Animal Update: How Much Do Pets Remember?

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Jeff Bell20100908_KCBS_0122r Jeff Bell
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(KCBS) – It’s an interesting topic many pet owners may not consider: do our pets have much in the way of a memory?

“It is fascinating,” said Jennifer Scarlett, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “You’ve probably heard the myth that dogs have no concept or perception or time. And until recently, it was thought that they, especially dogs, couldn’t remember detailed events, which doesn’t really match up with our experiences as dog guardians. But more and more, researchers are finding that they do remember very certain things.”

Of course, because our pets have no language skills, testing memories in animals is challenging.

“This is very difficult to test, cognitive and memory skills in animals,” acknowledged Scarlett.

But, she said, it can be done with dogs. Cats are a different story altogether.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to design a study that tests specific types of memories in cats, probably because we have a hard time training cats to begin with.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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