Recently Chris watched a show discussing the intelligence of dogs. Unfortunately, I missed it. He did his best (in a guy sort of way) to fill me in on the interesting stuff (I bet it was all interesting!)
The part that he thought was the most amusing was a short-term memory test given to the dogs. It’s simple enough. They showed the evaluator in a room with a dog with a handful of treats. She showed the dog the treats, then proceeded to hide them while the dog watched. Under a couch, on top of a table…easy to find but somewhat hidden. She made sure the dog saw her place each cookie. Then she took the dog into another room and distracted it for 30 seconds by playing with the dog or practicing some basic commands. At the end of the 30 seconds she let the dog back into the room with the cookies.
The concept is that if the dog finds the cookies, he has a good short-term memory. The less he finds, the worse his memory. Well, Chris and I couldn’t resist testing our own two girls. They watched as I hid a couple of cookies in the living room, then we headed to the kitchen for 30 seconds of playtime.
Anxiously, I brought them back into the living room…hoping to prove that Elsa and Reesie are two very bright girls with amazing memories! Well…not quite. Upon entering the room, both girls began sniffing around…so they must’ve remembered that cookies were in there! Reese found one cookie, gobbled it up, and began sniffing some more while Elsa just sniffed. But it didn’t take long for both girls to lose interest and find better things to do.
One more try! I was sure that my girls must be able to remember after only 30 seconds where I hid the cookies! This time Reese sniffed briefly and then looked at me for further instruction. Elsa seemed more intent on finding something to eat and did manage to find one cookie, searched some more, then gave up.
So lesson learned…my girls don’t have good short-term memories! Apparently a short-term memory isn’t necessary to win obedience titles : ) Try it out, how’s your dog’s short-term memory??