Do dogs have no sense of time?
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Thread: Do dogs have no sense of time?

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    Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Whenever I come home from work Spirit always greets me with a ton of excitement as if I've been gone for days. As a matter of fact it seems to happen if we separate for over an hour, like at the groomer. I don't fully understand the logic behind such a regular occurrence. After a year together it's not like I'm suddenly not going to come back, but that's something I'll figure out later.

    Last night I ran a quick errand and came back. It literally took only 16 minutes to go and come back. When I stepped in the door she gave me a greeting as if I'd been gone all day.

    Do dogs have a different sense of time than people?
    Last edited by pi1otguy; 12-16-2011 at 04:45 PM. Reason: typo

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    Pai
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    I've heard dogs don't have a concept of time, just an eternal 'Now'.

    "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~Roger Caras

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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    My dogs seem to be more excited and more hyper when we've been gone longer. If we are gone an hour, they meet us at the door, but that's about it. If we were at work, they are pretty excited to see us. If we go to dinner straight from work, they are super excited to see us!

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    Senior Member PackMomma's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    It's an interesting thought - i'm not sure but I really do believe my Shiba has some sort of "sense of time" or "biological clock". Since I've had him he's always had free reign of the house (and my old condo), and since I've changed careers and have a more stable "routine", he knows exactly what time me and my boyfriend get home. Most days when I'm home at my usual time I can see him sitting at the front door looking out the glass for me, as soon as my truck rolls up, I can see him doing his dance in the foyer, on days that I leave early and "surprise" him, he's always napping on his couch in the bonus room and I startle him. My boyfriend gets home later and enters the house via the back door, about 5 minutes before my boyfriend arrives home from work, Cash makes his way to the back door and sits there until my boyfriend comes home. He definitely has some sense of timing, unless its just a routine thing that he has nailed down

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    Senior Member Elliebell's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    I used to get home from school at about the same time every day and Neeka wouldn't even get off the sofa to come and see me. Since I've been at University, when I went home for thanksgiving after having not seen her for 2 months, she was definitely excited to see me. She does, however, seem to react the same whether someone is gone for 15 minutes or 2 hours.

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    I've also heard that dogs don't have a concept of time, but personally I believe they do. There is one theory that they don't actually know what time it is, they just recognise certain processes within their bodies that happen at different times of day, like when it's time to go for a walk, if you always walk them at the same time every day.

    But for dogs with SA, some of them are fine being left alone for 30 minutes, but will freak out if left alone for an hour. My own dogs are less excited when I come home if I've been gone an hour, and very excited if I've been gone all day. I think these things suggest that they have some concept of time, even if it's not as advanced as our own.

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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Dogs don't conceptualize time like we do, metering it out precisely, but they do have internal clocks. Excitement over seeing us, that's nothing to do with not having a sense of time, it's just about wanting to be with the pack.

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    1. I think dogs just are very happy to see us when we come back :-)
    2. On the other hand, lots of dogs know when it's time to get up and when its time to eat !

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    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Watching a show on Dogs and Cats on PBS's "Nature" about a week ago. One guy was describing a cartoon he'd seen. Human: "What time is it?" Dog:"NOW! Now! Now!" and a caption "Dogs always know what time it is.

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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Mine have some sense of when they thing I should be home. They are always excited when I'm home, a few nights a month they sit at the front door as to them I am 'late'. My schedule is endlessly variable, but they seem to wait at the door often around the rough time I should be arriving home or so my parents tell me. They can't make the dogs move from the door if they are holding vigil.
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Abe sits at the back door at 5pm every day waiting for my husband to come home.

    He will also sit by the leash rack at 1pm which is my lunch hour and when we walk.

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    Senior Member RoughCollie's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Teddy used to bark at the front door when it was time for the kids to go to the bus stop.
    When I drove them to and from school, he barked when it was time for us to leave in the morning, and made absolutely sure I left on time to retrieve the kids.

    Aidan makes sure we are waiting at the door when the school bus arrives in the afternoon. Three of my kids ride the bus. If fewer than three come home, he stops frequently in the middle of greeting everyone to crane his neck so he can see if the missing kid(s) are coming. Aidan's greetings are lengthy and super enthusiastic.

    So I figure Aidan can count and tell time. :-)

    I used to have a cat who woke me up exactly one minute before the alarm went off. It was a windup clock - maybe it made some little noise before it went off. It was pure luxury for 14 years not to be blasted awake by an alarm.
    Last edited by RoughCollie; 12-16-2011 at 06:46 PM.
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Casper knows when it's noon and 8pm, because those are the times he eats. If those times roll around and I haven't yet gotten his food, he sits and stares intently at me. If I ignore that, he yips once, continuing to stare. If I ignore that, he jumps up and bounces off my leg with his front paws and then goes back to sitting and staring intently. When the time changes in spring and fall, he does this routine exactly an hour later or earlier.

    My last dog could count. There were six of us living in my house when I was in junior high school, four kids and two adults. The dog (big malamute/collie) lived in our fenced backyard. When we'd all go off to work and school, he would apparently howl and annoy the mayor (city hall was next to my house). But if even one of us stayed home sick, even if we didn't leave the bed, he would be silent all day.
    Last edited by Crantastic; 12-16-2011 at 07:00 PM.

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    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    anybody familiar with Rupert Shelldrake's "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home"?

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    Senior Member Lamora's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    My Sadie has no sence of time at all! Doesnt matter if her daddy is gone for 3 days or 3 min, her "welcome home" is the same. We spent all day with her today, went to a park, walked around, played, she even went into the river they had. We came home and he went down stairs to get our kitty (was playing with his DB&DS at my daughters) and when he came back, she acted like he was gone all day! When I come home, I get a greeting, big time, but not like her daddy does. Mommy isnt for jumping on-- lol
    If dogs were put here to make people laugh, then my Sadie is doing her job!

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    Senior Member Abbylynn's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawzk9 View Post
    anybody familiar with Rupert Shelldrake's "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home"?
    I watched a program on one of the learning channels I believe, on a study that was done about this. They said that a dog can tell the minute you are getting into your vehicle or leaving a store, etc... miles from home and be waiting and watching for you? Was an interesting show.

    I however do not know if the study was by the same author you are speaking of.


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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Ok I swear I am not making this up. Mybig yella hound (a Black Mouth Cur) Dusty, recently deceased, had been waking us up a few minutes earlier each day for several days, until one day it was like 6am and the wife says, "your dog is getting us up way too early."

    I looked Dusty square in the eye and said, "Dog," (I think he liked it when I called him dog), "you're waking us up entirely too early. From now on, seven o'clock at the earliest. Understand?"

    Next morning, he was pounding the side of the bed with his big 'ol paw at 7:00 on the dot.


    (I might've shared this on another thread sometime in the past if so sorry for the repeat).

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Kit normally spends her days in a crate, which I let her out of when I arrive home. But I have housemates, and occasionally they'll let her out before I arrive. In this case, she plants herself on the back of the sofa near the window and watches every vehicle that passes, waiting for me. They say she usually jumps up there around 4:45, and I'm generally home around ~5ish. I think she has a sense of time, but she's probably judging based on how light it is outside.

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    Senior Member luv2byte's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Ours have some sense of time, just probably not time as in minutes. 4pm daily, Skyler sits in his window seat waiting for his person, my hubby. 8pm Chloe curls up next to me, sklyer makes a production out f heading to the bedroom for bedtime.

    As for time spans, mine act like wild kids if I go grab the mail & end of a work day they are crazy happy.
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    Senior Member RoughCollie's Avatar
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    Re: Do dogs have no sense of time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbylynn View Post
    IThey said that a dog can tell the minute you are getting into your vehicle or leaving a store, etc... miles from home and be waiting and watching for you?
    My husband comes home from work at variable times because he is self-employed. Teddy used to go to the front door 5 minutes before he arrived, and wait. Ted never made a mistake, and he did this every night. We figured he could hear the car's engine from way down the road. My husband's office was 1.5 miles from home.

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