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It's About Time!



We know that dogs have a well developed sense of smell and hearing, but we are often told that they have no sense of time. Is this true? Surely they know when it’s time to eat, or go to bed.

Dogs live in the moment, so no regrets about the past and no worries about the future. (No wonder they’re so happy!) Yet they usually respond differently to us after being away for 3 days versus 8 hours. So they do feel some sense of time passing; but differently than we do so it’s difficult for us to understand.

If they know they get to go to the dog park when you get home from work at 6:00PM, do they know that if you get home at 7:00PM you are late? Dogs do have a circadian oscillator, or what some would call a biological or internal clock. Instead of sensing how much time is passing, dogs are likely reacting to a biological state they reach at a particular time of day, like fluctuations of hormones, body temperature and neural activity. See resource for more information on this.

I am sure that my dogs have a sense of time passing. Yes, it’s different from mine, but they still have to adjust to “daylight savings” and “standard time” just like I do. My dogs are still waiting at the door at 6:30AM for their 7:30AM walk. And’s not even light out yet.

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