memory Dog memory can be best understood as primarily associative versus real memory. A dog remembers people and places based on associations he has with those people and places. If the owner puts on a specific article of clothing before taking the dog out for a walk, the dog will react with his usual excitement about going to the park when the owner puts on that coat. This will last for many years unless a new association to the coat is established. A dog is unlikely, however, to suddenly get excited about going for a walk without any sign of the coat, or the leash, or whatever reminds him of the walk.
Natural Rhythms Memory What makes a dog's memory so fascinating is that even though they have no actual reference to the past, they can still remember certain things such as going to the park for a walk, swimming in the local pond, being trained with favorite snacks, and so on. This type of memory is actually natural rhythms that have a strong resemblance to normal memory. To you as a pet owner, it appears as if your dog is able remember things when in reality, there is an internal clock that provides him with a reminder. As an example, if you take your dog on a walk every day at 5:00 pm, you can be sure that if you forget, the animal will remind you. This is not so much a memory but a built-in rhythm that appears very much like a memory.
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Your Dog Literally Has No Short-Term Memory. You spend your life loving, laughing, and engaging in wonderful activities with your dog. Too bad your dog doesn't remember any of it. Dogs may be capable of human-like emotions and consciousness, but their short-term memories are pretty terrible, particularly when the event in question is something relatively trivial and not survival-oriented. Unless it is an event that has to do with food or fear, the memory is gone, zapped, cleared from the doggy record, according to a new study, which seems like an arrow pointed at our heart.
Dogs may be glad to see an old friend, but they won't remember when they last saw him, they forget events within two minutes. Your Dog Isn't Dumb, It Just Has A Very Selective Short-Term Memory. A new study out of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution in Stockholm, Sweden, found that in a survey of 25 types of animals, including dogs, the average short-term memory span was just 27 seconds. Canines fare slightly better than average, according to National Geographic:
A recent investigation of short-term memory suggests animals don't remember specific events much at all, instead, they store away useful information about what could help them survive.
Dogs forget an event within two minutes - only around 70 seconds! Chimpanzees, at around 20 seconds, are worse than rats at remembering things, while the memory spans of three other primates - baboons, pig-tailed macaques, and squirrel monkeys exceeded only bees, the sole study participant that wasn't either a mammal or a bird.
Nearly a hundred animals were observed using "a memory test of recent random events known as the delayed matching-to-sample (or DMTS) method": An animal is typically shown a visual stimulus such as a red circle. The red circle disappears, then, after a delay, it's shown again with another sample stimulus, a blue square, say. The animal, usually with the incentive of a food reward, has to select the original sample it saw.
The results suggest that humans' capacity for "episodic memory" sets us apart from other animals. That's because animals may have specialized memory systems hardwired to remember certain "biologically relevant information", such as where to find food, the study authors proposed.
At last, an explanation as to why your dog freaks out every time the doorbell rings - "OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING?", but can also remember exactly which jacket pocket always contains his favorite bacon-flavored treats, or the fact that you putting on shoes and grabbing the leash means he's about to get to go outside. That's also why your pooch reliably loses their little doggie minds with joy when you come back after taking the trash out. For them it's impossible to tell if you were gone for 5 minutes or for hours! So, while your dog may not remember the specific day you met, they will remember your face, smell and the thousands of positive feelings associated with you and will continue to do so for the rest of their life.
Researchers found that dogs in the study were able to remember how to imitate their owners' actions for up to 24 hours. The findings show dogs may possess so-called long-term declarative memory, which involves the ability to recall a past event or a learned rule. Your dog may recall commands, remember people after long stretches of time, or behave in ways that make long-term memory seem obvious.
A scientific study out of Hungary says dogs indeed have declarative memory, the type of long-term memory responsible for remembering facts and information. According to a study by Claudia Fugazza and Adam Miklosi of Hungary's Eotvos Lorand University, dogs can learn, retain and later repeat actions humans teach them. The study, published in "Animal Cognition," trained dogs to watch activities performed by their human demonstrators. They were trained to wait briefly before showing the action previously demonstrated to them. Then, they were tested for memory of that action. They remembered the action after 10 minutes, even with distractions in between.
In the Hungary study, one of the dogs' owners had her dog sit and watch her. She placed three random objects at the scene. One was a bell, which the owner rang. They then took a break away from the scene and pursued different activities. After the break, the owner brought the dog back to the scene and gave the command "do it." At this point, the dog, remembering what the owner did before, rang the bell himself.
The study's authors conclude that their research shows dogs can take in a mental picture of actions and reproduce those actions after a delay and with distractions in between. Dogs are able to witness new actions with no prior learning or experience and then recreate those actions later, even with a delay. This suggests that dogs do have long-term memory. Specifically, the study reflects the presence of long-term declarative memory, which requires remembering facts or information previously learned. Not only did the results of that study indicate that dogs are able to imitate humans, but the researchers were also surprised to find that dogs could imitate human actions after delays as long as 10 minutes, without motor-practicing the action during the retention interval.
The results of that study suggested that dogs formed a mental representation of an action, encoded it and were able to recall it after a delay. These findings made the researchers wonder whether dogs would be able to retain information in their memory for longer periods of time. In the new study, published recently in Animal Cognition, the researchers tested dogs' ability to imitate different actions after delays that ranged from one to 24 hours.
For the study, they recruited 24 adult pet dogs of various breeds, including labs, border collies and poodles. Twelve dogs were assigned to a control, immediate recall group, in which they were supposed to imitate their owners' actions right away. The other 12 were assigned to a delayed recall group, in which they had to imitate after an interval lasting from one to 24 hours.The scientists found that the dogs were able to correctly imitate the actions about 78 percent of the time on average, and this success rate did not differ significantly between dogs in the immediate and delayed recall groups.
Explicit vs Implicit Memory
Implicit memory is the part of memory where animals learn without conscious effort. It is all those things we experience and learn without knowing when we learnt them.You will see from some examples that animals are nearly as good at this as people.
Explicit memory is a different system we use to actively recall something, like how to do a maths sum, what someone's name is, a holiday or what we ate last night etc. For pets, this might be used to recall training behaviours, previous escape routes or how they got the biscuit barrel open last time.
Dogs have some real memory but it's only extremely short in its span. Dogs are clearly able to remember language and hand signals for many years. It's somewhat unknown whether this is associative or real memory but it is probably the former. A dog may associate the word "sit" with getting a treat so even if the treat is not present, he'll want to sit when he hears that word just in case a reward is involved.
A dog may retain the training she is received all her life, she will also retain fears imprinted from puppyhood, but can't seem to remember that chewing up an expensive piece of footwear is a huge no-no. A dog's memory span may be broken up into short and long term memory. However, a human's version of memory and a dog's version of memory are two very different things. Just how long is a dog's memory?
Dogs forget an event within two minutes. To be able to make a somewhat complete analysis about the span of dog memory, it is important to differentiate between associative memory and real memory. Associative memory assists the real. Associative memory is when your dog associates a sound, smell or visual cue with a known behavior or emotion. For instance your canine may associate keys jingling in your pocket with a familiar behavior of you leaving and may start to whine as you get ready to leave. It is said that if a dog does not have some sort of exterior stimulus that he is not able to think about or remember parks or places he has been in before. But as soon as dog hears his owner's voice, smells him or perceives his presence at a distance, his associative memory activates or comes to life. This same type of reaction seems to happen to people that have not seen each other in months or years and their immediate reaction is as if no time had gone by at all.
Memory vs. Imprint Humans retain memories - vivid images of both positive and negative occurrences that (hopefully) were learning experiences of what to do and what not to do, ever again! Studies suggest that although dogs do not have images and memories, they have imprints of occurrences. A young dog tentatively comes towards a huge object in the middle of the room. Sniffs at it to explore its strangeness, suddenly it comes to life with a horrendously loud noise. The dog flees in panic. From that moment on, that dog will be afraid of the vacuum.
There won't be a memory, but an imprint of fear associated with the loud, strange object. Some veterinarians say that after a dog has been away or separated from his owner for over ten hours and after the dog's tension and desperation has gone from having left his home and owner, that the dog is then able to inverse the situation. It seems that the dog is able to change thehostile or anxious feelings he had. Some people say that the dog's emotional tension leaves him as well as the image of his owner in his mind, which then allows the dog to peacefully live his life with another owner. Whether this is true or not is beyond our knowledge.
Negative Imprints Dogs live very much in the now. So much so that behavior needs to be addressed while it is happening. Seeing what a dog has done after the fact and scolding her only breeds stress in the dog. She would have no idea why the human is angry. Extremely common misconception during housebreaking - rubbing the dog's nose in their urine will teach them not to go inside the house. Not true. Since the dog's memory has no recall of actually urinating in the house, rubbing the dog's nose in it is counterproductive. It will only create fear in the dog, fear of the owner. The dog is really just wondering what she did.
Memory Retention Would a dog remember a former owner, years after she had been relinquished? Probably. Not by sight or sound but by smell. It is no secret dog's have an amazing sense of smell. That is how they ascertain whether another living being is worth their time. Smells have associations or imprints attached to them. If a former owner found their dog, the dog would remember their scent. Feelings associated with that scent, whether good or bad would be linked to the human. Would a dog remember its owner after a week being boarded at a kennel? Absolutely! While dogs tend to go with more of an imprint than a memory, they will not forget what their person looks like or sounds like in a week.
Some people believe it while others don't. If it is true though, how would we explain certain behaviors the dog does when he has lost his owner because of death etc. and they reject any invitation into a new home? There are many cases of dogs that have run away, rejecting any help and that actually look anxious sad. There are breeds that do not get completely hung up on their owners and these types seem to accept change a lot easier than others. There are others though, that just don't accept new owners. These dogs are only able to have one owner. This might be because of a predisposition or generic characteristic but the truth is that some do not accept a new owner easily. A dog's memory imprint runs long and deep, but they also have a crazy way of leaving a lasting imprint on the hearts of their humans.
How Dogs Perceive Time? Research on how dogs perceive time is limited. But we can learn more about it when look at the extensive research done on other animals, such as rodents, birds and primates. In his studies on how animals perceive time, animal cognition researcher William Roberts made some remarkable conclusions regarding animal memories, anticipation and more. The animals are "stuck in time". Without the sophisticated abilities it takes to perceive time, like truly forming memories, animals only live in the present. Dogs can't mentally "time travel" backward and forward. Humans can consciously and willfully think back to specific memories and anticipate events. Animals cannot.
Dogs might use circadian oscillator, daily fluctuations of hormones, body temperature and neural activity, to know when food is likely to hit the bowl or when owners are likely to return from work. Instead of remembering how much time passes between meals or what time meals are given, dogs react to a biological state they reach at a particular time of day. And they react the same way at the same time every day to this stimulus.
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The graphic below shows examples of abstract pictures presented to the dogs with positive and negative associations. The dogs were given an exclusion test, where one of the images was new and the others were familiar with negative connotations. Older collies showed better logic skills to pick out the novel picture.
Most people are interested in their dog's intelligence. While there are predictable differences based upon the dog's breed - for example Border Collies are a lot smarter and more trainable than Bulldogs, there is a lot of variability within each breed. Whether you are merely curious about your dog's memory ability or worried about possible memory loss in an older dog, here is a simple test that you can give your dog at home.
There are some well-documented tests for the general mental abilities of dogs, and all such tests include measures of a dog's memory. Memory is a critical component of dog intelligence, since your dog can't learn if she can't remember. This makes tests of a dog's memory a good approximation of just how bright she is in general. However, memory changes with age. Older dogs show symptoms that are similar to the memory losses found in older humans, and severe cases show memory declines similar to those found in Alzheimer's Disease - in dogs, it is called "Canine Cognitive Dysfunction".
Whether you are merely curious about your dog's memory ability or worried about possible memory loss in an older dog, here is a simple test that you can give your dog at home. Two conditions must be met for the test to be valid. First, your dog must be at least a year old. It is also necessary for a dog to have been living in the same place for at least ten weeks, otherwise the environmental memory test won't work. You will need a stopwatch or a watch with a second hand, and an assistant to hold the dog is helpful.
DOG MEMORY TESTS
General Dog Memory Test Test the dog's memory. Place three plastic buckets or cups upside down on the floor, a foot apart. Put a treat underneath one of the cups, while the dog is watching. Lead the dog out of the room for 30 seconds, then back. Urge the dog to find the treat. Scoring Checks under the right cup on the first try: Good Memory Finds it within two minutes: Average Memory Doesn't find it: Hard To Remember...
Dog Short-Term Memory Test The first test looks at short-term memory. You may observe failures in your own short term memory in situations when you ask for a phone number from an operator and correctly dial it immediately, meaning that the number is stored in your short-term memory. However, when you get a busy signal and hang up to dial the number again, you often find you've forgotten the number, since short-term memory fades quickly. The test requires an average-sized room that doesn't have a lot of furniture or other material cluttering it. You need a tidbit of food that has no strong odour, otherwise, dog's scenting ability will bias the results. If the dog will not reliably sit and stay on command, have a helper present to hold her.
To start, place a dog on a leash, and have it sit in the center of the room. While it watches you, show dog the treat, then, with a great exaggerated show, but no sound, place the tidbit in a corner, making sure that she sees you put it down. Lead canine out of the room, walk around in a small circle, and then bring the dog back to the center of the room. Leaving the room and returning to it should take no more than about fifteen seconds. Slip the leash off the dog, and start the stopwatch. Scoring If the dog goes directly to the bait, score 5. If the dog systematically sniffs around the edge of the room and finds the tidbit, score 4. If the dog seems to search in a random fashion but nevertheless finds the tidbit within 45 seconds, score 3. If the dog appears to try to find the tidbit but still hasn't succeeded after 45 seconds, score 2. If the dog makes no effort to find the bait, score 1.
Dog Long-Term Memory Test The next test looks at long-term memory, which is relatively permanent and long lasting. Give this test immediately after the preceding test. The set-up is identical to the short term memory test. Make sure, however, that you place the tidbit in a different corner than the one you used for the short-term memory test. Take the dog out of the room and keep it out of the room for five minutes. Then return the canine to the center of the room, slip off the leash, and start the stopwatch. Scoring If the dog goes directly to the bait, score 5. If the dog goes to the corner where the first bait was and then quickly goes to the correct corner, score 4. If the dog systematically sniffs around the edge of the room and finds the tidbit, score 3. If the dog seems to search in a random fashion but still finds the tidbit within 45 seconds, score 2. If the dog appears to try to find the tidbit but still hasn't succeeded after 45 seconds, score 1. If the dog makes no effort to find the bait, score 0.
Dog Environmental Memory Test This next test looks at environmental memory, which simply means how well your dog remembers the world around her. While the dog is out of the house, rearrange the furniture in a roo that is familiar to the canine. For example, you could bring a few additional chairs into the room, move a large piece of furniture toward the center of the room, place a coffee table in an odd corner, move a side table to the center of the room, or create several other obvious disturbances of the usual pattern of furniture placement. Try to make sure that at least five things are obviously different in the room. Then bring the dog into the room and start your stopwatch while you stand quietly. Scoring If the dog notices something is different within 15 seconds and starts to explore or sniff any changed aspect of the room, score 5. If the dog notices the differences and checks out any one changed aspect of the room in 15 to 30 seconds, score 4. If the dog does so in thirty to sixty seconds, score 3. If the dog looks around cautiously, seems to notice something is different, but does not explore any changed aspect of the room, score 2. If a minute passes, and the dog is still ignores the changes, score 1.
Dog Alternate Choice Memory Test The final test involves alternate choice memory, or how well the dog remembers one of several possibilities. For this test, you need three identical, empty tin cans or plastic cups. Rub the inside of each with the tidbit of food that you will be using as bait, so that the dog can't use smell to guide her choice. Next, while the dog watches, show it the empty cans and arrange them in a row upside-down with about one foot (30 cm) between each. With exaggerated movements, show a dog the treat, then lift the middle can and place the treat under it. Slip the leash off and let the dog go. Whether it actually gets the treat or not by knocking over the can is irrelevant for this test, but note the attention that the dog pays to each can. Scoring If the dog goes directly to the middle can, score 5. If the dog goes to one of the outside cans first, then shifts her attention and starts nosing the middle can while ignoring the others, score 4. If the dog sniffs at all three cans and then returns to pay attention to the middle can, score 3. If the dog circles the cans sniffing or poking at each indiscriminately, score 2. If the dog wanders around or ignores the cans, score 1.
What the score means Add the scores from the four tests. If your dog scores 17 to 20, her memory is very good. Scores from 13 to 16 are above average While 9 to 12 are average. Scores of 6 to 8 are borderline While scores of 5 or less would place a dog in the bottom 10 % of all dogs.
Although it is simply fun to know how good your dog's memory is, it is also a useful thing to measure your dog's memory when the dog is a healthy adult. You will then have a score to use as a reference to see if your dog's memory is declining as she grows older. If your dog's memory is good, it will be easier for the dog to learn. If your dog's memory is bad, it will be easier for canine to forget that she was pinched or pulled by a particular child. The dog will also be less likely to remember that it should be still bearing a grudge against you for a late dinner or a missed walk-or that last trip to the vet.
The Dognition Profiles To identify your dog's profile, you will need to complete the full assessment on Dognotion.com. Each dog has a unique way of understanding the world. After completing all of the science based Dognition games online, you'll be able to see what is going on behind your dog's eyes, and you will receive a Dognition profile that explains how your dog understands the world.
Nina Ottosson Dog Memory dog puzzle. A fun way to test your dog's memory skills. Simply place a dog treat under one of the colored bones, while your dog is watching, and then see if your dog can remember which bone the treat is under. Make the game more difficult by either covering the puzzle or spinning it around a few times before you let your dog guess where the dog treat is hidden.
Test your dog's memory skills to see how well he/she can remember which colored bone the treats are hidden under. Make the game even more difficult by covering it with a towel or spinning it around a few times after showing your dog where the treat is. Then, see if your dog can remember. Great for bonding and spending quality time with your dog.
Have your dog a good memory? Can your dog see colors?
Test your dog's memory by hiding a treat under a piece of a jig-saw puzzle, while the dog is watching. Then let the dog try to choose the right puzzle piece by indicating with its paw or nose, or alternatively lift up the right piece of the puzzle. The game can be used in a number of ways. You can also hide treats under all the puzzle pieces and let the dog work to find the treats.
Tips: Try to teach your dog colors, by the paw or nose mark or lift up the right-colored piece of the puzzle. Begin with two colors, red and blue, hide a treat under the blue puzzle piece, say blue and let the dog try to choose the blue puzzle piece by indicating with its paw or nose, or by lift up the right piece. Practise and practise again until your dog "knows" the colors.
Spatial learning and memory were studied in dogs of varying ages and sources. Compared to young dogs, a significantly higher proportion of aged dogs could not acquire a spatial delayed nonmatching to sample task. A regression analysis revealed a significant age effect during acquisition.
Spatial memory was studied by comparing performance at delay interval of 20, 70, and 110 s. At short delays aged and young dogs were similar - at longer delays, errors increased to a greater extent in old than in young dogs, however this was not statistically significant. It was possible to identify 2 groups of aged animals, age-impaired and age-unimpaired. Several of the dogs were also tested on an object recognition memory task, which was more difficult to learn than the spatial task. The possibility that these findings are confounded by breed differences is considered. Overall, the present results provide further evidence of the value of a canine model of aging.
Owners of older dogs are all too frequently faced with a beloved pet that seems to have issues with memory loss and confusion. Thanks to advances in commercial pet food and veterinary medicine, our dogs and cats are living longer. Surveys indicate that more than 18 million dogs are at least 7 years old. But with longevity can come the onset of age-related conditions, including cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), the dog and cat version of Alzheimer's disease or dementia that develops in elderly people. Fuzzy memories can affect any breed, but these symptoms occur more frequently in dogs over age 8 and cats over age 10.
WHAT IS ALZHEIMER/DEMENTIA IN DOGS Not all dementia has an anxiety component to it and not all anxiety in older dogs is from dementia but the two often go together. So what causes dementia in older dogs?
There are four main causes of dementia or cognitive dysfunction syndrome:
1. Free radical formation Free radicals harm healthy cells in the brain.
2. Hypoxia to the brain In other words there is not enough blood getting to the brain.
3. Alterations in neurotransmitters There is too much or not enough of certain necessary neurotransmitters in the brain. You need neurotransmitters to have your neurons or brain cells function together.
4. Neural infiltrates such as B amyloid and lipofusion These infiltrates destroy healthy brain tissue, similar to alzheimer's disease in people.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR DOG HAS ALZHEIMER?
Pets with memory loss may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
Disorientation and confusion. Does your pet wander aimlessly, get lost in the house, or stare at the walls?
"Forgetting" himself and you too. Does your pet seem to forget his name, walk away while you pet him, or stop greeting you when you come home?
Sleeping difficulties. Is he waking in the middle of the night? Is he sleeping more during the day?
Housetraining lapses. Does he urinate or have bowel movements in your home minutes after being outside?
Unfortunately, CDS in many dogs and cats goes undiagnosed, because their owners just assume that old age, and not a medical condition, is what's causing the unusual behavior. Even within a veterinary clinic, the condition is generally tricky to diagnose. Veterinarians must rely on a senior pet exam that includes performing blood and urine tests and taking a detailed behavioral history to rule out other possible medical conditions.
HUMAN DRUG HELP Until a few years ago, veterinarians lacked any medication to control the clinical signs of CDS and extend the quality of life in afflicted dogs. In late 1998, the FDA granted approval for Anipryl (selegiline hydrochloride), a medication that's marketed by Pfizer. To test the effectiveness of Anipryl, 641 dogs ages 8 or older from 236 veterinary clinics across the US were recently studied. Owners were asked to evaluate their dog's overall actions after being on the medication for 1 month and then 2 months. By day 60, 77% of owners reported improvement in their dogs, says Sharon Campbell, DVM, a veterinarian board certified in internal medicine, who manages research for Pfizer. Currently, there is no other approved medication to treat CDS in dogs. In the past, the emphasis has been on making sure that puppies get all their necessary vaccinations, but both pet owners and veterinarians need to pay more attention to the needs of our senior pets.
Anti-aging Advice You can't stop the number of birthdays your pet has, but experts say you can take steps to keep your dog or cat feeling youthful even as they approach their senior years.
Consult your veterinarian Select the right commercial food that meets your pet's nutritional and health needs. Remember that the diet may need to change as your pet ages. Also, be sure to schedule a geriatric exam when your dog turns 7 and your cat turns 8.
Keep your older dog mentally stimulated By playing a game of hide and seek with food treats in various rooms of the house or playing a game of "go fetch the biscuit." Toss a toy mouse, or encourage your older cat to play with a toy feather wand to hone her natural stalking skills.
Reinforce basic commands By having your dog "sit" before getting a treat or "come" when you are in one room and he is in another. Take your older dog for shorter but more frequent walks on smooth surfaces that aren't jarring to his joints. Vary the route to expose him to new surroundings.
FIGHT DOG MEMORY LOSS TREAT ALZHEIMER & DIMENTIA IN DOGS This article proudly presented by WWW.MADMIKES AMERICA.COM and Michael John Scott and Adam Feuer
Dementia and anxiety are some of the most frustrating and painful problems I see in older dogs and can be very difficult to deal with. Be gentle on yourself and your dog companion and try to find a healthy way to work with these problems for everyone in the household.
In Traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, anxiety in older animals is caused by too much heart fire related to the kidneys becoming deficient as your dog ages. Kidneys are considered to be the water element and as we age the kidneys get deficient and water in the body system decreases to a point that it allows heart which is a fire element to flare too much and cause anxiety especially during the heart peak hours of 11pm - 1am.
According to TCM, another issue is that older animals can become what is called yin deficient. Yin holds the yang at night so we can sleep. If there is not enough yin, the yang is not held and sleep doesn't happen. Sometimes these problems are reversible but even when they are not, there are things you can do to help prevent the problem from getting worse and help with symptoms.
Here is a list of some things that can help your older dog with dementia or anxiety. Please check with your veterinarian to come up with a plan that is safe for your dog.
1. Walking is the most important thing you can do for your older dog. Walking just ten minutes twice a day can significantly increase brain blood flow and reverse symptoms of dementia from hypoxia. Plus it can help prevent muscle atrophy and help with arthritis.
3. Fish Oil and other antioxidants help prevent and repair free radical damage and stimulate brain function. In addition Fish Oil also help with arthritis and dry coat problems in older dogs. I dose Fish Oil at 500mg per 40 lb of dog. Extra vitamin B and E can also help these dogs.
4. SamE helps increase dopamine function in the brain, stimulates brain function and works as an antioxidant. It also helps with joint pain and liver function which many older dogs have problems with. I dose SamE at 500mg per 50lb of dog.
5. Remove any compact fluorescent or fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting can cause a high pitched hum that humans can not hear but dogs and cats can. Older dogs loss their high frequency hearing last so even almost deaf dogs can still hear very high frequency noises. In addition fluorescent lighting can affect brain function and can cause headaches. See The danger of compact fluorescent lighting.
6. Get rid of the dry food. Many older dogs do better on home cooked food or canned food. I don't recommend switching an old dog to raw food if they have not been on it before. From a Chinese medicine view, dry food is too processed and dry for an older dog who already is kidney deficient.
7.Wearing a T-shirt, Thundershirt, or Anxiety Wrapcan help your older dog if they have problems with anxiety. It sounds weird I know, but it actually does work. It is based around the ideas from Tellington TTouch of using an ace bandage. See the article Put an ace bandage on my dog?. Wearing the shirt enhances your do's sense of their own body and makes them feel more confident in their movements and behavior. You can use a snug fitting human T-shirt, a Thundershirt, or an anxiety wrap. I have found however that if your dog has a lot of arthritic pain the anxiety wrap is too hard to put on, so try the Thundershirt or a T-shirt in that case. This is also an idea that can work in young dogs with anxiety.
8. Melatonin can help old dogs sleep at night. Sometimes older dogs can get confused between night and day and end up sleeping all day and then pacing and panting at night. This can make it very hard for us humans to sleep also. Giving Melatonin in the evening can help regulate night and day for these guys and get everyone a better night's sleep. I dose Melatonin at 3-4mg per 50lb of dog.
9. Small meals more often and right before bed are sometimes better for these older dogs. A small meal of wet or cooked food right before bedtime can help get these dogs through the night and help them sleep better.
10. Acupuncture can help decrease anxiety especially at night time by treating the yin, kidneys, and heart fire. In addition acupuncture can help with arthritis pain, weakness, and kidney function and help your dog age more gracefully as they get older. I often combine acupuncture with Chinese herbs for these dogs.
11. Reiki can help to relax older dogs and calm anxiety. Reiki is a nice calming way of helping improve health and well being as animals age.
12. Rescue Remedy and other flower essences can help with anxiety and fear. Flower essencesare homeopathic in nature and very safe for older animals. Rescue Remedy is the best know but there are many lines for treating a variety of behavior and emotional issues.You can dose flower essences by putting 3-4 drops in your dog's drinking water every time you change their water. It is ok to use flower essences in the water even if other animals drink from the same dish.
13. Other herbal medicationsare out there for helping with anxiety in older dogs. I recommend consulting with a holistic veterinary to decide on what is right for your dog.Many of the most calming herbals like valerian or kava kava can be very dangerous if used incorrectly or in the wrong animal. To use Chinese herbs correctly you should consult with a veterinarian with a background is Chinese herbal medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
14. Western Drugs are always an option. There are may drugs that help with anxiety and can be given if the natural alternatives do not work or are not enough. There are also drugs out there that help with dementia such as Selegiline (Anipryl). Most of the western drugs like the herbs are not cure alls but can help make things better.
15. Some dogs are anxious because they are painful. This is an important thing to rule out before assuming there is a dementia component.If your dog is not on pain medication have them evaluated by your veterinarian. If they are on pain medication talk to your vet about increasing the dose or trying something else if there may be a pain factor. Dogs ca not always tell us when they are in pain and pain certainly can cause sleep disturbance and anxiety.
16. Talk to your dog about the change in their position in the house. Many dogs especially the herding breeds take their job of watching the house very seriously. As they get older and can not do it the way they would like to anymore they can become quite anxious. Explaining that your accept them in their old age and making changes to help them, can ease anxiety. See the article Love me for who I am today.
17. Take care of yourself! This is very important when you are caring for an elderly or sick animal. To be a good caregiver you need to be healthy and well rested.If you have a dog that is anxious at night and you are not sleeping consider putting them in a different room than you sleep in, crating them if they are ok with crating, or finding another solution. If you get sick because you are not taking care of yourself you will not be able to care for them.It may seem mean to kick them out of your room but it is kinder than letting them sleep with you and being a grumpy caregiver. I had to do this with my old dog Jake and it actually ended up with us both sleeping better. Before we slept in separate rooms, his anxiety made me anxious, which made him more anxious and by the morning we were both a mess.
A GOOD dog trainer has a healthy respect for a dog's powers of recall. Considering dog's the superior nose, the massive mental focus on smell and the connection with memory, it stands to reason that a dog will remember smells pretty well. This is why a dog wants to smell your hands and shoes: to learn where you have been and what you have been doing. We, humans think in words and pictures. Imagine going somewhere new and interesting and keeping your eyes closed, then trying to describe it. I believe a dog thinks in smells and, to a lesser extent, textures and patterns of movement. A walk is about gathering smells. A dog's life, its interaction with the world, is all about smells. I try to apply this to dog training.
I have spoken often about the importance of patience, repetition and routines when training a dog. I believe smell can and should be part of the mix. As I work with a dog, I try to fill its head with smells, especially new smells. I put emphasis on overlaying my smell with new scents in the dog's memory. That's my focus on day one: a simple sequence of events, combined with new smells.
Usually the sequence ends at home in familiar surroundings where the dog earns a few treats by performing obedience sequences. The next time the dog meets me, my smell triggers memories of what we did the last time we met, of the things and places we smelled together. When I repeat the routine from the previous session it starts to become a pattern. Even very young dogs remember things we did months later. I think smell plays a big part in this. I think sleep is important too. In my experience, new smells will send a dog to sleep better than physical exercise.
I operate on the assumption that a dog processes its experiences in its sleep and whereas our human experiences are catalogued primarily in visual images, a dog's are mostly about smell. If you have the required patience, you can try this. Take your dog for a walk somewhere new and watch the places it smells with the most concentration, then go back another day and see if it is drawn to the same spots directly by memory, as opposed to discovering them by accident as it did the first time. If a dog is to remember something well it needs to tag it with a smell or more likely an olfactory tapestry at which we can only guess. The more distinctive the olfactory information, the better the memory of the event.
Dogs that were shown novel tasks were able to complete them after one minute without any practice. Dog psychology researchers long believed that dogs, cute and cuddly as they are, can't remember events that happened in the past. A new study has brought doubt to these beliefs, as the researchers' findings suggest dogs could imitate novel human actions based on what they have seen, and not practiced.
If you own a dog or have ever spent any time around one, you know that canine companions rely heavily on communication cues from their humans. Dogs learn by watching humans and are easily influenced by us when we are training them to do something. However, experts in canine psychology have long believed dogs, unlike humans, have little or no memory for events that happened in the past. It appears they were wrong! A new study conducted in Budapest, Hungary and published in the July issue of Animal Cognition1 suggests that dogs can mimic novel human actions simply by seeing them, but not actually practicing them. Dogs can learn, remember and replay actions taught by humans after a short delay.
8 Dogs Were Trained to "Do As I Do" It is generally thought that animals have no sense of time and therefore have no episodic memory. Episodic memory coupled with semantic memory (the capacity to understand meanings and concepts) gives us the ability to remember facts and information, which represents declarative memory. Researchers from Hungary wanted to determine if canines were capable of these same types of memories.
They asked the owners of 8 adult dogs to train them to "do as I do", for example, ring a bell or walk around a bucket, and then make them wait for 5 to 30 seconds before they were permitted to try to copy the action they had just observed their owner perform. For the study, the dogs watched their owners perform the tasks for 1.5 minutes. For some tasks the dogs were allowed to copy the task in two actions; for other tasks, they could only sit and watch. Then the dogs were walked behind a screen so they could no longer see the objects used in the tasks. The dogs remained behind the screen anywhere from 40 seconds to 10 minutes, during which time people played with them or they were allowed to do whatever they wanted. The purpose of the break behind the screen was to determine if the dogs would remember how to perform the tasks without ever doing them.
Dogs Have the Ability to Consciously Recall Memories When the dogs were brought back, whether it was the owner or a stranger who commanded the dog to "do it!" they typically performed the task. In fact, the dogs could complete the two-action tasks after being behind the screen for up to 10 minutes. They were also able to perform the tasks they had only watched after spending a minute behind the screen. So, dogs are able to reproduce familiar actions and novel actions after different delays ̶actions after intervals as long as ten minutes; novel tasks after a delay of one minute. This ability was seen in different conditions, even if they were distracted by different activities during the interval.
Most people think dogs use their sense of smell for everything, but actually dogs use a whole range of senses when solving problems. A new study from Duke University's Canine Cognition Centre suggests that memory may be more important than smell when dogs are trying to find a hidden treat. The team used data from more than 500 dog owners around the world via their online website - Dognition. The scientists wanted to test whether their findings matched those provided by pet owners. As part of this study, published in PLOS ONE, dog owners were tasked with a number of games to play with their dog, these were the same games conducted in the laboratory. One of the tests involved the dogs watching as their owners hid food under one of two cups.
Then, when the dog's vision was obscured, the owner moved the treat to the other cup. The hypothesis being that if dogs relied on their sense of smell alone, they should still have been able to find the treat. However, the data from this Citizen Science project found that most dogs went to the cup where they last saw the food, suggesting they relied more on memory than smell. Analysis of the data also showed that each dog uses a unique set of cognitive skills: some are good communicators, while others have better memories and some are better at taking their owner's perspective.
Because there are many factors that make up dog,s intelligence, the profile illustrates which factors are used predominately by your dog. For example, the profile shows how cunning your pooch is, what his memory is like, and even where he rates on the empathy level. Hence, this really is a useful tool when it comes to training your dog and understanding why certain tasks maybe more challenging than others. Where a profile shows Fido has a poor memory, for example, that can help the frustrated owner who may not understand why their dog just "isn't getting it" when it comes to teaching a new behaviour or changing a behaviour.
DOG vs CAT MEMORY This material proudly presented by WWW.PETSNMORE.COM and WWW.CANIDAE.COM and Linda Cole
Cats are not as excitable as dogs. They have to maintain their "coolness" after all. Felines do associate sights, sounds and smells, though. If they didn't, the electric can opener would never be successful at training a cat to come running when "it" calls out. A cat's brain functioning has been compared to that of a two to three year old child and, when compared to a dog, a cat's memory is almost 200 times more retentive. Without repeated and reinforced training, a dog's memory span is about 5 minutes. But as any cat owner knows, felines are more selective, and remember what they think is useful to them.
Short term memory for a dog is about 2 minutes, cats remember much longer, up to 16 hours. Long term memory is harder to determine. We know dogs have a long term memory because they can remember hand signals and words for their lifetime. Cats have an excellent memory when it comes to remembering people they have a strong bond with. On the other hand, if a cat has been mistreated by a human, she will remember. If you have an adopted shelter cat who avoids men, young boys wearing hats, or women who wear a lot of makeup, it's likely your cat has a memory that triggered a response to avoid those people as a threat. That's why it can be difficult to earn an abused or neglected cat's trust.
When it comes to long term memory, what is amazing to me are the many stories of dogs and cats that became lost or were relocated, and walked thousands of miles to find their way back home. Sometimes it was not a person they had bonded with and missed, but another pet and for some, it was getting back to an area they were familiar with. Was it their memory of the person or place they loved that kept them going? Researchers think they understand a dog or cat's memory, but their science isn't exact and more studies need to be done. Of course, you know your dog remembers a whole lot of stuff longer than two minutes. Those memories, claims the study, are associative memories - a cat associating the cat carrier with the danger going to the vet, for example.
A cat's cerebral cortex contains about twice as many neurons as that of dogs. Cats have 300 million neurons, whereas dogs have about 160 million. In fact, cats have more nerve cells in the visual areas of their brain, a part of cerebral cortex, than humans and most other mammals.
The memory of dogs is more human-like than previously thought, allowing our furry pals to copy our actions, even after delays. Can dogs reminisce down memory lane like we do? Good question! Before we can answer that, we'll have to ask whether dogs have long term memory - that is, any information stored in the brain for more than a few minutes that can be recalled or referenced when it's needed later on. Dogs do not have our capability to make valued judgments, string ideas together, or recall incidents that happened even a few minutes before hand - DOGS LIVE IN THE PRESENT.
Dogs can't mentally "time travel" backward and forward. Humans can consciously and willfully think back to specific memories and anticipate events. Animals cannot.
Like humans and other animals, a dog's brain is being continually bombarded with information it receives from its senses - sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The brain has to make sense of all this information and decide what needs to be retained in its memory, and which can be forgotten. Yet as we ourselves know, the brain does not store ALL this information - it would be impossible! Instead, the brain uses "filter systems" so that the creature can differentiate what are important memories (particularly those where safety or rewarding events happen; or those that are threatening or unpleasant) that need to be stored for future use and those experiences and memories which can be discarded and forgotten. Because dogs brains are not as complex as our own, Nature has given them the capacity to make split-second decisions on what is important enough to retain in its memory, and what can be discarded and forgotten.
Episodic Memory Dogs live in the moment. They are not able to travel through time in their memories the same way humans do. Our memories of past events are called Episodic Memories. You may sit down and think - what did I do yesterday after I got home from work?, But your dog can't think back and say, "It's been two days since you took me to the dog park, I think I'm due for an outing!, Because dogs ca not conceptualize a "past" (episodic memories) or a "future" (theoretical situations based on past events), they are completely focused on the present moment.
So, if dogs don't experience time, how is it that they seem to "know" when certain things will happen, like walks and feedings? What we perceive as the dog "remembering" is often your dogs' natural rhythms moving him into different states of being. For instance, you feed your dog at the same time every day. When dinnertime comes and he goes to his bowl but it hasn't been filled, he comes to nudge and whimper. This isn't because he "remembered" that it's dinnertime, but that his internal clock's timer went off, so he expected food.
In defining episodic memory, Endel Tulving argued that it is unique to humans. Experience influences all animals. Most mammals and birds can build complex sets of knowledge or semantic memory. You and I also remember the experience of learning these complex sets of information. Dogs don't. It's fair to say that explicit memory is most highly developed in humans. Pets probably don't do much of the episodic or autobiographical parts. This means we don't think animals remember specific events or moments unless they are associated with something else.
Episodic remembering is mental time travel and depends on a few crucial cognitive capabilities. First, in order to experience episodic remembering, an individual must have a sense of self. Most non-human animals have a dramatically different experience of self than we do. For example, most animals (and young humans) fail to identify themselves in mirrors. If I look in a mirror and see that I have something stuck between my teeth, I try to correct the problem. In contrast, put a red dot on a child's forehead, put the child in front of a mirror, and watch what happens. Young children are more likely to reach for the baby in the mirror than for their own foreheads. Dogs treat the dog in the mirror as another dog; not as themselves. Most animals fail at the red dot mirror task. Because they lack episodic memory, they can't recall what occurred just before the present moment and constantly feel like they just woke up.
Spatial Memory Spatial memory is the ability to recall where things are located and how a location is arranged. For example, imagine you took your dog for a long walk and when you returned home, your spouse had rearranged all the furniture in the living room. If your dog walked into the living room and looked around inquisitively, then sniffed all the furniture, this indicates that she has a spatial memory of your living room and she noticed the changes your spouse made to this space. Your dog's ability to recognize that a room she knows has changed is evidence that she has long-term memory.
A self concept is not, however, enough to ensure episodic remembering. Mental time travel is the other critical cognitive capability. I understand that yesterday is different from today and that tomorrow will be different as well. We realize that when we remember, the mental experience is a disjointed slice of time. Thus episodic remembering is the combination of a self concept and mental time travel: recollecting the self in that other time period. Mental time travel also enables planning for the future. Dogs don't plan for particular future events although they have a general expectation of when dinner will appear.
Procedural Memory Your dog remembers his training, not because he can recall the specific instances when you told him to sit, lie down and stay, but because his brain develops connections that remain after the training. For example, if you're training your dog to shake, and you give him a treat every time he puts his paw in your hand, his brain makes the connection that giving his paw gets him food. Then, when you ask your dog for his paw later, these connected neurons fire, and he completes the task. Your dog obeys because his brain has wired itself to respond in the way that gets him what he wants a treat, not because he recalled a conscious memory and made a decision to follow the command. This kind of memory is called "procedural memory," and humans have it, too. It's what we use when we do routine things we no longer have to think about, like tying our shoes or brushing our teeth. Dogs may be predisposed to first observe humans, then encode and remember human actions if doing so is beneficial for them. The scientists suppose that dogs use their memory of human actions in their everyday life with humans, to learn about behaviors that may convey advantages or rewards and also to fine tune their behavior to that of the humans living with them.
Declarative Memory The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that the dogs have a mental representation of the human demonstration. In addition, the ability to imitate a novel action after a delay without previous practice suggests the presence of a specific type of long-term memory in dogs. This would be so-called declarative memory, which refers to memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts or knowledge.
The discovery, outlined in the latest issue of Animal Cognition, means that dogs possess what's known as "declarative memory," which refers to memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts or knowledge. Humans, of course, have this ability, as anyone playing a trivia game demonstrates. But it had never fully been scientifically proven in dogs before, although dog owners and canine aficionados have likely witnessed the skill first-hand for years.
Dog Time Concept In trying to understand dogs' concept of time, humans cannot help but reference their own concept of time. But that's tricky since humans have the unique ability to construct artificial measures of time such as the second, minute, and hour. This is mainly because humans use episodic memory in order to travel through time, recalling past events and looking forward to future ones. It's what many scientists believe makes humans unique.
But just because dogs don't perceive time in this way doesn't mean they are completely stuck in the moment, as a lot of the research on this subject would suggest. Dogs are capable of being trained based on past events and taught to anticipate future events based on past experiences. This argues in favor of a kind of canine version of episodic memory, according to researches.
The essential difference appears to be that humans can pinpoint when something happened in the past by relating it to other events. For example, we remember our wedding day as well as who attended, what songs were played, and the happiness we felt. Dogs, on the other hand, can only distinguish how much time has passed since an event has occurred - "My food bowl has been empty for six hours." Of course, they don't need only memory to tell them this, but a growling stomach says it all.
Separation Anxiety vs Time There is also research evidence for dogs' understanding of the concept of time based on changes in their behavior when left alone by their human companions for different lengths of time. Studies show that dogs display greater affection toward their owners if they've been separated for longer periods of time. As the amount of time away increases, so does the dogs' excitement. This will come as no surprise to dog owners; most canines get excited about the return of the master to the castle, especially after long absences. But this research is also important because it shows that dogs are capable of recognizing and responding to different spans of time.
For dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, the difference between one and five hours can mean the difference between mild agitation and a full-blown panic attack. Separation anxiety in dogs is often expressed as barking, howling, whining, chewing digging, pacing, scratching, and/or urinating and defecating in inappropriate places while an owner is away or upon his or her return.
DOG MEMORY vs RELATIONSHIP TO OWNER This material proudly presented by WWW.BENJAMINS.COM
In a questionnaire study we surveyed the owners of 113 companion dogs. Owners had to mark on a four-grade scale how long their dog remembered particular memory items (persons, other animals, events, objects). Additionally we collected descriptive data on the demographical characteristics of the dog and the keeping conditions.A principal component analysis on the memory items resulted in five components. From these, two were connected to people ('Family' and 'Intruders'), three other components contained individual items of memory of objects and events ('Going out', 'Playing' and 'Doing something'). Analyses of variance revealed that the dog-owner relationship, the keeping conditions, age and breed of the dog affect the dogs' memory as described by the owner.
The amount of time spent together or the education of the owner had no or minimal effect on these components. Our study showed that owners form stable opinions about their dogs' episodic memory capacity. Nevertheless, the results can be biased by such factors that affect either the owners' opinions about their dog-companions, or the dogs' access to particular stimuli, which can modify the formation of memory traces. In the future, these results can serve as a starting point for empirical testing of family dogs' memory.
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