Do Dogs Forget Their Owners? In 3 Days, 6 Months or 10 Years?

Do Dogs Forget Their Owners? In 3 Days, 6 Months or 10 Years?

Animals do not have as well-developed minds as humans, but dogs are often considered animals with impressive memories. Even though their brains function differently from human beings, they still can recall people and incidents they have strongly associated with.

Let’s assume, for some reason, that you had to stay away from your pet dog for a while, and you return them afterward. This will surely make you question whether your pet dog still remembers you.

We believe that dogs have good memories; however, since their brains function differently than ours, is there any chance they will forget you after some time? This article will provide answers to this concern.

Do dogs forget their owners? There is no precise way to answer this question. Still, most of the time, dogs do not forget their owners, but there can be a few exceptions too. Dogs have potent senses, making recognizing and remembering people easy. Even though an owner and a dog get separated for some time, even if it is a couple of days or even years, the dog would still remember the owner thanks to their strong sight and sense. However, this might not be the case all the time. This is not common among dogs, yet they can be vulnerable to mental health conditions such as dementia which make them forget about their owners.

Dogs do not have a solid short-term memory, but their long-term memory is pretty strong. Unless they go through specific concerns such as medical conditions or traumatic experiences, a dog has minimal chances of forgetting its owner.

If you want to thorough your understanding of this topic, keep reading. 

Do dogs forget their owners?

Regardless of how long you and your dog has been separated, a dog will never forget their owners.

As mentioned earlier, dogs do not have a solid short-term memory, but their long-term memory is impressive; therefore, things that emotionally attach to them will stay in their memory pretty much for the rest of their lives.

Perhaps you might think your dog will forget you if you were not present around them for a while, but you aren’t necessarily correct. Most of the time, even after a long absence, dogs are less likely to forget their owners. So let’s see how this happens. 

Is the sight or smell that matters most when a dog recognizes their owners? They both significantly matter; still, their sense of smell is what helps the most to acknowledge the owner.

According to experts, while humans have 6 million olfactory receptors in their noses, dogs have 300 million, meaning dogs can smell things 40 times better than us. Imagine how strong they can detect scents.

It doesn’t take much time for dogs and humans to bond. The first encounter between a dog and its owner is significant because that is when the relationship begins.

The closer you stay to your canine, the fonder they get with you, and in a brief period, they get very familiar with the owner. Their exceptional ability to sense smells will help them quickly recognize the owners even though they’ve been apart for a while.

This does not mean vision has nothing to do with identifying the owner. Vision certainly helps them to remember the owner; nonetheless, sense of smell is the most prominent factor why dogs do not easily forget their owners. 

Will my dog ever forget me?

If you have to stay away from the dog for a long time, you might have bothered thinking if that will make your dog forget you. We love our pet dogs, so it is not unusual to feel such guilt. However, the good news is it is infrequent that a dog forgets their owner. 

Even though this is rare, we also have to remember that we cannot predict anything precisely. Dogs are living beings, so they also could go through health complications that might lead them to forget you, especially mental illnesses.

As dogs grow old, they become vulnerable to health issues. Not all dogs face the same problem, but some could face challenges that harm their senses; under such circumstances, there is a possibility that your dog might forget you.

You might have heard of mental disorders such as dementia; it has been scientifically proven that dogs also could get affected by such cognitive dysfunctions.

Studies have shown that this can be at least found in 14-35 percent of old dogs. If your dog is experiencing such a concern, it might forget you.

I’m stressing again not all dogs forget owners as they age. Healthy dogs remember their owners no matter how old they are. 

Do dogs forget their owners after three days?

When we have a pet dog at home, we try our best to spend as much time possible with them. Whether we like it or not, there could be times when we have to maintain some distance from the dog.

People get occupied with different things. You may be out of the house for work, on vacation, or sick, and that makes you stay away from the dog for a few days.

In such a situation, will your dog forget you? A dog can’t forget their master just because they were not around for three days.

As already mentioned, dogs have an impressive long-term memory, so if you have to stay away from your dog for a couple of days, you should not worry whether they will forget you because that will not likely happen. 

Will my dog forget me after six months?

Now you know that not being around your dog for two to three days won’t change their memory in you.

What if you have to leave them for a longer period, like six months? Dogs are emotional creatures; hence they build a strong bond with people close to them, especially their owners.

Suppose you had to leave your pet dog for several months; how does this impact the dog? How would they react, and would they forget you eventually?

Being separated from the owners could impact dogs in different ways. While some dogs learn to cope, most would go through separation anxiety.

However, that does not mean the dog will forget you eventually. The more you get distant from the dog, the more they will miss you.

So if you return to the dog after a considerably long time, they would still run to you instantly filled with excitement because they will always have a soft spot for the owners.

The strong senses aid them in recognizing the owner even after a long duration.

How long does it take for a dog to forget a person?

As discussed so far, the possibility of a dog forgetting its owner is extremely low on a scale of one to ten.

Although they’ve been apart from the owners for a considerable period, they would still remember the owner thanks to their impressive long-term memory.

Still, under specific circumstances, they might forget the owners too, which isn’t common yet not entirely impossible.

If you feel guilty about having to stay away from your dog for a while and if that makes them forget you, it is not something to worry about. Unless the dog has specific medical concerns, it will never forget you.

Perhaps you had to stay away from them for a few days, weeks, months, or years; they will still recognize you. 

Will my dog remember me after five or ten years?

Scientifically speaking, dogs do not have a strong short-term memory, but the things they emotionally get attached to will nestle in their mind throughout their life.

The love and connection towards the owner is something like that. No dog owner would intend to have a pet and leave them for a long time, but such occurrences could happen.

The fascinating thing is even though you were absent around your beloved pet dog for five to ten years, as long as the dog is in better health, they will remember you. 

Final thoughts about do dogs forget their owners

If you have a pet dog at home, it would be the first to welcome you home after a long day. Dogs create a strong bond with their owners quickly and develop over time.

Dogs primarily count on associative memory. Studies have shown that dogs’ short-term memory is frail; nevertheless, they have a powerful vision and sensing abilities helping them to have an excellent long-term memory.

Therefore a dog will not forget their owners though they’ve been apart for a considerable time. You might doubt that your absence will eventually make your dog forget you, but the truth is the more they miss you, the more they get attached to you.

So no matter how long you’ve been distant, your dog will recognize you in a minute. As mentioned, there are a few situations where a dog may forget its owner, but this is not something that always happens.

So if you ever wonder whether dogs forget their owners, the most straightforward answer would be no. Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your pet friend.


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

    [email protected]

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