Have you ever wondered how your dog always knows when you get home? Of course, your dog may be curious about your arrival, but do they know your schedule? Some may even ask, "Can dogs tell time?" Fortunately, we sat down with Trupanion's veterinarian Dr. Sarah Nold to learn more about your dog's sense of time, routines and what your dog can look forward to most of all during the day.
Can dogs tell time?
Dogs can have a variety of skills, but can they predict the time of day? Nold weighs in on whether your dog can tell time.
“Dogs seem to appreciate a routine. I would not say that they can "tell time", but they usually have a general idea of when it's time for their walk, time to feed or even when you can be expected to be home. In addition, their senses are likely to help determine where they are in their day, which is often based on your daily schedule for you and others in the household.
A routine can be helpful for the whole family. Whether you have a new puppy, a new work schedule or have recently moved, a fixed schedule can help keep all family members organized. You may want to consider feeding, walking and playing with your dog at the same time each day. This can help create a fixed schedule for your pet to get used to during the day.
Your Dog's Minds and Time
While each dog's different, your best friend's senses may play a large role in their ability to know what may emerge the next day. For example, does your puppy have a strong sense of smell, or have you noticed that your dog can hear a sound far away? Of course, your pet's senses may be a little different than your own.
According to PBS.Org, "dogs have up to 300 million receptors in their nose, compared to about six million in humans. The part of the dog's brain that analyzes odor is also 40 times larger than ours."
In addition, your dog can love to smell people, places and things, especially if they are in a new environment.
When traveling, walking or going to a new environment, consider letting your dog smell everything.Their nose can help them get clues and clues as to who and what is around them. It can help them learn more about their new environment.
Your dog can pick up several different factors to arrive at how they process the time of day. sense of smell but do not forget their sense of hearing or sight.
According to the University of Adelaide, "Dogs and humans hear about the same thing at low sound frequencies (about 20Hz). This changes at high sound frequencies, where dogs hear up to 70-100 kHz, much better than humans at only 20 kHz. Dogs hear sound frequencies at least three times as high as humans.
Furthermore, your dog's hearing can help determine events that take place based on sound. For example, your dog may react to loud noises, car doors or loud noises and it may help them determine who or what may be nearby. For an additional resource on dogs and their sense of smell, check out this link.
How does your dog know when you get home for the day?
Just as you can look forward to certain parts of your day, so does your hairy friend! Your habits, schedules and routines also become part of your dog's day. Of course, they can get excited for an afternoon stroll, dinner time or a throw with the family.
Nold dives into some likely scenarios that may come up in your day to day with your best friend.  Think about the following:
- Is it light or dark outside?
- Has the item just been delivered?
- Did the garbage truck pick up the trash?
- Did the school bus pick up / drop off the children?
- Do they smell your morning coffee or do you make a meal?
Also consider introducing new people, places, things and environments to your dog early in training. This can help your dog with socialization, separation anxiety and limiting behaviors. Furthermore, positive reinforcement and sweets can really help make any new experience less troublesome.
Can dogs tell time? They can get a lift from their senses and the environment
Whether your dog is waiting for you at the door, bidding on the garbage truck or picking up the newspaper, it is likely that they are using their senses and their environment to help determine what time on the day it may be, and listening to a familiar voice can help! To learn more about dog behavior, read How Do Dogs Communicate? Questions about dog owners answered
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