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Will Dogs Forget Their Owners? The Owners Said...

Real Stories About Whether Dogs Will Forget Their Owners


Searching the question ‘how long takes a dog to completely forget their owners’ on Quora, we are surprised to see so many owners say ‘No’ and even ‘Never’. For example, one teacher who has 7 lovely pups said: “Dogs never forget anyone that they formed an emotional attachment to.” Also, a dog rescuer believed that a puppy can’t ever forgets an owner, and she thinks dogs have feelings just like humans. We could feel strong emotions and love through their answers, at the same time they speak out their stories to support the answers.


A young boy who raised his pup Ammo for 4 years, but finally he give it to his friend because he moved away. After 8 years, He came back and visited his friend, Ammo recognized him when he called out “Come here Pup!”, which was what he usually called Ammo. The pooch was licking and whining and yelping to his past owner which showed that he did not forget the person who raised him for such a long period.

The lucky young boy said: “I guess a lot depends on the dog, and what type of life he's been through. In my case, Ammo hadn't forgotten me in 8 years. Judging from his reaction, I believe he would have remembered me had 15 years passed.”

In another case, one guy did an experiment using his 1-year-old puppy which proved that his dog could recognize after 3 months. The owner said: “She was all around me, it clearly showed she did miss me so badly.” 

One girl who lost his puppy for 2 years, but fortunately found his beloved one back. She said:“I don’t believe a dog forgets when they are loved. That’s a bond that lives forever.” 


However, there do have examples which show domestic dogs can’t remember their past owners. There is such a guy who adopted a dog, while his dog did not recognize its past owner and even tried to bite them when met again 4 years later.


Research On Dog Memory

missing dogs

From these real stories, we may conclude that pups can remember their owners from 1 month to 10 years which depended on different dogs and different situations. But is there any evidence from researchers? It is believed that the question ‘will the dogs forget their owners’ is related to episodic memory which means someone could remember an independent event which happened at particular times and places. From the study of Claudia Fugazza in 2016, it is clarified that even though the owners do not give instructions to the dogs, they still can remember their owner’s behavior. This study in some way proves that the dog could remember a specific person.

Does the dog have long term memory? Professor Stefano Ghirlanda who is focused on animal memory stated that many animals are good at long-term memory which includes dogs. And animals would form long-term memory on things or persons which are meaningful to them. This study is consistent with the opinion from the owner which mentioned at the beginning of the article: dogs will remember the person they had an emotional attachment and they loved.

What makes dog remember their owners? Rachelle Yankelevitz is a professor on animal behavior and he thinks dogs can remember a person’s movement, voice or scent associated with their good/bad feelings to he/she even in their entire lives.

Scent and sight are two important senses that make it possible for dogs to recognize someone when separated for many years. It is noted that dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And their ability for analyzing smells is much better than human beings. More surprisingly, the study indicates that dogs can recognize human faces, moreover, they know the difference between images of familiar people and strangers.



Depended on the real stories and scientific studies, we could roughly say that dogs can remember their owners and they have long-term memory to whom is meaningful to them. However, there still needs more researches to give stronger evidence to this question. In the movie <Hachi: A Dog’s Tale>, it is said “They taught me the meaning of loyalty that you should never forget anyone that you loved.” So from the view of the owner, we will always believe that our dogs and our best friends will never forget us as we are loved by each other.

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