Do Dogs Remember People? For How Long?

Dogs are the best and most gifted creatures. They are popular for loving unconditionally and being loyal to their owners. But the main question is how long does it take for a dog to forget a person?

Dogs will always greet their owner with the same enthusiasm and affection every time. There is no doubt that they remember the scent of their owner and their voice for a long time.

But understanding their memory span will help you to know exactly how long your dog can remember you or how long they take to forget someone.

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Forget A Person?

Do dogs remember people?

A dog can remember the scent of someone for his entire life if the association with that person was very friendly or very not so friendly. The association remains stored in the dog’s brain related to how that person made the dog feel. Your dog may remember any specific event associated with any particular gesture, voice, movement or smell with the emotion.

But that’s not quite the whole story. There is a whole lot more to the memory of a dog. Keep reading to learn the impact of short-term and long-term memory in a dog. You might be surprised by what you find.

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  • Dogs have a great memory span and can remember people’s scents and emotions associated with them for their entire life.
  • Dogs have both short-term and long-term memory.
  • Short-term memory only lasts for 10 to 20 seconds, and dogs tend to forget events quickly.
  • Long-term memory is based on the association with a person, their voice, movement, or smell, and how that person made the dog feel.
  • Dogs rely on their sense of smell and sight to discern their owners and can remember scents forever.
  • Dogs do not forget their owners even after years of separation and can suffer from separation anxiety when their owners are away for a long time.
  • Dogs display more affection and love towards their owners when they are separated for a longer period of time.

What Is The Memory Span Of A Dog?

What is the memory span of a dog? You must have noticed that even after a long hospital stay or a vacation, your dog will still remember you. This can make you wonder about the memory power of your dog. Dogs generally have both long and short-term memories.

Do Dogs Remember People? For How Long? 1

How Does A Dogs Short-Term Memory Work?

The short-term memory of dogs allows them to remember certain events. These events will be forgotten by your dogs after 10 to 20 seconds. For example, if you find your shoes chewed up after you come back from a vacation, there is no point scolding your dog.

This is because they do not even remember what they have done. Dogs always live in present. They do not think about the past because most of the time, they cannot even remember it.

Do Dogs Have Long-Term Memory Like Humans?

On the other hand, dogs do not have a long-term memory like that of the humans?

Humans can remember many events or even specific events even after a long period of time. This type of memory is called associative memory.

But if your dog is loved by someone very much or if someone gave a lot of attention to your dog, then they will remember that feeling that they felt when they see or smell that person again. For this, you have to be quite friendly with the dog.

If you are worried about how long does it take for a dog to forget a person, then you must know that dogs rely on their nose and eyes for discerning their owners.

From the first day a puppy smells a person, they’re imprenting on humans’ scents. Human faces, tones of voice, and the way a person touches and interact with a dog stand out in the dog’s memory as well.

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Forget A Person?

How Long Do Dogs Remember A Scent?

So, how long does a dog remember a scent? Forever! A dog can remember the scent of someone for his entire life if the association with that person was friendly or not so friendly. The association remains stored in the dog’s brain related to how that person made the dog feel. Your dog may remember any specific event associated with any particular gesture, voice, movement or smell with the emotion.

One of the biggest instances of dog’s memory of scent is even when you return home after a year or more the dog will recognize you from far by your scent. There’s nothing like having your furry friend greet you and other familiar humans to make you know you’re imprinted in your dog’s brain. Dogs recognize individual voices and know when their favorite people are there.

There are many examples where a person is even greeted by their dogs even after they return back after several years. This is the sheer example of how they can remember a person’s movement, voice or scent associated with their emotions with him/her. Maybe that is the reason, dogs are termed as man’s true best friend.

This is backed by science and evidence. According to a report by, the dogs possess about 300 million olfactory receptors inside their nose whereas humans have only 6 million. Also, a part of your dog’s brain is completely devoted to analyzing the smell which is about 40 times greater than that of the human’s.

Since dogs have olfactory memory, they can remember the scent when they are exposed to you often. Even if your face changes due to any reason, your dog will be able to remember you with your scent.

Do Dogs Remember People? For How Long? 2

Do Dogs Forget Their Owners After Two Weeks?

For some reason, the question, Do dogs forget their owners after two weeks gets asked a whole lot online for some reason. As a result, let’s answer the question. NO! A Dog does NOT forget their owner after two weeks!

There is no way that the dogs can ever forget their owners, not even after years. Their amazing smelling power and facial recognition helps to remember their owners as soon as they see them. They do not have any knowledge of time. So, even if they are separated for several years, dogs will never forget their owner with whom the dog has associated in a friendly way.

There are studies that have proven that dogs display more affection and love towards their owners when they are separated for a longer period of time. Thus, even if you give your dog for adaptation, the dogs will still remember you.

In fact, the dogs who are separated from their previous owners or the owners have gone away for several years due to any reason, the dogs suffer from separation anxiety.

You can ask your caretaker or other family members about this. You will see how the dogs feel so happy or relieved after seeing their owners after a long time. No dogs can forger their owners ever. That is how the dog’s memory span works.

So, forgetting the owner in just 2 weeks is not possible. In case of relocating your dog to another home, it can be painful for dogs. Read on the next section to know more about this and what you can do regarding this.

How Traumatic Is It For A Dog To Change Owners?

We all hope that all the dogs find a home where they can stay forever right away. But that is not the case always as the situation of the person may change or they may realize that their situation is not ideal for adopting the dog. So, many owners wish to find a better place for their pet dogs.

It is a very emotional situation for the owners as well as for the pet dogs. But the impact on the pups is in fact more. The reaction of the dog to change owners depends on several factors. This can depend on how old your dog is and what the previous living situation was.

Generally, relocating your dog to a new home under a new owner is a traumatizing and stressful experience for the dogs. They can go through anxiety as well as depression, especially if they are coming from a home where they were really happy. They will miss the old owner a lot and this sadness can increase with every passing day.

But if the dogs come to a new place from a home where they were neglected and abused, they will need some time to adjust. But with love, affection, and care they will be able to adapt with the new owner.

They may exhibit some signs of aggression and fear at first because of their memories related to past abuses and negligence.

How Long Do Dogs Take To Get Used To Their New Owners?

This entirely depends on the age of the dog and the history. If the age is just 2 to 4 months, then the transition can be quite quick. Puppies who are aged 12 weeks older or younger than that can bond very easily and instantly. As they grow older, the dogs come from a healthy and stable home with lots of memories about their previous owners. Thus, it takes time to bond or to build trust.

According to an expert, if the dog is happy and adjusting well with the new home, then a visit from the previous owner is not a bad idea. but if your dog is not struggling to adjust with the new home and often gets anxious, then it is better to keep a distance from the previous owner. This can make them even more devastated which will make it difficult for them to adjust to the new home.

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Forget A Person?

How Long Will Your Dog Remember Another Dog?

There is no strong evidence or studies to prove the exact duration of a dog remembering another dog. But dogs are generally happy and easy going creatures. They can meet several dogs while walking in the park.

But dogs will not remember everyone unless and until they stop by and give each other a good sniff. Since their sense of smell is stronger than humans, they use this to identify each other. Once they sniff each other spend some time playing with each other, they will remember even if they meet after weeks.

You will generally see they will jump or react happy after sniffing each other after several weeks. This is because they will be able to identify their friend.

This doesn’t mean they will remember everything that they did. But the smell will help them to identify that they know the dog. Most of the time remembering their friends comes from their own memory. So, you cannot do much about this.

But you can allow your dog to hang out with their furry friends so that they can build a friendly and amazing relationship with other dogs. This can help them remember their friends forever.

Types of Dog Memory

  • Strong positive association: Dogs have a remarkable ability to form strong positive associative memories with people, places, objects, and events. This means that when a dog experiences something pleasurable or rewarding, it is likely to remember that experience for a long time. For example, if a dog enjoys playing fetch with its owner, it will associate the owner with the positive experience and will remember the owner as someone who brings joy and fun.
  • Negative experience: Similarly, dogs can form strong negative associations with people, places, objects, and events. When a dog has a negative experience, such as being punished or frightened, it is likely to remember that experience for a long time as well. This can lead to fear and anxiety in certain situations and can affect a dog’s behavior in the future.
  • Recognize people: Dogs have the ability to recognize people, even after a long period of time has passed. This is because they have an excellent sense of smell and can remember the scent of people they have met before. Additionally, dogs can recognize people based on their appearance, voice, and body language.
  • Specific events: Dogs have the ability to remember specific events, such as going for a walk or playing in the park. This is due to their strong associative memory, which allows them to link certain events with specific outcomes. For example, if a dog associates going for a walk with getting a treat, it will remember the experience and look forward to going for walks in the future.
  • Short term memory: Dogs have a relatively short-term memory, which means that they can forget things quickly. This is why it’s important to reinforce positive behaviors and training frequently, so that the dog can remember what is expected of them.
  • Associative memories: Dogs have a strong associative memory, which means that they can remember things based on the associations they form. For example, if a dog associates a certain smell with food, it will remember that smell and start salivating in anticipation of food.
  • Episodic memory: Dogs also have a form of episodic memory, which means that they can remember specific events and details about those events. For example, a dog may remember where it buried a bone or where it found a particularly interesting scent. However, the extent to which dogs have episodic memory is still debated among researchers.


So, you now know everything about dogs memory span and how long does it take for a dog to forget a person or remember a person. With the strong sense of smell or sight, it becomes quite easier for them to remember a person with who they are associated with. It can be of any emotion.

But they have short-term memory when it comes to certain events or incidents. Thus, the dogs are termed as the most affectionate, loyal and faithful creatures on earth.

Related Content You May Find Interesting

Here are some more articles that may be of interest to you if you love a dog.

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Do Dogs Dream Like Humans?

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What Is The Memory Span Of A Dog?

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