WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins
WE PLANT THE "SEEDS OF IDEAS" IN DOG OWNERS MINDS - THESE IDEAS EVENTUALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF DOG BEHAVIOUR - Sally Hopkins

MEMORY

This part of the web site explains in layman's terms that a dog's memory and thought processes are very different to that of a human. Sadly this aspect of dog training is often overlooked and many owners and trainers expect dogs to understand what is happening around them as though they were humans rather than animals.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Each underlined web link gives fuller explanations of this flow chart -

 

An "event" is any experience that a dog's senses detect

 

SIGHT  SOUND  SMELL  TASTE  TOUCH

 

BRAIN ASSESSES EVENT
(Helped by Latent Learning)

 

WILL HELP DOG'S

SURVIVAL

 

EVERY DAY

OCCURRENCE

 

THREATENING

DOG'S SAFETY

                 
VERY
REWARDING
 
PLEASANT
 
NOT
IMPORTANT
 
UNPLEASANT
 
VERY
UNPLEASANT
 
     
 
     
 
SHORT-TERM
MEMORY
SHORT-TERM
MEMORY
           
REINFORCED
REINFORCED
   
 
Either FORGOTTEN
or it becomes a
 
 
     
THE EVENT HAPPENS AGAIN IN THE FUTURE.
         
THE DOG'S BRAIN MATCHES THE SENSES IT DETECTS IN THE
ENVIRONMENT WITH THAT OF THE "PHOTO"
         
TRIGGERS
DOG TO REPEAT
BEHAVIOUR
TRIGGERS
DOG TO IGNORE
EVENT
TRIGGERS
DOG TO REPEAT
BEHAVIOUR
 
 
© 2004 Copyright of Sally Hopkins - www.dog-games.co.uk

 

Examples of this flowchart can be found by clicking -
A dog sees a squirrel for the first time
or
Why dogs pull on a lead

 

To conclude, by understanding how a dog -

  • collects information
  • assesses the information
  • either retains it in its short-term or long-term memory
  • or forgets the incident entirely

you can begin to understand the best way to train dogs and help them overcome behavioural problems.

 

This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).

 

Dog-Games Copyright 2004 - 2015 All Rights Reserved