Do Dogs Have a Sense of Time?

Have you ever wondered whether or not your dog has sense of time? As a dog owner, it’s normal to wonder about your pet and how he experiences the world around him. Telling time, or at least recognizing what time it is, can be one facet of your pet that remains a mystery for a long while. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “do dogs have a sense of time?” then you’ve come to the right place!

do dogs have sense of time

In the article below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about dogs and their relationship to time. With the help of this quick guide, you’ll have a better and more thorough understanding of what time is like for your dog.

Time as Numbers

Humans tell time through numbers. We look at the numbers on a clock to measure what time it is currently, and we use numbers to express the amount of time between events too. We know the date because of numbers, and we understand how long we’ve been alive thanks to our use of numbers, too.

Dogs do not have a concept of numbers, and therefore do not tell time the same way humans do. Instead, they rely on routines and associations that are formed throughout their lives to recognize “what time it is.”

For example, if you always leave for work at 7:45 every morning, your dog will get used to this routine. He won’t think, “It’s 7:45, time for my human to leave,” but he will know that this is a part of the day that involves you going out the door for a while.

Time as Memories

Humans also associate time with memories, and the two are inseparable. We consider “the past” to be a period in which we have a lot of existing memories, and we can think back to memories from childhood that help shape our understanding of events and actions today.

Dogs have shorter memories than humans, but they work in much the same way. If you live in a place that observes Daylight Saving Time, you may notice that your dog—who is used to eating supper at 5:00pm every day—is hungry at 4:00pm when the time changes. This is because his memory linked to the time of day.

Time as Boredom

Did you know dogs can get bored? They may not get bored for the same reasons humans do, but boredom is something a dog can experience often. This can sometimes happen when the human family is home, but it is much more common when no one is around to entertain the dog.

Although dogs cannot recognize specifically how long you’ve been gone from home, they do know when you’ve been away for longer than they are used to as part of their daily routines. When this happens, your dog may become bored, which can lead to behavioral problems.

If you frequently come home from long days at work or running errands to find shredded furniture or  accidents indoors, chances are good your dog has gotten bored while you’re away. Try giving your pet long-lasting treats like a Kong chew filled with peanut butter and frozen. This will help cut down on his boredom and make the waiting easier for him, too.

Time as Holidays and Events

As a human, you know when holidays are coming up because you can read a calendar and understand what it means. You also mark the passage of long periods of time with events, like celebrating an annual birthday. This is perfectly normal for a human, but it isn’t something a dog can really understand! Measuring time with holidays and events—and creating routines and traditions associated with those special days—is an entirely human concept, and it is not on a dog’s radar at all.

If you choose to celebrate your dog’s birthday with a big party, he may enjoy his special treats and food for the day and might try to figure out what he did to cause you to give him something so tasty to eat, but he will not know it’s his birthday. Similarly, he may be overwhelmed by the noise or by wearing a hat, and he will try to determine what made this happen to him instead. He will react to the activities of the day, but he will not understand what part of time is being celebrated or recognized.

In Conclusion, Dogs Have a Concept of Time

Now that you’ve read through this information, you can see just how dogs experience time. Although dogs do not tell time the same way humans do, they do have a concept of time in some capacity. This concept usually helps them recognize when it’s time to eat!

By learning more about your dog and the way his world works, you can feel closer to your pet. This bonding experience is important in helping you understand your dog’s behavior and in helping recognize what your pet may be thinking or feeling in certain situations, too. Contact our team at The Village Vets for more information about your dog’s concept of time or if you want to schedule a wellness visit.

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Recent Posts

dog humping or mounting on owner leg.

Dog Humping: 6 Reasons Why Your Dog Does This

Cute kitten with big eyes walking over a meadow looking curious to the grass

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Obedient dachshund dog sits in blue pet carrier in public place and waits the owner. Safe travel with animals by plane or train. Customs quarantine before or after transporting animals across border

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.