Date: April 12th, 2011
Status: LuLu’s 7th Birthday
Info: Today I’m going to couple both blogs together with one event; LuLu’s 7th Birthday. Did she really know it was her birthday yesterday? Does she know what day of the week it is? Better yet – does she really care?
I’ve heard mixed reviews on a dog’s memory. Some dog owners can tell me with explicit detail that a dog has no concept of time while others have shared an opposing story. I know this much to be true … LuLu was pretty darned pleased with herself last night and the gift she received from our daughter Logan. More on that later. First I’ll give you the latest research news on how a dog does in fact perceive time.
Animal cognition researcher, William Roberts has made some conclusions regarding animal memories, anticipation and more. Roberts says our four legged friends are “stuck in time.” By this he means that, without the sophisticated abilities it takes to perceive time – like truly forming memories – our bundle of bulldog only lives in the present. Roberts continues to explain that animals are “stuck in time” because they cannot mentally time travel backward and forward. We two legged types consciously and willfully think back to specific memories and anticipate events. He says animals cannot.
We can train our canine cohabitants, right? Doesn’t this mean this training depends on the animals’ own memories?
Not necessarily – at least not in the way we usually think of memories. Animals might be trained to do things in the same way young children are trained to do things. According to studies on children, by the age of four, kids have learned lots of things – crawling, walking – but without the mental ability to remember where or how they learned them. In other words, they don’t have the power of episodic memory, or the ability to remember particular events in the past. A dog can know how to respond to the command “sit” without having a memory of the specific event in which it learned that command.
We’ve owned the Lu-dog since October and a few months back we were invited to a Bulldog Rescue parade showing off LuLu and others that were fortunate enough to be rescued into happy homes. LuLu became agitated, excited, and overall worn out during that event and we, the bulldog owners, believe that event caused LuLu to think she was being returned to where she came from. Previous blogs on Life With LuLu document, however untrained, reflect on how poorly she acted in the ride back from Sacramento and in the home for two or three days after that event. No memory? I don’t think so.
This blog is about a happier, a much happier bulldog today and she may not know when her birthday is – granted, but last night when we walked into the house with a big dish of vanilla ice cream from Fourth and Sea – it was GAME ON! The laughter we received while watching her trying to bury her snout into a large cup was priceless. What about the cone you ask? Oh, she even got part of the cone in her dish. She may not have known it before yesterday but if she could tell a tale – she’d be thankful Logan remembered her birthday on our drive home last night.
Everyone’s okay here – LuLu included.
Keep her (Bonnie) close you guys.