Dogs seem to know when it is time to wake up, eat, play, and sleep, like clockwork. Using canine signals, they can indicate when it is time to fill up their food bowls or take them out for a walk. Dogs even give the impression that they are aware of their owners’ work schedules.
All of these beg the question, are dogs able to tell time?
Although dogs cannot differentiate between hours and minutes, and read what is on the clock, studies suggest that they have their own methods for telling time, namely these four techniques:
Most mammals depend on the circadian clock, which tracks the biological, mental, and physical changes around the body within a 24-hour cycle.
Dogs respond to dark and light changes in the environment, and even social and temperature cues, through their circadian rhythm.
According to a study conducted at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, dogs interpret the passing of time by recognizing patterns in their environment.
Dogs show more excitement when their owners return after two hours compared to 30 minutes. However, there are no significant changes in response whether their owners return after two hours or four hours.
In the book, Being A Dog, author Alexandra Horowitz suggests that dogs possess the natural ability to detect the concentration of smells, which helps them to determine what and when something happened in rubber banded time.
Movement of air and odor through the home throughout the day, plus changes in temperature, aid dogs in detecting an impending storm or their owners’ expected arrival.
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