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    1. #1
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      Do dogs 'recognize' their family members?

      Random conversation with the DH last night:

      Do dogs "recognize" their parents or siblings? I have always wondered if dogs recognize their mom, dad or siblings? I suppose it matters at what age they were adopted?

    2. #2
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      Not sure if they recognize them as such or as if they just recognize them.

      So take for instance, Hemi has a friend who is an Ausie. Hemi treats him the same way Hemi treats his sister. I do not notice any difference in Hemi's personality in playing with his sister vs his other friend. One thing though I do find interesting is the genetic similarity in play style, happiness, body language between Hemi and his sister. Where the other dogs have a completely different body language, sometimes hard to read maybe by Hemi.

      Kind of like your Sig pic. That's a beautiful, happy healthy lab we all recognize on this forum. Most labs recognize this in themselves. However, other dogs of other breeds express things differently. Any example of this is in agility practice. Hemi can watch another dog run. If the dog picks up a cone, meh, no big deal, Hemi will often give me a look like Dad did you see what that dog did, that's naughty. However, if another lab picks up a cone, doesn't matter what lab, there is often a little dance and a hah I got the cone, well that's now the best cone ever, and it must be a toy, he has my attention and I think I will grab that cone next time I am out there.

      Now on the flip side of things. I know that they have amazing memories. I have seen Hemi recognize places he has not been to in 2 years. I know from Dog Scout camp all dogs remember it one year apart. He knows exactly where he is and the routine he did the last time he was there. So they have great memories. Hemi has never seen him mom, so I am not sure if he would recognize her scent in some way. Surely not visually as the eyes at 8 weeks are still developing and he had such a different perspective, but scent may be stored deep down somewhere inside the brain.

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    4. #3
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      DH's co-worker adopted another dog from Kimber's litter, so when we first got them, they would play together about once a week. That lasted a couple of months; I don't think Kimber had a playdate with Sebastian after they were 5 months old. Years later, we happened to run into Sebastian and his owner in a park, and Kimber and Sebastian showed no recognition or even interest; the owners had a large female husky that Kimber wanted to check out, and Sebastian just hung back.

      OTOH, from 5 months to 2 years old, Kimber went to a local dog park daily. There were lots of regulars, including a pair of standard-sized poodles whom she adored. When she was 7 years old, we were walking on a trail when Kimber suddenly began whimpering and pulling towards a woman with dogs about 200 feet away, in the parking lot. It was the dog park poodles! Kimber hadn't seen them in 5 years, but the recognition was not just instant, but from a distance.
      Stormageddon, Princess of Darkness, aka "Stormy"
      Birthday 9-13-18, Gotcha Day 11-11-18
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    5. #4
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      I don't know if they recognize the relationship of dad, mom, siblings, but I do believe they can recognize other dogs from their past. This weekend my 7 month old puppy saw his litter sister for the first time since they were separated at 8 weeks. They definitely recognized each other, and were over the moon to play again, but I don't know if in his mind he was saying, "Yes! My sister!" or if it was more like, "OMG! I know you! Hi!!!"

      He saw his breeder for the first time since he left at 8 weeks a few weeks ago and he recognized her for sure. They know smells and voices.

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    7. #5
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      As Jeff and Dxboon mentioned smell, scent is the strongest of memory retrieval senses. Think for yourself some of the smells of foods, brings back vivid imagery of your childhood.
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      CRACKER-My Heart Dog FOREVER 6/10/2005-7/9/2011

      Mike and Gabe--GOTCHA 7/25/2011

    8. #6
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      No.

    9. #7
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      Years ago when I was living in the UK, I helped very good friends find and adopt a Lab named Chevy. We spent a lot of time together, Chevy, my girl Ella and my boy Clancy, walking through the countryside and woodland surrounding RAF Little Rissington. Our friends moved back to the US about a year before we did. 4 or 5 years pass and my friend separated from the AF and moved back to his home in Colorado. Since we were stationed in New Mexico we'd go up and visit a couple times a year. The first time we visited we went to visit my friends parents who now had Chevy. It had been about 6 years since we had seen him, and he was now about 11 years old. When we walked in the house Chevy was laying on the couch and he looked at me, he was close enough that he could also smell me. After maybe 20-30 seconds Chevy's tail starts thumping like mad, he climbs off the couch and comes to me and leans into my legs, all happy and smiling. There was no doubt in my mind that he remembered me, and all the time we spent together.

      I can tell you this, there were tears in my eyes that day, just like now as I remember that sweet boy.

    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post
      I don't know if they recognize the relationship of dad, mom, siblings, but I do believe they can recognize other dogs from their past. This weekend my 7 month old puppy saw his litter sister for the first time since they were separated at 8 weeks. They definitely recognized each other, and were over the moon to play again, but I don't know if in his mind he was saying, "Yes! My sister!" or if it was more like, "OMG! I know you! Hi!!!"

      He saw his breeder for the first time since he left at 8 weeks a few weeks ago and he recognized her for sure. They know smells and voices.
      I think I have had similar experiences. Linus has bumped into his siblings several times. He also met his dad. Sam has seen his breeder a handful of times and was super excited.

    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      I think I have had similar experiences. Linus has bumped into his siblings several times. He also met his dad. Sam has seen his breeder a handful of times and was super excited.
      I am never surprised when the puppies recognize and get really excited to see their breeders. A good breeder does so much with the puppies from the whelping box until the day they leave, so the puppies are imprinted on them. Also, much like human children, early puppyhood experiences are likely very strong. One of my breeder friends raised a litter of 11 with her Pug, and even today when we are at an event and the now 3-year old adult Labradors see the Pug they completely drop to the ground and submit to him; posturing their 80+ lb. selves on the ground and kissing/licking the little Pug's chin, while he lords over them. It's hysterical to see. I remember going to the litter eval and the Pug was the boss of all the puppies at that time -- herding them around, keeping them in line. Even though the puppies now outweigh him ten times over there's no doubt that the Pug is still their boss, and the Labs from that litter adore him!

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post
      I don't know if they recognize the relationship of dad, mom, siblings, but I do believe they can recognize other dogs from their past. This weekend my 7 month old puppy saw his litter sister for the first time since they were separated at 8 weeks. They definitely recognized each other, and were over the moon to play again, but I don't know if in his mind he was saying, "Yes! My sister!" or if it was more like, "OMG! I know you! Hi!!!"

      He saw his breeder for the first time since he left at 8 weeks a few weeks ago and he recognized her for sure. They know smells and voices.
      Yup. Same with B. He knew right away and went barreling into them.
      Charlie and Burton


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