Will My Dog Remember Me After A Month? A Year?

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Will my dog remember me after a month?
Will my dog remember me after a month?

…It’s time to turn your service dog puppy in for formal training A.K.A. “Service Dog College”. As you hand your leash over to his new trainer it flashes in your mind…will my dog remember me after a month? a year?

It’s one of the most difficult parts of puppy raising, but you’re a grizzled veteran of 11 puppies in training and it’s a happy time because your puppy is taking the next step in his journey to becoming a service dog…

That was me yesterday. I handed Charlie’s leash over to Sharon from Cascade Service Dogs, we took a few pictures, I told Charlie to do good, and I waved goodbye.

Sniff, sniff…

QUICK TIP: We like to keep something that reminds us of our puppy. If you’re a puppy raiser and sending your pup off to college then you might keep their pet tags and favorite collar (we pretty basic with our nylon buckle collar, but you can find some great custom collars on places like etsy) like we do and make sure to snap a few farewell photos with your smart phone.

Will My Dog Remember Me After A Month? A Year?

In my experience, the short answer: YES! Your dog will definitely remember you.

As I mentioned earlier after raising a puppy for 12-18 months, puppy raisers have to return their puppies to school for formal training.

Puppy raisers may not see their puppies again for 6-12 months, sometimes even longer.

These are my stories as a service dog puppy raiser and the long answer to: Will my dog remember me after a month? a year?

Charlie in his Cascade Service Dogs puppy jacket
Charlie in his Cascade Service Dogs puppy jacket

Will My Dog Remember Me After A Month?

STETSON’S STORY

Let’s start off with my first guide dog puppy, Stetson.

I picked up Stetson from Guide Dogs of America (GDA) as a 10 lb, 7 1/2 week old puppy.

One word describes him: ADORABLE!

Since day one Stetson was attached to my hip. We had adventures to Disneyland, train rides, Knott’s Berry Farm, movie theaters, shopping malls, you name it we did it.

When he turned 16 months old GDA called to let me know it was time for Stetson to start Guide Dog College.

Not every puppy in training makes it as a guide dog and after 2 months of formal training I got the call that Stetson was going to be career changed (the nice way of saying he was being dropped).

Would Stetson remember me after being away for 2 months? An emphatic YES!

I remember walking into kennel area waiting for the techs to bring Stetson out for our reunion.

They came out with three very similar looking black Labs, possibly two of Stetson’s siblings. One of the three charged towards me with unbridled enthusiasm and I knew Stetson didn’t forget me.

Will My Dog Remember Me After A Year?

DUBLIN’S STORY

Do you guys remember Dublin? He was my third puppy in training and my first guide dog graduate.

We documented a good chunk of Dublin’s journey to become a guide dog on our blog and YouTube Channel.

If you ever wondered if a puppy will remember you after 6 months or longer then check out the 2:30 mark in Dublin’s graduation video.

It was a special day. Dublin remembered me!

We’re lucky and get to visit Dublin once a year in Arizona when we play in AZ Memorial Day weekend hockey tournament.

And the answer to the question: Will my dog remember me after a year? Without a question Dublin always remembers me.

In fact I try to get sneaky sometimes when we go see Dublin.

After not seeing him for over a year we met up with his family at my hockey game, but instead of greeting him right away I stood about 20 feet away talking with a group of friends keeping a watchful eye on Dublin.

Meanwhile I see his ears perk up and his head spin around. He either heard my voice or caught my scent.

Immediately he went from the well behaved guide dog to an enthusiastic puppy again as he encouraged his partner to come say hi to his old puppy raiser.

Will My Dog Remember Me After A…

CHARLIE’S STORY

That brings us back to Charlie. His story is a little different then Stetson and Dublin’s.

Stetson and Dublin didn’t come to our home until they were 7-8 weeks old, but they both stayed with us for well over a year.

We helped Raven whelp Charlie who was puppy #8 in Raven’s second litter of Golden Retriever pups so we’ve had him since day 1.

We only had Charlie for 14 weeks before he moved on to Cascade Service Dogs. Now that’s a much shorter period of time then the 1+ year we had Stetson and Dublin.

Will my puppy, Charlie remember me?

Hopefully we’ll have the answer to that question in 2019.

Charlie, Service Dog Puppy In Training!
Charlie, Service Dog Puppy In Training!

Will My Dog Remember Me

Every situation is different so I can’t attest for the memory and reaction of every dog just my own experiences.

If you look up “dog reunion” on YouTube you’ll see some different reactions from dog’s seeing their human’s weeks, months, years, later.

If you have a moment take a look at these heartfelt videos:

Maybe we’ll do a reunion video with Charlie or even with Archer who we haven’t seen in over a year.

I hope Charlie and Archer’s reactions are as priceless as the dogs in the videos above

So what about you guys?

Have you ever had to leave your dog for an extended period of time?

Did your dog remember you?

What was his reaction when he saw you for the first time in months/years?

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: When we send off our puppies we also like to put together a little care package for them (does this remind you of college at all). Here are a few items we include in our pup’s college package:

  • Favorite Dog Toy – Every puppy is different…
  • Favorite Chew – Always a favorite among our Labs and Goldens…
  • Favorite Blanket – First we wash the blanket then we rub it on our dog’s (Stetson, Raven, and Linus) before sending it off.

That’s all folks!

Tell us your story in the comment section below.

We’ll report back with Charlie and hopefully Archer’s reaction in 2019.

Will my dog remember me after a month? a year? Will my dog miss me? These are questions I ask every time I turn in another service dog puppy to start his advanced training. A dozen times and counting not including the litters of puppies and fosters. The answer is always the same…#willmydogrememberme #willmydogmissme #servicedogintraining #sdit #puppyintraining #guidedogpuppy #servicedogpuppy
Will my dog remember me after a year?

Top Picks For Our Puppies

  1. BEST PUPPY TOY
    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
  2. BEST DOG CHEW
    We Like: Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
  3. BEST DOG TREATS
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
  4. BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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19 Comments

  1. Will my puppy of 5 month old remember me after 4 months please reply me as fast as possible pls.

    1. Charlie was only 14 weeks old when he moved on to service dog school. We saw him again when he was 1 1/2 years old and he still remembered us. We only had Bodhi until he was 8 weeks old and when we saw him again when he was 9 months old he remembered us. Of course the longer you have a dog the stronger the bond, but I think most dog’s remember their owners.

  2. I am feeling very scared that my 11 month old doberman won’t remember me. My visa did not get approved for the country we lived in and I had to leave suddenly. Unfortunately with Australia he can’t come for 6 months and I am so scared he won’t recognize me.

    He was my Velcro dog and we did absolutely everything together and now it’s 187 days until I’ll see him again 💔

    1. I’m sorry you got separated from your dog. I didn’t see Archer for 1 1/2 years and he absolutely remembered me when I saw him again. I only see Dublin once a year and he gets so excited when he see’s me even though he’s supposed to be working as a guide dog. I’m sure your dog will remember you when he see’s you again. I hope you get to see him again soon.

  3. Well, I was looking for something to help me with the ‘blues’ I am feeling over boarding our 15 month old AussieDoodle for four weeks for training. I have had dogs most of my life, but this dog was the first in 20 years. She is a ‘velcro’ dog, especially with me…if I take a step, she normally will take a step…working out upstairs, she stays up there while I am exercising. She goes with me to the recycle center, or picking up something to eat, etc. She sleeps right outside our door, or gets up in the bed to sleep with us at times. She is very timid and fearful, which is one of the areas we are hoping to improve with her training. I think I am thinking in human terms, which dogs do not do on a deep level. I think sometimes I feel it is my job to protect her when she gets fearful, but the trainer (25 years, thousands of pets trained…retired K9 handler as well) says I am likely reinforcing those behaviors, because I am treating her more like a child than a dog. I realize on an intelligence level, he is right, but my heart is not in the same place.

    1. Your AussieDoodle sounds a lot like my Linus. He was an Aussie mix and always wanted to be by my side. One thing I did with Linus that was very helpful was I got him used to staying with my parents and one of my close friends. He was comfortable staying at those two places when we had to go away.

      I know what your feeling as you said I know he’s a dog, but he really was like my child/best buddy.

  4. Thank you so much for writing this post – it is making me feel soooo much better! We are about to go to Hawaii for a few months and have to leave our furbaby at home on the mainland. I have had so many sleepless nights worrying if she will be excited to see me when we are reunited or if she will move on and want to stay at her foster mom’s house. This post is definitely helping ease my fears, so thank you!

  5. No way that your dog will forget you because you trained your dog well and suddenly he might forget you by just without seeing you after a month. However it depends on the breeds of the dogs because they have different intelligence.

    1. I haven’t seen Archer in over a year. I’m hoping to visit him this fall and I’m pretty sure he’ll remember me. We only had Charlie for his first 4 months, but I’ve heard that even after a short period of time puppies still remember. We’ll see. I’m hoping to visit him in the fall also.

  6. One of my dog remembered me after 4 months being away but the other one seems to forget who I am. They are different breeds but almost the same age so I think the breed matters.

    1. That’s interesting. Most of the dogs we work with are Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. I have a few that I haven’t seen in several years: Derby (Lab), Apache (Golden), Adelle (Lab), Archer (Lab), Buster (Golden) and now Charlie (Golden). When our dogs become service dogs and are matched with their new users we give them privacy. It’s up to them whether or not they want to keep in touch with us. At this time I don’t think we’ll ever get to see Derby or Apache again, but I’m keeping my hopes up that we’ll see Adelle, Archer, Buster, and Charlie again. Archer’s family would still like to meet us we just have to plan a trip to Seattle sometime.

  7. Frankly speaking no such personal experience. And also to get any experience, does not want to take any scared decision to stay away from my Steffi a 6 yr old dog.

    1. My dog Linus always remembers me. Even when I’m gone just for a few hours and he stays home with my wife she says he waits for me at the front door. I couldn’t imagine Linus would ever forget me.

  8. awww…..that’s so sad. I think Charlie will remember you. I remember Dublin hearing my voice on one of your scavenger hunts in Fashion Island. As soon as he heard my voice he became so excited. I never thought he’d remember me!

    1. I remember that outing. That was a lot of fun. It’s been over 6 years since you last saw Dublin at his graduation. I wonder if he’d still remember you. I’ll let you know next time he visits Orange County and maybe we can test his memory. I’m sure he’ll still remember you. 🙂

  9. I always hope my dog remembers me after I leave them at the vet (or at least isn’t mad at me anymore). I can’t imagine not seeing “my” dog for months or a year! I can’t wait to see Archer’s reaction (and yours) when you guys are able to see him again! And Charlie’s!

    1. I’ve heard that dogs can sometimes give the cold shoulder after visits to the vet, boarding or grooming. I remember when I took Linus in to get neutered when I picked him up he didn’t give me the cold shoulder instead he just looked relieved to see that I was picking him up.

  10. Colby,I had gotten in touch with you last year when we had suddenly lost our beloved yellow lab,Nicki. You helped me with your concern. I wasn’t sure we would get a puppy again since my husband and I are older and I wasn’t sure if we could handle puppy training again. I thought we might need an older dog.I am happy to report we did get a puppy, and she is now 10 months old. It has been a challenge, but worth it. I love getting your emails and enjoy reading them.
    The martingale collar and harness you recommended are great. Thank you for your support and I look forward to continuing reading your stories.
    Her name is Charlie, a.k.a. Charlotte. Yellow lab.

    1. I’m glad everything is working out for you, your husband and Charlie and thank you for sharing your story. I love hearing back from my readers. Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything you’d like to read in a future blog post.

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