The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris) is a member of genus Canis (canines) that forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa, with modern wolves not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated. Since its domestication, the dog has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.
Their long association with humans has led to dogs being uniquely attuned to human behavior and are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet which would be inadequate for other canid species. Dogs are also the oldest domesticated animal. Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colours. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet, “man’s best friend”.
Dogs pay more attention to us than previously thought, with new research showing that they remember our actions and other events even when the occurrences didn’t hold any particular importance at the time they happened.
The discovery, reported in Current Biology, adds dogs to the short list of other animals — including rats, pigeons and primates — that are known to have what’s called “episodic memory.” This is opposed to “semantic memory,” which is a recollection of facts and rules that an individual knows without the need of remembering a specific event.
“So the difference between episodic and semantic memory can be thought of as the difference between remembering and knowing,” lead author Claudia Fugazza of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group in Budapest, Hungary, told Seeker.
People use episodic memory all of the time, she said. For example, if someone asks you, “What did you do first when you woke up this morning?” you could think back to that time, like rewinding video, and play the moment back in your head.