Do Dogs Lack Awareness Of The Passage Of Time?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by srdogtrainer, Mar 11, 2011.


Do you believe dogs lack awareness of the passage of time?

Yes 0 vote(s) 0.0%
No 8 vote(s) 100.0%
  1. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I’m reading the book “Kats on Dogs A commonsense Guide To Training and Living with Dogs.”
    I’m only on the second chapter, but so far the book is about choosing the right dog and what you need to think about before getting a dog.

    There are several stories enforcing the idea that you really should consider the commitment carefully before getting a dog. One story describes three beagles owned by a hunter. The author Jon Kats states that these “beagles (live) in a large kennel 360 days a year. They emerge for a few morning hours on the other five days to track game.” Kats goes on to say that he feels sorry for these dogs however, “dogs lack human awareness of the passage of time, (and) don’t know how long they go between hunts.”

    This is not the first time I have heard this! I was wondering if anyone knows what study/ies “prove” that dogs lack awareness of the passage of time? Where did this idea come from?

    Feel free to add any other input. Do you believe dogs lack awareness of the passage of time? Do you have any particular instances that “prove/disprove” this concept?

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    I'm not quite sure I understand the poll, I think dogs know what time of the day it is. :) But I don't think they know what day of the week or how old they are...
  3. Ina Well-Known Member

    Hi there,

    the book sounds very interesting. I wish people would have to pass a test before buying a dog - this way the amount of animals ending up at the shelter would be halfed.
    .. but this topic should probably be a thread of it's own :-)

    I'm not sure if dogs know the passage of time. If you go out of the house for example and come back the dog is very happy. He displays the same amount of happiness if you return after half an hour or only several hours.

    .. but then again thinking about instances where husband goes to work and comes back at the same time everyday, the dog "knows" that Daddy will be arriving soon and takes a spot to look out for him a couple of minutes before the return. Would be interesting to see what happens if you leave the house at different times to arrive always exactly 2 hours later. Would the dog start anticipating your return just before the 2 hours are up?

    I will give my vote once I read some more responses as right now I haven't made up my mind :-)
  4. rouen Experienced Member

    I disagree.
    If my two miss a meal on a given day, the next day they will be more persistant with their reminding me it's time to eat. I doubt it's because they're hungry since they get snacks throughout the day.
    Dingo also gets far more excited when he sees me getting the bike ready if we haven't gone for a few days(or months if it's our first ride of the season)
    SO I think they do have some time recognition, even down to the minute as I usually get the "dinner please" look at 11:45pm every night. I think they also know when they're getting older. Every dog I've been around that was elderly seemed to understand they now had limitations, particularly when arthritis starts to ail them.
    The problem with this would be that you cannot make a puppy to order without making several others. If you have one person waiting for a specific breed and you get 7 puppies, what do you do with the other 6?
  5. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    River is always happy when I come home, but he gets really excted when it has been hours or all day long!

    I purposely didn't give him an exact meal time, although he begs for food all day long any way. I did have cats growing up that were always fed at 5:00 pm but when day light savings time game around they always asked for their food at 4: pm sharp.

    I knew someone who worked on a horse farm who would call her dog every 15 mins. to check in and get a cookie. Pretty soon the dog would start showing up every 15 mins. She began to rely on her dog to know exactly what time it was. Her lesson horses also could tell when it had been an hour and the lesson should end. They would always want to stop precisely one hour after a kid was put on their back. It was confusing to them when summer camp season started though.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    On horses--
    Horses that are not trained to believe that being out of the corral is fun will often turn around and head back home all on their own if it's feeding time. Doesn't matter what you were doing or where you were going, it's feeding time, and the feed is at home. But, if they are trained to enjoy being out of the corral and that only complying with the rider will earn them feeding time, then they will not head home when they feel hungry.
    As for dogs, I'm not exactly sure. I do think that they understand when the sun goes down, it's time to rest, and when the sun(or the owner) comes up, it's time to be up. At least until they need a nap. I know that every morning at 5 o' clock sharp Mud wakes up my dad. If I'm not up by 7 o' clock(when I usually have to be up) she's waking me up. So surely there has to be some connection there....? When I start showing signs that I'm about to leave, about 3-5 minutes before I actually leave, Mud kennels herself.

    Interesting thoughts here, SrDogTrainer. :unsure:
  7. wenryder Active Member

    This is a fascinating thread - and I am curious to know the answer myself!

    Although, is it simply a matter of routine or do they actually know the "time"? And could the concept of "time" simply mean something much more complicated than what we as a society have constructed for ourselves to understand time (ie: a clock) such as an environmental factor, the placement of the sun, that sort of thing. Sharon mentioned above how Daylight savings time affected her cats, perhaps because they were used to something more environmental than the numbers on a clock?

    Meanwhile, at 6:00am every morning, something in Obie's brain tells him to wake us up. If I ever do go back to sleep, at 7:28am he's hovering over me to wake me up for breakfast. At 4:10pm he moves downstairs to wait by the door for his daddy to get home. And sometimes he catches me by surprise, when I lose track of time, he's always there to remind me what time of day it is, simply by responding to his internal clock and falling into that routine.

    I find it fascinating!
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I know my dog can tell hour of day, he repeatedly proves this to me.
    but, past that ability, i don't know if Buddy has any sense at all about day of week, month, year, etc.
    but boy oh boy, he has a fabulous lil spot-on lil inner clock, complete with an alarm!
    All his routine, he KNOWS when it's time for his walks, his meals, his lessons, time for a family member to return home, etc.
    buddy gets up, goes to bed, same time every day usually, too.

    Even new stuff, Buddy makes note of the time it occurred.
    If i take Buddy somewhere marvelous at 2pm,
    next day, at 2pm, Buddy runs up to me, with big, happy face, almost whining, as if to say, "Look, look, it's 2pm! are we going to that wonderful place again? it's 2pm, come on!"
    Dogster likes this.
  9. Anneke Honored Member

    They do have sense of time, just like we do.
    Like everybody sais, they have an inner clock. We just gave a name to every hour, minute, second.
    But if I don't set my alarm, I usually wake up around 9. We eat dinner at 4.30, so I get hungry around that time.
    I think it is the routine that gives them that sense of time.
    For a long time, we did not have a routine(because of work, irregular hours) and the dogs would just wait until I told them that we were going out or have dinner.
    But now they know... My boyfriend come home around 4.15, when he is late, Cooper will wait for him at the door.
    And Jinx sure knows that we go to the dogschool on thirsdayevenings... My routine is no different from other days. I come home from work at 7.15, sit down to have a drink. But she will be in the hallway, by the leash, thinking: come on!!!:D
    If I forget to feed them, they will tell me, hey it's past our feedingtime!! We are hungry!!
    We go on long walks on sundays. And if we don't feel like it, the dogs will come and ask for it.
    They will keep bugging us untill we get up and go out with them. And they will NOT take a short walk:D
    No I don't think they know if we leave them at home for 2 hours or 5 minutes, not in those terms, but they DO know when it is time for the ususal things.
    Dogster likes this.
  10. Dogster Honored Member

    Shivon keeps time:D She knows exactly when I come home from school, when it's time for a walk, and when it's feeding time.:rolleyes: Sometimes I even don't know what time it is, LOL:ROFLMAO:
    Anneke and tigerlily46514 like this.
  11. bekah1001 Honored Member

    Brody knows when it's friday (the day I switch from my dad's to my mom's house and vice versa)
    Dogster and tigerlily46514 like this.

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