Before you take out the leash, does your dog know that it’s time to go for a walk? Have you ever seen him looking out the window when you are about to come home from work? We’re sure you have seen him waiting by his dinner bowl right before supper time.
It may appear that your dog knows it is 6 p.m. — the exact time — dinner is served. But does he really understand time?
We can break time down to seconds, minutes, and hours. Dogs, however, don’t perceive time in the same way as we do. They can be trained to know when dinner is ready or when it is time for a walk or a romp at the dog park.
Dr. Thomas Zentall of the University of Kentucky believes dogs can be trained to anticipate future events based on past experiences. Zentall has done research showing that dogs can distinguish how much time has passed since an event has occurred. Having a growling stomach also helps to tell when dinner time is about to occur.
Other theories as to whether dogs can tell time include a dogs’ circadian rhythm, which regulates a daily routine. Or dogs may read environmental signals like light and dark. A superior sense of smell might identify a degree of scent, distance, and time.
While research is being done on this topic, no final proof exists that a dog can tell time.