Recent science is pointing to Dog's having memories especially when the memory is linked to emotion, further indicating the complexities of their mind.
"...They not only remember...what they have done ...but also what their owner did. For example, they may watch the owner cut the roses in the garden one day, and then when they see those flowers again, this memory could pop up in their mind. This could happen without showing any change in behavior, because this is just a spontaneous 'thought,' although in some other cases such thoughts may actually become causes of (spontaneous) behaviour." - Excerpt from Marc Berkoff, Phd, Dogs Remember More Than You Think
Around this time of year and 25 Days into our Canine Christmas Countdown, mentally stimulating activities not only tires the dogs and calms him down, but you have created a memory of happiness around the activity. How do you find these mind-stimulating activities?
Well, recently we launched the Snuffle Mat in Canada. It is an activity where the dog uses a Mat filled with long layers of fabric, and the dog is required to find treats within folds of material, thus 'snuffling' through the mat. The first time you put it down, the dog is completely engaged using his nose and mind to find the treats, setting the stage for a great memory.
But what is equally important using the Snuffle Mat, is what happens 'after' they are done. The Snuffle Mat must be removed right away and placed out of reach. Why? Because the next time you bring it out, you will see their memory working and your dog will become excited remembering the joy they felt the first time, and how he enjoyed snuffling.
It becomes very powerful every time you bring it out, if you remember to remove it directly after it is completed. Consider the next time you want to redirect behaviour, like barking or just relieve boredom. The Snuffle Mat is an excellent ways to enrich your pet's life and create great Christmas memories.
'Sparky' Smith is a Canine Behaviorist and Practioner, educated through the International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour, earning her ISCP.DIP.CANINE.PRAC.